Site Help and Info

Thanks for joining the Fairlington online community! Have fun and don't worry - we're all learning together!  This is a place to share our experiences of church life, and show the world who we are.

 

There are two distinct streams of activity in this website.  

First stream is a traditional website

Here someone is officially publishing public information about the church on pages.  These are represented by the tabs/buttons on the line on the header at the top of the page on the left side -- e.g. "Worship," "Serve," "Grow," etc.

Web site Administrators, and people designated as page Administrators, compose and publish and update these pages.  When there is a change in these pages, you are not notified by the website to your email. 

 

Second stream is the developing church online community - the social stream. 

This is represented by the tabs/buttons under "Connect," and "My Page." 

When there are changes in any "public" activity, or "private" activity that you participate in interactively, the website will notify you of changes coming from other people so you can follow along with the community conversations.

This means that you are not notified by the website to your email of any changes if you have not already indicated an interest or someone is reaching out to connect with you. 

Please also note that if you do not Sign In and are consequently not socially active on this site, you will not have timely information about the development of the online community.  If you do not Sign In you can still view the site as a visitor and will see what is available to the general public.

The private areas can include web site offices, spaces for group collaboration, scheduling and event preparation, or anything that you personally make private by using special settings. 

Some things cannot be made private, such as discussions and announcements to the community at large and work in public group spaces. 

Tip: You can also turn email notifications "off" selectively (button: "Stop Following") or globally through your MY Page personal Settings -- however, we recommend at least keeping the personal "Daily Digest" email option, this is a summary and a very abbreviated notice with just links.

Tip: All notifications contain links that mean you can jump back from your home email into the website without remembering or entering the website address. You have to "Sign In" to enter a response. If you are not sharing a computer, or moving among devices, then you might consider never signing out.

 

Both of these streams come together on the Home Page: the traditional website and the online church community. 

Join the Welcome Cafe to check in, introduce yourself and take the steps to join a Group. 

Find your own publishing applications in the tab "Connect" above in the navigation bar.  Look for Events, Groups, Forum Discussion, Blogs. You can publish in those libraries, or to them from "My Page".

"My Page" goes to your very own page, your personal dashboard to your church community connections. Please do upload your own photo icon so people will find you more readily both here and in church - see your personal "Settings" for instructions.

Practice publishing on your page. Look for the "customize" or "appearance" apps to change the look of your space.  Rearrange your page to put the most important apps at the top of the page. You can embed videos in any text box you author.  Text boxes are the standard word processing applications for blogs, and discussions.

 

Step #1 - Make Friends

Come on over to the Welcome Cafe http://fairlingtonumc.ning.com/group/cafe  and make friends with each other. You may send "Friend Requests" much like you'd do on Facebook or other social networking sites. For purposes of this site, we use the term "friend" rather loosely - we like to think of everyone here at Fairlington as a "friend!"

Making "friends" here means establishing the online version of your social church network, and making new aquaintances.  To make "friends" here, go to a member's personal page, from the Member list, and look at the left column where your option is to invite them to be your friend.

You can message your "friends" here. Note that no personal emails are disclosed in this website messaging system.

Later when you start to form groups, you will create the group membership from your list of "friends".

Related Forum Discussion: http://fairlingtonumc.ning.com/forum/topics/being-welcoming

 

Step #2 - Collaborate

This space can be used to build community and efficiently share community resources.  Since many church activities depend on volunteer time and connections, posting to a single location rather than depending on an email list, can cut out a lot of back and forth and hunting for email discussion fragments.

 

Some suggestions:

Use the personal Blog to share thoughts you have "at large" that may not be a community-wide discussion and is not particular to one identified group of people.

 

Use the Forum Discussions to start or add to a topic of community-wide interest right now and through time.  This is a community space to learn together and grow together, to form consensus and inform church decision-making.

