By Huntington W. Sharp, Red Room Editor
Here's an exciting announcement of two new features that you, our fantastic community, have been asking about for ages. Now, you can set up a network of connections on Red Room that lets you get specific about how you're connected with other authors and members. We also created a tool to help you make your profile photo look just the way you want.
RED ROOM CONNECTIONS
"Only connect..." is E. M. Forster's most famous quotation, and from day one, Red Room has been a great way for everyone who loves books to do just that. In such a rapidly growing community, it can be hard to keep up with all the activity. We've made it easy with Red Room Connections, a way to classify people you know in various ways and then see what they've been doing, all on one easy-to-use page.
To use the Connections feature, log into Red Room with your username and password, then go to the Author or Member Pages of people you'd like to connect with (not on your own page). You'll see this on the lower right-hand side of the page, below the photo, external links, and events text in the case of Author Pages:
Click "Add Connection." This box will appear:
Check the box or boxes that best describe how you know this person.
Fan: If you like their work—this doesn't need their approval. Pick this if you don't know them personally.
Red Room Neighbor: If you haven't met in person, but have interacted socially or professionally online and want to stay connected. (I checked this box when asking Darlene Arden to connect with me because we've never met in person, but she and I interact a lot through Red Room. When I asked Belle Yang to connect with me, I checked both "Red Room Neighbor" and "Oh, We've Met," because I did meet Belle once in person.)
Friend: If you're friends in person-you go to each other's houses, you tell each other secrets, and so forth.
Family: If this is your mom, brother, sister-in-law, cousin, or other relative.
Colleague: If you know them in person because you work together, have done business, or are in the same industry.
School: If you've been a student or teacher in the same school or learning environment.
Oh, We've Met: If you've interacted socially or professionally in person, regularly or just once, and want to stay connected. Pick this if you met at a cocktail party, Star Trek convention, or if the connection is hard to categorize.
Click "Request Connection," and they'll get an email from you with your connection request. After they've approved your request, their picture will appear on your page as one of your connections, and yours will appear on theirs.
Here's mine right now:
If you have more than five connections, click "See All Contacts" to see everyone you've connected with and send them messages (or remove them from your list).
You can keep track of your connection requests, see new ones that come your way, and send messages to your connections using your Mailbox. Click "Mailbox" at the top of your page to get to your Mailbox. Here's what mine looks like right now (it's lonely):
Any messages that your connections send will appear in your Inbox, and any new connection requests will appear there in, you guessed it, Connection Requests. Any messages you delete will still be visible in your Trash.
You can see what all your connections are doing on Red Room by going to your "Overheard" page. Click "You" at the top of any Red Room page, and choose "My Overheard! Feed." Everything your connections have done recently-posted blog entries, uploaded videos or podcasts, etc.-appears in one convenient list. Click on any item to check out what your connection has added.
PROFILE PHOTO CROPPER
All photos on Red Room are now the same size and shape. We've automatically cropped your current photo so that it looks great wherever it appears on the site. If you like the way we cropped your photo, you don't need to do anything. If you want, you can upload a new photo. Or, you can crop your current photo yourself. Here's how:
- Click You, and choose "My Account Settings" from the dropdown menu.
- Under "My Profile," click "My Photo." This page will appear (but with your photo, not mine):
- Move your mouse cursor over your photo. The white dot that appears will be the lower right-hand corner of your cropped photo.
- With your finger holding down the left button of your mouse, slowly move the cursor so that dashed lines appear, forming a rectangular box. This box forms the outside edges of your cropped photo.
- A preview photo will appear to the right of your profile photo, showing what your cropped photo will look like.
- You can take your finger off your mouse's left-click button, and then click it again. The four-way arrow that appears lets you move the box you made so you can choose exactly which parts of your photo to show.
- When you're happy with where the box is, click "Save Cropped Photo." A yellow note will appear that will says "Photo saved! If you'd like to try again, use the cursor to create new a new box for your photo. If you're done, great!"
- All done? Great! If you like it, so do we. You don't need to click "Submit"—your cropped photo has been saved. Go anywhere on Red Room by hitting the back arrow or clicking a link on the bar above.
I know this is a lot to take in, so please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or feedback on how we can make this feature better. Again, let's let Ivory have the last word:
"We want this to be the very best social networking framework on the web, so please give us the feedback we need to improve it further to get there. We want it to be all the things and give you all the options that mirror real life, and that you wonder why the other sites don't do, so we become your favorite and eventually your primary social network.
"We love feedback on features (and on our customer service), so help us get there. Now please start inviting me and each other to be your Red Room Neighbor!"
Thanks for having fun with these new features, and see you in the Red Room.