Posted - 10/14/2007 : 14:14:26
| Dear Members,
We Now Can Assign "Friends" To View Our Personal Blogs
We have a new feature for our personal blogs. The blog owner will be able to select his/her "Friends" from a list of all our members (who have posted at least 15 times).
"Friends" will be able to access the blog owner's private forums that have been designated for "Friends Only".
This "Friends" Feature Is Different From FaceBook
We will assign our "Friends" privately (to avoid upsetting others who aren't designated as a "Friend"). Thus our members will not apply/ask to be put on another member's "Friend" list.
The owner of the blog will never tell others who is or isn't on his/her "Friends" list. When members enter a personal blog; they can't determine at first glance if they are, or are not, on the blog owners "Friends" list. All they see on entering the blog are a number of forums. However, if they were on the blog owner's "Friend" list, they would see additional forums that are (secretly) designated "For Friends Only".
Why Have Parts Of A Personal Blog "For Friends Only"?
There are a number of reasons why we wanted to give more privacy to our members:
Where Are We Going?
- We want to promote closer friendships in our community: We want to support close, confiding relationships between friends in our community. However, quite appropriately, our members shy away from confiding to others in a public place (especially if it can be "Googled"). Thus we created these private personal blogs.
- These personal blogs can't be accessed by internet search engines (e.g. Google).
- Access to the public parts of these new personal blogs is restricted to those members who have posted more than 15 times.
- Access to the private parts of these new personal blogs is restricted to those members who have been designated by the blog owner as being his/her "Friends".
- We want to let our members form private, special interest groups: There are many groups that lack their own private meeting place within our community (e.g., Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual groups, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder groups, Addiction groups [to porn, sex, as well as alcohol/drugs] etc.). Now, a member can form such a private special interest group in the privacy of his/her own blog. The blog owner will be able to control who accesses the private special interest group by assigning membership only to "Friends". Likewise, the blog owner will be able to function as the administrator of the private, special interest group (with the ability to delete anyone's posts in the blog).
- We want to show your "Friends" on a "Social Network" calendar: This calendar will show the daily "mood" of each of your friends, and link to their posts in our public community. All that is required is that your friends daily fill in their mood in their Mood Calendar. In this way, at a glance, you can see how your friends are, and what they are posting.
- We want to prevent predatory individuals from abusing our community: There is a legal requirement that websites protect their users from sexual predators or other lawless individuals who prey on the unsuspecting. FaceBook now is facing a major legal accusation that they have failed to protect their members from such predatory individuals. We believe that our personal blogs will protect our private, confidential communication from being viewed (and abused) by these predators.
We believe that social networking websites serve an important function to bring people together. However, for our mental health community, we believe that both public and private communication must be supported.
There is a feature of FaceBook that is troubling. I don't think individuals should ask to be given "Friend" status. It is very upsetting when someone asks to be a "Friend"; but is rejected.
In our personal blog, no member will have to apply for "Friend" status. In fact, no member will even know if they have "Friend" status in the blog. In this way, we believe that we are protecting our members from being pressured to give "Friend" status to strangers. Likewise, we hope to prevent members from feeling rejected by not receiving "Friend" status.
We hope you like these new personal blogs.
Phil Long M.D.