 

Use a Group to gather a specific set of people and/or attract public interest to activity that takes place through time on a more or less continuing basis. Maybe the first most important function of the Group is the ability to message just the members of the group -- which is a selected focus group of your "friends"

Groups can be used to promote, communicate, coordinate among members to the public-at-large (Internet wide) or more privately (messages, or an altogether private group). 

Groups have statements about what they are, the option to invite people or let them invite themselves in, a "text box" that can richly contain not just text but photos and links to history, a "Discussion" function that is not community-wide but group specific, and a comment wall for inquiries and quick updates.  The Group also has an "Add Page" function that the group Creator and group Administrators can use to post meeting minutes and other documents. Those added pages have their own Internet URL address and can be linked to in an email, or from elsewhere on the site. 

 

Step #3 - Create What's Missing

Don't just read around.  You create community connections.  You are the missionary bringing your church online to expand and share church life. Keep in mind how many people you want to reach and if it is a personal, collective or small group experience or if it is to promote what you love about the church to a wider public audience. If you'd like to promote a group activity or volunteer opportunity, you may even create an Event, which will allow people to get involved!

So write in a comment box, write a reply, go to the Blog/Forum/Group areas of the web site and ADD + and don't forget to SAVE.

And if you mess up almost everything can be edited or deleted.  Do not panic.

 

Learn these four things:

1) How to get around using the navigation tools that link you to different people and content:

  • people's photo icons are links to get to their personal My Page to see what they like and are doing;
  • the horizontal navigation bar under the church header takes you to the public side of the site (left buttons) and the community side (right buttons);
  • "Home" and "My Page" (under "Connect") left and right columns give you "dashboard" quick links to your interests and to church promoted and featured public materials.

 

2) Text Box

The Text Boes are used for adding comments, replies, pages. They work the same way nearly everywhere, though sometimes the text color options may not be there.  This is not just for text! You can publish links, photos, videos, and the more adventuresome can switch from "what you see is what you get" (WYSIWIG) to an HTML code view.

 

3) Upload

The handy uploader is a way to search your own computer for what you want to copy to this site (which might include photos, documents, etc.).  Reminder: while photo formats are pretty standard among computers and other site access, text and spreadsheet are not and you may want to save to a PDF format before uploading, especially if you are moving material to an historical archive.

 

4) Links

When you publish an active link in the text box first add the text you want as a link, highlight it and click on the "link" button in the text box commands.  A box will open to prompt you to add the link -- the highlighted text will already be filled in and in the second spot below it you add the link.  Tip: In the second box the http:// part of the address is already filled in for you, so if your link to paste in has the http:// then delete the one they have filled in for you, and of course if you are typing in the link you will not have to insert the http://.

 

Step #4 - Other access devices

You can get here by mobile phone and iPad.  There will be some differences in what you see on them and whether you are seeing an abbreviated version or full web page version.  Some videos do not play on an iPAD at the time this is written.

You can both read and publish to this site by phone and iPAD.

If you use your phone as a camera, you can mail yourself the photo directly to the site -- see the email address on the last page of your personal settings.

 

Step #5 - Other publishing platforms

You can publish video to YouTube, and then link or embed the code to any place on this site (text box, video).  This will save the church storage costs down the road because the video is stored off site in a free archive.

You can publish photos to Flickr, and link locally with the advantage of free storage.

You can publish documents to Google DOCS, and many more "cloud" spaces coming along, and link locally.

 

 

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Comment by Jill Herndon on June 23, 2012 at 10:14pm
There can be publishing delays for moderated content. I don't know if that happened but I did just find the group and clicked on the "OPTIONS" you also have as group creator. I made the correction for you. Go check out your Group Administrator options.
Comment by Kathy Richards on June 23, 2012 at 2:00pm

I tried to set up a UMW group, but after I clicked save I saw that there was a typo--"and" should have been "at" and I couldn't figure out how to edit it.  Then it disappeared.  When I tried to reenter the info, it said the site was taken, but I can't find a listing of the group???  Kathy

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