** UPDATE: Friday, November 18 **
It’s time! We're getting closer to moving, so now is the time to *really* start paying attention! Our estimated move date is in mid-January. Starting next week, you can expect regular updates as dates firm up. Here's what we recommend doing now:
Check your notification settings. If you're worried about missing any crucial information, make sure that you are set to receive email from BecomeAnEX. Go to http:/
/ www.becomeanex.org/ edit-profile.php# and make sure that "Announcements from EX" is checked.
- Read Mark's blog. He'll be posting regularly to help you get ready for the move and to be prepared for changes on our new platform.
- Please watch for emails from BecomeAnEX - and read them! You will get specific instructions via email if you need to make changes to your particular account. If something doesn't affect the whole Community, there likely will not be a public post about it. You can always send Mark a private message if you think you may have missed something, or if you don't understand an email you receive.
- Join the EX Community Advisory Board (ECAB). Being an ECAB member will give you opportunities to weigh in and help shape the new platform. Plus, you'll get sneak previews of new features! Sign up here: bit.ly/ECABsignup
- Take a deep breath. Our EX team is working overdrive to make sure that the move goes as smoothly as possible. We are committed to making sure you can focus on why you're here: to quit tobacco and keep the quits going strong! Let's all take a collective ommmmm.
** UPDATE: Thursday, Sept 8
If you have seen a "pardon our dust" message just now, this is the first of our technology changes. More details are available here.
It’s been several months since my last post, so first and foremost, I hope everyone has had an enjoyable summer. Things have been hopping for us behind the scenes and I have some important and exciting updates to share.
EX Is Moving To Jive!
As I mentioned in my blog post back in March, we have been investigating different options for new Community software. Currently the site runs on a platform called Elgg, which is quite outdated and lacks a number of helpful features which are now considered standard among community platforms. After an intensive and rigorous selection process, we recently signed a contract with a software provider called Jive. They support some of the most vibrant online communities, and have a platform that we’re really excited about. The input that you all have shared over the past year was an integral part of this selection process and so helpful in our decision making. Hands down, Jive will provide a community experience that we are confident will meet and exceed your expectations here on EX!
Just a Few of the Reasons We’re Excited About Jive
- Notifications! On the current version of EX, it’s tough to stay up to speed on what’s happening in the Community. This is going to be much easier going forward. In addition, you’ll now be able to mention users or groups of users in your posts by putting the “@” symbol in front of screen name(s) which will send them a notification. It’s (sort of) like wall posts, only so much better!
- Reply by email. If you’re on the go and don’t have time to log in, you will have the ability to just reply to your email message notification and it will go right back into the community. Stay engaged with others, right out of your email inbox!
- Ask questions and start discussions. Jive will make it much easier to see questions that have been posed in the community, especially ones that haven’t been answered yet. Groups will be coming with us, and it will be much easier to find the ones that are most relevant to you. And there will be other ways to contribute beyond just blogs and blog comments: ask a short question, share a quick thought, keep your own journal… and more!
- Sharing your quit date… easily! The new technology is going to make it possible to link your quit date more directly into your personal profile so others can see your commitment to quit or how long it’s been since you had your last cigarette. You won’t need external tools to show this information anymore!
- Mobile, no longer a problem. The new version of EX will look good on every screen size, whether you’re on your personal computer, your tablet, or your smartphone. Access EX, anytime, anywhere, in the way you prefer. It will just work. We’ve been making a few improvements to the mobile experience recently, and while it’s not perfect yet, it will be better soon.
What Does This Mean For You?
The move is planned for November. Yes, it’s happening that soon!
We know this is a place where you choose to spend your precious time and we do not take that for granted. Our intent is to switch over to the new software platform with the LEAST disruption possible. Ideally, there will only be 24 hours when you won’t be able to post to the site. We will communicate exact dates as soon as we know them. And we will communicate it to you often, via the site itself and by email. We will do everything to make sure you’re not caught unaware.
So what’s involved with a change in technologies like this?
