How to "Get Connected"
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I become a member?
- How do I change what is displayed/viewed by others on my page?
- How do I change my account settings?
- What else will people be able to see on my page?
- What is my community?
- What is instant chat?
- What are members?
- What are groups?
- Are groups public or private?
- How do I change settings or customize my group?
- What are forums?
- What are notification settings?
- What are private messages and settings?
The first step is to join as a member. To sign up, you will need to create a username (public), provide an email address (not public), provide your first and last name (not public), and create a password (not public). You will also be asked to answer a simple math question which is for spam protection.
Once you sign up, you will now be logged into the "Get Connected" section of the site, and will receive an email confirming your account. At this point, the ONLY information that will be viewable by others is your username.
- Under "Get Connected", go to "My Account"
- Under "My Account", click "Edit Profile" to add information to your page (that will be public) including:
- Your bio or any information about you that you wish to share
- Links to your social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, your website, etc.)
- Your location (you can share city, state, country if you wish, or just country-or nothing at all! It is up to you!)
- After you update, you can scroll to the bottom, click "Save" and then click "View" at the top to view your changes on your Account.To change your profile image from the default image, click "Edit Account" and browse and upload a photo that you would like to appear on your page. This, too, will be public, so only provide an image of yourself if you want it to be available to anyone who visits the site
- Under "Get Connected", go to "My Account"
- Under "My Account", click "Edit Account" to edit account settings including:
- Time Zone
- Contact settings for receiving emails and private messages from other members
Site visitors will be able to see all your activity on your account page including members or (public) groups that you follow, posts you make to (public) groups and forums, as well as questions you ask or respond to. The social aspect of the website is meant to truly make the website interactive, so we encourage you to "Get Connected!" Please note, although posts and activity from private groups will appear on your activity feed, no one who is not a member of that private group will be able to see this activity.
"My Community" under "Get Connected" provides you with a place to see recent activity of groups or members you follow, as well as the access to posts, upload documents or ask a question to a specific group or privately with members you are connected with. To view, connect, and respond to other members' posts or questions, just click on the title and scroll down to enter your response or post. Don't forget to hit "save" with each entry.
Similar to Facebook, you can have instant chats with other online members by clicking on the chat feature at the bottom right-hand corner of the page and seeing who else is online. Please note, you can participate in a private chat one-on-one with another member, or you can participate in a group chat in the public chatroom which is available to all online members at that time.
Here you can see other active Members who are part of the community. Clicking on a member's image brings you to their page where you will be able to view their activity and information including their bio, social media links, members they follow, and public groups they have joined. It also allows you to send "follow" their activity, as well as request to add them as a trusted contact.
Groups are a great way to create communities to share with other members based on any number of things, including geographic location, language, or topics. Search for and join existing groups, or create your own!
Both! There are both public or private groups. See below for settings to create your own or to join an existing group.
Go to the Groups page and click the "Create a Group" button at the top of the page. Next decide what type of privacy settings, if any, you would like for the group, and see the options below. Note, groups need to be approved by the site adminstrator, so it may take 1-2 business days before it is live and available to other group members.
- Completely public: Under privacy settings, click "any site member can contribute". This group, and all its activity, will be public to anyone visiting the website, and any member can join.
- Semi-public: Under privacy settings, click "Joining requires admin approval". In this group, online members can see that the group exists and can request to join but must be approved by the administrator (you) before participating in the group. When creating this group, you will also have the option to click a box to make the content and activity within the group private ("hide contributed content from non-members").
- Completely private: Under privacy settings, click "Joining requires an invitation". In this group, members will need an invitation from the group adminstrator to join the group. Only invited/approved group members will be able to see and take part in the group activity. (Note, you may see your posts and other group members' posts show up in the activity feed, but this will only be seen by members of the group).
Once you have created a group, remember to click "save" at the bottom of the page.
- Edit Group: When you are on the group page you have created (and are logged in), click "Edit" to customize the group's personality: add a title and description, upload a logo, and adjust settings and location. You can also adjust privacy settings if you want to change from a public to private group (or vice versa). Note, if you change from a public to a private group, the information posted before going private may still be viewable by other non-group members.
- Administer Group: By clicking "Administer Group", you can invite members to join the group ("add people") and change the roles of group members ("people") and let others also administer the group
Click on forums to post questions or read through the messages posted by others. Forums gives you the option to start your own discussion or add to a discussion thread. (Note, we will be adding more to this section to better explain it. We will also be adding more topic areas to the forums. If there are topics you believe we should have that you do not see, please let us know.)
Control how you are notified of new content and activity by selecting "My Account" followed by the "Notification Settings" tab. When you follow a group, topic, user, or other content you'll see updates in your content and activity streams, and you will automatically get email updates unless you disable emails or unfollow. Prefer not to receive email notifications? Easily disable the default setting by unchecking the box that is next to "Send email notifications by default." Leaving the box unchecked defaults to signing up only for activity stream notifications. Also on the Notifications Settings tab, view what groups, content, people, and topics you follow and interact from there.
"Private Messages and Settings" acts like an inbox. Check to see if you received any invitations to join forums and/or groups or invitations to connect with people as trusted contacts by selecting "My Account" followed by the "Private Messages and Settings" tab. Numbers in the grey boxes indicate how many invitations or messages are pending. Approve or ignore invitations and send private messages to trusted contacts.