A community of designers spanned out over 9,306 kilometers is certainly a community faced with a challenge—it's so easy to be isolated in such conditions. Luckily for the GDC, its membership is no stranger to challenge or to overcoming it. For many years, the GDC has recognized the web as a prime communications tool and this year has seen the effort taken up yet another notch. The GDC blogs have been upgraded to modern social media standards at the chapter level as well as the national level. GDC blogs now reflect an on-going effort to match best practices in the blogging world both in terms of tools for writers and readers. These upgrades have been a joint effort between GDC members and Smallbox Software. Some of the technical upgrades include:
• The way categories work has been revamped, listing and search capabilities have also been completed redone, as well as a new tagging system that will grow along with content written by various authors.
• RSS feeds are present on all blogs which will allow readers to subscribe to their blog of choice and keep up to date with discussions.
• Avatars are in place for commentors, and if you have a Gravatar it will show up automatically in your comment when using your email address. Additionally, GDC.net will utilize your user image if you are a GDC member and signed in while commenting.
• Permalinking is now active with verbose URLs that are human-readable - better for sending links!
• Future plans include a 'river of news' for all Chapter Blogs which will be displayed on the National Blog. This will display the latest updates from across Canada with re-ordering based on who updated most recently and will provide a snap-shot of what Chapters across Canada are talking about.
• Many more features are in the works...
Ultimately these upgrades are a direct intention carried out to make
using and reading the GDC blogs easy and enjoyable, and in that process, increase dialogue between designers on the web. As Canada is geographically massive, it makes so much sense to be engaged in conversation virtually—along with the newly update GDC listserv, the GDC website has become a natural choice for this.
With the deprecation of Majordomo (the GDC's long-standing listserv software) and a host of technical issues, such as spam and few management functions, it was time to move on. Recently we have adopted a new piece of software, Mailman, which in spite of its basic and rather crude looking interface, seems to be doing the trick. Generally, members on the list are now able to better self-manage their accounts, and the GDC can create new lists and tailor functions as needed. And so, the GDC listserv legacy continues...
We will be adding some features, such as more clear methods to subscribe and unsubscribe through the GDC website, and a more robust search of list archives. Stay tuned, or better yet simply join the list.