Like? Share? Comment? Follow?

If you’re new here and find yourself scratching your head as to how to log-in and use the “Like” button, this post is for you.

This blog provides lots of ways to interact with us. Some are fairly simple to use, but others expect you to be a master of your own online empire. And it’s not often clear which is which. So here’s a look at the basic “social” features you’ll find here.

The Like Button

The “Like” button lets you tell us that you really enjoy a particular poem or article. That’s pretty straight forward, except that the button only works for people who have their own WordPress blog account. It’s basically a method for bloggers to judge other bloggers. A log-in is required so that people don’t inflate their ranking by “Liking” their own posts a zillion times. The end result is that our “Likes” are all kudos from mysterious outsiders. It’s a measure of how our blog is reaching a broader audience, and that’s pretty cool. If you don’t have your own blog, you can’t use the “Like” button, but take heart: there are other ways to express your feelings here. Read on.

The Share Buttons

The “Share” buttons let you tell your friends about a particular poem or article. Different buttons have different requirements. Basically, you should only “Share” a post using a method with which you are familiar. For instance, if you already have a Facebook account, by all means click on the Facebook share icon. This lets you put a fancy link on your Facebook stream for friends and family to see. There are other options too, including simple email and even good ol’ fashion hard-copy printing. In the social-media universe, a “Share” is even better than a “Like.” Please note that not all poems include share buttons: sometimes a poet is shy about that.

The Comment Button

The “Comment” button lets you discuss a particular post with the community. Poets love feedback. We encourage you to respond, interpret, analyze, and respectfully critique our work. If you don’t see a comment button, click on the title of the poem or article and you will find a place to add your ideas toward the bottom of the resulting page. You can even track any continued discussion by checking the “notify me of follow-up comments” box before submitting the form.

Unfortunately, comments don’t stand out very well on our home page. There, they are indicated by a tiny, dim summary link at the end of the post. The actual comments only become visible when you click on that comment summary link, or on the title of the poem or article.

The Follow Button

The “Follow” button is a way for us to interact with you, rather than the other way around. It appears on the bottom of the big side-bar that runs down the right-hand side of the page. It basically puts you on our email list. WordPress will then send you a notice whenever new material appears on our blog. Your “welcome” message will explain how you can set the frequency of notices so that you aren’t overwhelmed by a barrage of individual emails each time we finally get around to posting the month’s poetry submissions.

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