Think of it in terms of moving from one house to another. As you might imagine, there’s a LOT of stuff that the EX community has accumulated over the years… hundreds of thousands of blog posts, blog comments, pictures, group discussions…. user profiles and all the content that lives in each person’s profile. We’ll be doing some necessary housekeeping before the move, but for the most part, everything in the house is going with us! We’ve hired the best “moving company” that is bringing the biggest, strongest, heftiest movers to the job (i.e., amazing tech folks, designers, project management staff, etc.). They’ll make sure everything gets where it needs to go, safely and securely!
The Jive platform has a lot of functionality that is available right out of the box. But there are some key decisions that we will need to make about how we want to customize it. This is where your input will be very helpful! We would like to create an EX Community Advisory Board to help gather feedback and input, and make decisions in an efficient way. It will be open to anyone and everyone who wishes to participate. You’ll get a sneak peek of upcoming features in the new experience and the opportunity to provide feedback during the customization phase. What we’ll get are your ideas and reactions to the work we’re doing, which is of the utmost importance to us.
“Please Pardon Our Dust”
You’ll see this phrase in various forms over the next few months. What it means is that we’ve got a big project ahead of us that will ultimately result in a fantastic improvement here on EX. But there may be some bumps and “mess” along the way. We ask for your patience and good humor and continued great ideas as we move ahead.
I hope my excitement is infectious. I have the most amazing team here at Truth Initiative and with our outside partners. I am confident we will deliver an experience that helps to support and nurture the amazing relationships that already exist and the ones that are yet to come here on EX.
Thanks for all of the hard work that you are putting into this project. I'm quite sure that there is a huge ball of red tape associated with this project. Especially with privacy and all that has been happening as of late with security breaches and such.
I would like to bring home a seemingly universal problem that almost everyone of us has or are still experiencing trouble with. That being the inability to share our private photos that we take during our travels from our phones without having to join some other 3rd party company. It seems quite convoluted to me and many others as well. Is there a way that we can get this function more streamlined?
Thanks for looking into it.
Pops8 145 days ago
WOW, this sounds amaziing, thank you!
I must admit that Pops is right about the photo sharing, it is not intuitive.
Have an amazing Monday.
elvan 145 days ago
Sounds very good. Can hardly wait for the change to be implemented
JACKIE1-25-15 145 days ago
I like Pops input I have had a difficult time posting graphics or pictures can the process be made easier ?
Why is uploading a new avatar/ profile picture so easy but posting on blogs or mesage boards so difficult to do ?
BonnieBee.quit.2.8.15 145 days ago
I was able to post images on blogs, but never mastered to do the same on message boards, and would love that functionality!
Thank you for bringing our community in the contemporary world of technology, much appreciated!
Daniela-3-11-2016 145 days ago
Thank you for everything that you are doing to improve the community, it's so appreciated, I too haven't figured out how to post pics and I have tried many times but get frustrated and give up but I don't really take the time to actually try to figure it out!
Marilyn 777 DOF and counting
Marilyn.H.July.14.14. 145 days ago
Thanks for everything! I am looking forward to the new and improved EX Community!
Jennifer_Quit_05-01-14 145 days ago
Having a photo share capability directly from a cell phone, laptop or computer (sans third party) would be a boon for sure. Or perhaps if not possible individually, a receptical within the site where that could be done. Like a separate Picture Book.
The new communication possibilities of Jive sound very exciting! Looking forward to getting down and boogying! (Hope there's going to be a great instruction manual!)
Giulia 145 days ago
This is very exciting news and I am looking forward to all of the changes.
Being able to share the pictures we take with our cameras/phones would definitely be a plus!
Will there be a sort of chat available instead of going back and forth on each other's message boards, or leaving the site completely to go to skype or google hangouts? Which some just find impossible.
Thanks to all who are making this awesome change possible! Terrie
Don't Quit on your Quit!
Terrie_Quit 145 days ago
sounds good thanks for all your efforts
plug66 145 days ago
Thanks for the heads up, now I won't freak out!!!!
maryfreecig 145 days ago
Sounds great - I agree about the pictures. Thanks so much!
Strudel 144 days ago
Hi everyone –
Thanks for the great comments and enthusiasm… it is genuinely appreciated.
@Pops and all… about photos… the short answer is, YES!! Uploading pictures to the site will be *much* easier across the variety of content types that Jive has.
