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About that thing under the tarp

You may recall from a few months ago a cryptic reference or two to the imminent unveiling of something shiny and new. You know, this thing:

Well, it was all hush-hush at the time, but on February 11, 2008, SB Nation began rolling out a brand spanking new platform for its blogs. SB Nation 2.0 has been built from the ground up by an excellent team, and it's going to make all of our lives easier and, more importantly, more fun. I can't say for sure when Rocky Top Talk will be making the move, but I can hardly wait.

A few of the new features:

  • Network-wide, universal accounts. Sign up and sign in to all blogs at the same time. You will have to create an SB Nation account, and you will have to click a button to agree to each blog's community guidelines (because they're all different), but once you get it set up, participating in any of the 130+ SB Nation communities should be a breeze. And no, you won't lose your comments and diaries on the old platform. You can claim all of your history.
  • Optional avatars. Use a thumbnail pic to identify yourself and others of the community. If they bother you for some reason, you can turn them off.
  • A dashboard to help you keep track of your activity across the network.
  • Diaries get an extreme makeover. The component formerly known as "diaires" are callled FanPosts on the new platform, so you can now write whatever's on your mind without questioning your masculinity. The FanPost editor is much more user friendly. You should be able to post intuitively, without any knowledge of HTML. Good FanPosts can still be bumped to the front page. You can also "recommend" a FanPost, essentially giving it an endorsement, and the FanPosts with the most recommendations will end up on a special list with higher visibility.
  • FanShots. Have you ever wanted to share something like a link, a quote, a video, or a picture with the community, but didn't have the time or inclination to drum up the minimum word count required to submit a diary? Now you can. There's even a nifty little bookmarklet that you can install on your browser to make it as easy as possible. When you're browsing the web and find something you want to share, just click on the bookmarklet and the thing almost magically appears on the site. This thing alone may render Talking Points obsolete as the community will be able to refer others to interesting quotes, articles, pics, and videos with the click of a button. These can also be bumped to the front page.
  • Stats. We got in-house stats. Somebody say woo.
  • No-refresh commenting. With the new platform, once you post a comment, it shows up on the page without having to refresh the entire screen. Even better, when somebody else posts a comment, you get a message that there's a new comment without having to refresh the screen. Game threads should be much more efficient and fun.
  • Tags. You can tag just about anything on the new platform, which will make it much easier for us to find related content. There are also built-in associations like team names, player names, and games that all act to bring related content together in a uniform presentation. It's difficult to describe, but trust me. It will enlarge our boundaries and foster increased interaction between communities.
  • Much more. There's a lot more. I'm still discovering neat new stuff in the beta myself.

So when does Rocky Top Talk transition to the new platform? We're not quite sure yet. The last of the baseball blogs were transitioned last week. I'm guessing the NFL blogs will be next. We'll keep you posted and give you a warning as the time draws near. The transition requires a couple of hours of down time, I think.

What should you do now? Go check out one of the baseball sites. I recommend this post on South Side Sox just to get a gander at the new look and a flavor of how some of the new tools are being used.

Should you sign up right now? Unless you frequent one of the blogs that has already transitioned, probably not. I would wait until the site you visit the most transitions and then follow the instructions that will be posted on that first day.

I'm really excited about the new platform, and I can't wait to share it with all of you. I'll try to give everyone a heads up before the day we transition.