From Desk of Tracy Bond
On August 10, I accepted the position of Starlite Administrator. In the last six weeks, I have enjoyed the opportunity to meet and write with many of you. I have found Starliters to be welcoming and embracing. During my short time here, I have read a lot of great poetry. Our poets are indeed top notch. I stand in awe of the talent. It has encouraged me to write even more of my own poetry. I have created some challenges, entered some of your challenges. I have even won a couple of challenges, YAY ME!!! (laughing). I have made a lot of friends already. It shows me that Starlite is doing what it was set up to do and that is to help bring Poets Together.
I accepted this position during a family vacation with the owners of this site, Devin Jeanel and The CheeseMaker. I believe we were driving through the hot and dry West Texas desert when we started discussing their vision for the site. It is a vision that takes Starlite into the world of publishing allowing poets the opportunity to see their works in book form. I have little doubt that I can lead us there in time. However, I have asked for a few months to stablize the infrastructure and financials. Something that you may not know, the owners have not taken a cent from Starlite. In fact, they have had to continually supplement the site. We all know that can't happen indefinitely. So, paying the bills has to take priority.
Speaking of financials, I would like to give a huge shout out for the poets who help us keep Starlite open. From all the poets that enjoy Starlite, "Thank You So Much". Those that can give, help to create this place for those that can't. Many of our poets are seniors and use Starlite as an outlet to the world. Starlite is very important to them. So anyone who can help by contributing can do so by clicking HERE. In addition to knowing you are making a difference, we offer incentives to our Sponsers. A Sponser's poem is shown without advertisement and any poem that they view is viewed without advertisment. New features are always given to the Sponsers first. For example, at present, Sponsers can see who has visited their poems (even if they didnt leave a comment) Sponsers are also using a new program to upload pictures to their personal gallery for use in their poems. They will also be the first ones in line when the publishing becomes a reality. We are hoping to be able to give them each a free book. Bottomline, we will continue to give our Sponsers as many benefits as possible to show our appreciation and gratitude.
You may have noticed the stabilization efforts and enhancement features during the last 6 weeks. We have been working hard to rewrite much of the user management systems for the site. The current backbone program is no longer supported by the vendor and has been responsible for many of the site's problems. Therefore much of the stablization effort has been in this area. The old profile editor has been blocked and replaced with the new one. With the new profile, we are going to be able to add more features such as the headline and options to personalize your Starlite experience.
We have introduced many different other features. One of the more exciting features is based on the use of Facebook to help promote our poet's works. In most cases, we writers have to share our material with self promotion techniques. We emailing links or poems to possible readers. We post it to our Facebook walls. We push it out. With the addition of the Facebook SHARE button, we encourage reader promotion. Readers that like your poems can promote it for you. They share your poem with their friends because they think it is good. They think it is good enough to encourage their friends to come and read. The addition of the Facebook registration/login allows those friends to quickly become a part of the site.
Some of the other major features are as follows:
Introduction of a new Personal Homepage designed to help Starlite Poets to connect with other poets via the News Feed and enhanced Latest Poem Box. The News Feeds gives information about what your friends have been doing on the site, posting poems, which challenges they are entering, when they change their photo or profile. As Jollynoblefrog said it is like Facebook for Poets. The Latest Poem Box allows the Poet to see a customized view of the latest poems. Initially, this feature allows the poet to remove a specific poet's poems from view. For example, if you don't want to see your own poems, then exclude them. If you dont like poetry of John Doe, then exclude him and you will never see another poem from him.
Enhanced and Opened up Personal Challenges. For the first time, a poet can create a challenge for All of Starlite or for just their friends. The challenges for all of Starlite are publized on our front home page for all to see. We have also given the Personal Challenge creater the power to moderate their own challenges. They can remove challenges or challenge entries. These challenges are highly customizable.
Created an online presence indicator. Lets your friends know when you are online. This is another step toward our mission of Bringing Poets Together. We are working toward tighter connections. Instead of just writing a comment and waiting for the writer to read your poems. We are looking for ways to move toward chat and collabration rooms to allow real time interaction.
Shout outs have been enhanced to allow you to commmunicate to all your friends with a single message. It is a close replacement of the Forums that had to be closed due to the error prone program mentioned earlier.
There have been many more little additions and enhancements, hundreds of hours of work, to make Starlite a better place. I am proud to be part of this transition and look forward to seeing what Starlite will become in the future.