@Giulia… about an instruction manual… there will indeed be really clear instructions on how to use Jive, placed front and center and easy to find. There will also be a place to post technical “how to” questions about using the site that other members can answer in addition to Mark. The person who original posts the question can go back and mark which answer(s) were helpful. Questions and answers will be searchable too so that people don’t have to keep asking the same question. Above and beyond that, the overall Jive experience is clean and simple. The folks at Jive have really done a great job in building a product that is pretty intuitive and user friendly… one of the many reasons we liked it so much.
@Terrie… it will also be much easier to exchange messages with other members in a way that makes it easier to follow the conversation (i.e., no more Message Boards). Jive allows “@ mentions” in discussions and other types of posts. The person who is mentioned will receive a notification and can comment in the same thread so you see the back-and-forth of a conversation all in one place.
Great questions... keep 'em coming! And be sure to sign up for the Advisory Board. You'll get a sneak peek at what's coming and the opportunity to give us feedback.
Dr.Amanda.Graham 144 days ago
Uh oh. Just a quick addition. Most all of this innovation sounds fabulous, and I add my thanks for all the hard work you guys are putting into this. I was sad to see "no more message boards" as this felt like a nice way to communicate with just one person. Will you be keeping the PM ability? I hope so, as that allows people to exchange information they might not want to share with everyone, like phone #s or more personal information.
NewMe 144 days ago
@NewMe... yes, there will always be private messages.
For public posts, there will still be a way to communicate with just one person at a time. Jive just makes it easier to follow the discussion without having to jump back and forth between my Message Board and another person's Message Board when we're having a conversation.
Dr.Amanda.Graham 144 days ago
With Status Updates((Similar to Facebook or Twitter) on Jive you can upload images, link to places on the community or elsewhere on the web and mention People, Places or content on the site. So while Message Boards won't come over in its current form you'll have something similar with Status Updates. Instead of going to their profile and their Message Board, you'll just @ mention them.
Private messages (known as Direct Messaging on Jive) supports both one on one and Messages to Multiple people. While this isn't a real-time Chat functionality it can support quick interchanges that are threaded so you know what is going on. You can reply by email to continue participating without needing to launch your web browser. Similarly, you can use Status Updates for quick public exchanges with other members of the community without the need to Create a Discussion or Ask a Question. For the benefit of everyone, we hope that most interactions continue to be public on the community.
EX Community Manager
Mark 144 days ago
I am looking forward to the new platform!
ShawnP 143 days ago
We're looking forward to the changes and excited about continuing to partner with you to improve pathways for tobacco free living. thanks for the update, and keep up the good work Dr. Graham!
Dr.Hays 143 days ago
Wonderful news! I'm looking forward to the updates.
Marilyn_marmac_07-31-13 143 days ago
Wow all sounds really good and I am excited to see Jive go live. I was wondering will there be an easier way to look up members. I could be doing it the hard way but only way I know is scoll through all my friends to find the one I want to send message to. Coudl there be a search bar where we can type person name we are looking for to send message. Hope I am making sense. Also really like Pops photo suggestions too as pictures make an extra additive input to messages or blogs. It is very exciting stuff thanks for all the hard work you have put into this project. Sharon
shashort 142 days ago
Yes, locating members will be easier on Jive with people search as all usernames will be unique.
Currently we have user search disabled on Elgg because it was causing performance issues. You can use search in the upper right of any page to locate users or you can go to your friends notifications list and click the letter that matches the first letter of their username to find them more easily.
EX Community Manager
Mark 142 days ago
I am a newbie, and have been having a bit of a confusing time trying to keep up with blogs, comments, updated comments etc.
A more intuitive site would be fabulous. Yes I have tried uploading a photo on to a msg- cant for the life of me figure out how that can be done!
anntann 130 days ago
Unfortunately, you can't upload any images to pot in messages currently. You can only link from currently publicly available images on the web. In the future we'll have the capability to upload content for display on the community.
EX Community Manager
Mark 129 days ago
When this all happens will we get step by step directions in our email? I am not a techy by any sense of the imagination.
bck55 127 days ago
Yes, we'll give you a heads up with helpful information in advance and also alert you when the change is about to take place. The new community will be more intuitive than the existing community so you shouldn't need to worry about being techy. I've found that being curious is the best way to learn something new though.
EX Community Manager
Mark 116 days ago
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