We’re Making Some Changes To Our Community Forum With Google+

By Stephen Fuchs on Email @StephenWFuchs

Google+ Community

We are constantly striving to make German Pulse a great place for people to reconnect with their German heritage in new ways with a modern twist. Before adding new features to our site, we want to make sure it’s done right and makes sense for our users. This philosophy also holds true once we have something up and running… If we can’t make it the best it can be, we need to reevaluate what’s being done.

Evaluating Our Current Forum Offering

During the early beginnings of German Pulse, we launched our Community Forum which we created to act as a central place for our readers to engage and start discussions on topics that would interest the German American community. It had a great start but there were some issues we recognized later on that had us evaluating whether it was the best solution for our goal.

Discussion forums have been around since the early beginnings of the Internet but have had a hard time keeping their relevancy once social networks took off. Still, there are many thriving forums out there, mainly specialized around a niche market. We had hoped ours would be one that could grow, but for a variety of reasons, it did not live up to our expectations. For the most part there was a lack of continued interest from our readers, and only a handful contributed on occasion.

So what do we do? We came to the conclusion that our current setup needed to go but we still wanted to have a great place for our readers to connect. We have our Facebook page, but recent changes have made it less suitable for great community discussion. We’ve also looked at more modern discussion forum software that has been developed in recent years, but we had some security concerns that would only be fully addressed with costly monthly plans. We were just about out of ideas until Google+ announced their latest Community feature, and we feel it will provide exactly what we were looking for.

Introducing the German Pulse Community on Google+

We have had our eyes on Google’s relatively new social network that is meant to compete with Facebook and Twitter for some time now. Early on we passed on the new service as we didn’t see any true benefit being offered and the user base was too low. ¬†Google has made great efforts in improving their service since then, and the new Community feature appears to be one of the elements that was keeping the service from becoming competitive. A key feature is their implementation of categorized discussion topics that anyone can contribute to, making it more like a discussion forum.

So what would make this a better solution than our current forum setup? We’ll point out just a few below…

  • Improved security for our users
  • No need for an extra user account on German Pulse
  • Ties in with your Google+ account if you already use the service
  • Mobile app available
  • Ability to take advantage of new services offered from Google+, including hangouts
  • Less spam

If you do not already have a Google+ account, it is pretty easy to set up. If you already have a login for any of Google’s services, such as Gmail or YouTube, it’s even easier. Just go to plus.google.com to get signed up. Once you are all signed up, you can easily join our Community page by clicking here.

Wrap Up

We hope this setup will attract new users, and we should be able to contribute more to future discussions instead of spending our time patching security holes and deleting spam. Current members of our old Community Forum will still be able to post until January 1, 2013, but new user registration is now officially closed. On January 31, 2013, we will be officially taking the old forum offline and old posts will no longer be accessible. This is a security measure we feel necessary to make. If you have any questions about the change, please feel free to let us know in the comments below or try out our new Community on Google+.

 

Source: German Pules Google+ Community

Stephen Fuchs
Stephen founded German Pulse and LGBT Germany out of a passion to introduce Americans to a Germany that goes beyond beer and polka (although with enough beer he has been known to polka it up a bit). He's a coffee addict, lover of wine and good times, a hit in the kitchen and editor of TV commercials. You can follow him on Twitter (@StephenWFuchs) to find out a lot more.
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