"I really like Beaufort County NOW; however, often when I look at the latest articles, I see one I want to read when I find time, and when I come back to the home page it's gone."
This bright young public servant continued, "I know why they are gone; it's because you put up so many articles every day, far more than anyone else I know, but I guess I am conditioned to these long lists of posts on sites that change far more slowly. I suppose these sites only put up a few a day."
After I explained how to better access the slightly older articles, I had a "eureka" moment: Why not explain: 1) a few of the essential features of BCN to better locate recent posts and quite frankly, all of the 8,043 posts, as of this publishing point, which is a valuable resource for the community and our region, and 2) explain what is the purpose, once again, of what BCN is, and, moreover, what it is intended to be.
First, the 2nd initiative of this post: What is Beaufort County NOW?
BCN is a Moderated Informational Platform - I even coined the phrase some time ago. A Moderated Informational Platform is an expansive cyber site that allows users / writers / readers the opportunity to express themselves to a wide group of readers, or if one is just a reader, the platform allows them a wide array of information. For either purpose, the site is dynamic and Social, allowing all registered users/ writers the ability to login, and message one another, me, my staff. In fact, chances are, if one messages me during business hours, one will most likely get a written reply within the hour.
Now the moderated part
This is the component that makes BCN, or any other County NOW, unique to its publisher, their staff, and to their collective users / readers. We publish everything we receive; however, we screen for quality of presentation, and, to a lesser extent, quality of content. It is not that we wish to restrict to remain elite, we just want to present a quality product, irrespective of the content, providing that all content has some greater purpose than, say, for example - the vast majority of the posts on Facebook.
I cast no negative aspersions on Facebook; I think Facebook serves a valuable service - it connects people, and often for a fine purpose. BCN; however, endeavors to do the same, but with content that usually has a wider perspective, and reasonably well delivered. My purpose is to let Facebook be Facebook, and let BCN be BCN.
And finally: How to more effectively use BCN
In deference to my good governing friend, we who control BCN have always endeavored to present the most navigable cyber site in existance to the extent that current technology will allow.
For instance, we have long used the duplicated method of the navigation bar beneath the header, with a single level drop-down exposing the coordinated links to all levels of categories, but in the structure of a separate section/category home page, so similar to the BCN home page that one might not be able to tell the difference. Some people tell me that they have bookmarked their favorite section/category home page as their access point, which actually makes no difference in accessibility to all navigation. We are the only local news and information cyber site, in northeastern North Carolina, that provides this level of consistent navigation from such stable access levels, so it is understandable that our greater level of functionality would confuse some folks. They simply are just not use to this level of communication through the wonders of a better technology.
The second of the aforementioned "duplicated method of navigation" is our category bar to the left of our post/exposition sector which is the core of all of what you are drawn to on BCN. The category bar, to your left as you read this, occupies much cyber "real estate" As a elongating accordion of categories for this purpose: The bar is organized to effectively display all major categories (parent), their subsection (or children), secondary subsection to the subsection (or grandchildren), and in some rare cases, tertiary subsection to the subsection (or great grandchildren). I generally do not like drop-downs or side-drops (they are cumbersome), so we employ the constant category method and sacrifice ad space for the sake of far greater efficiency.
Search Beaufort County Now
The boss, me, loves Search, and BCN's works extremely well - the best I have seen in a more regional site, and we have worked long hours to take it to that level. I use our search, with our well organized filters to filter down to what I need, or what needs to be discussed; case in point(s): Stan Deatherage, Search (unfiltered)
; Hood Richardson, Search (unfiltered)
; Pat McCrory, Search (unfiltered)
; Bill Cook, Search (unfiltered)
; Obama, Search (unfiltered)
; Wilmington, NC; Search (unfiltered)
; Tom Hanks, Search (unfiltered)
; Pamlico River, Search (unfiltered)
. You get the picture. Also the most current articles relating to that subject will be closer to the top of the Search, unfiltered or no.
Latest Articles section
Point of fact, obviously, the Latest Articles section is at the top of the page. This where our latest articles are positioned, but they are also positioned in their respective category / section lower, such as Government, Op-ed / Politics, Community, The Arts, etc., etc, and they can be found on that section's Home page. Remember this, just because other news and information sites are nowhere near as concise in their logical navigation as BCN, you just have to understand that we will always endeavor to be different, more logical in the directional use of our communicative instrument - BCN.
This is what the latest Article section looks like. Click the Latest Article bar to go to the list of the latest articles on BCN: Above.
Understanding this firm maxim, just click Latest Articles
to see those most current posts, and you will find about 3 days worth (about 45 entries) of posts slung together in the order they were published or republished on this page. If that does not take you far enough back, go the bottom of the page, where you will find more of these pages in the page box of the older articles. There are 178 pages of older posts, currently at this publishing point, so if we have published it, it will be there.
Now remember this one fact to make your navigation simpler, and why all other news and information sites do not use technology that will allow such is a wonder to me, you can click on every titled section bar (the ones that have a gradient color), wherever you find it throughout BCN and it will take you to a page that lists every title of every post, in the order that they were published or republished, that are associated with that specific titled category.
Use other tools
At the bottom left, one will find the Archives section, which is just a section that links to older articles that are segregated chronologically, and you will ironically find the latest articles in the first of that chronological order descending in time.
If you are interested in what others are reading: Just a bit above Archives in the Resources vertical bar (this is where we keep many of the free tools that we provide to the public), we have a tool named Popular Articles, which lists about 45 of our most popular posts of the last 2 months, and it literally changes constantly. This list is the link to our most popular posts for that allotted period of time.
I trust you will find this helpful in staying current with what is current in Beaufort County NOW. We currently have about 4,400 folks a day coming to BCN, so we feel that it is most important to inform folks as to how they can access information to keep them better informed.
As we make changes to improve our cutting edge technology, I'll keep you abreast of how the changes might enhance your information gathering experience.
And one more thing
In regards to the Latest Articles section: If you see an older article put back to the top of this section, the Home page, please understand that I do this because of that article's uniqueness, and more especially, it is probably one of the more popular posts during that publishing period.
Publisher's and president's note: Just like the good dentist with bad teeth, we, especially me, Stan Deatherage, have allowed our corporate website, Symbiotic Networks, Inc. (SNI) to languish, while we, especially me, have taken our fledgling prototype, Beaufort County NOW (BCN), to new heights, building it into one of the most important, and most visited and most Searched news and information sites in northeastern North Carolina ... and all of this without initializing a serious marketing plan for BCN yet.
Well no more, at least on the SNI part. Just as we have done wonders with BCN, we, and especially I, shall endeavor to build SNI's site, at least at a corporate level, to the steely heights of BCN. This is my promise.
What you will witness at the SNI site today, will be markedly less than what you will see there tomorrow, for I intend to build it up - using our propriety Symbiotic Publisher content management system (the same CMS that powers BCN). As I work to complete this task, I, and my sales associate, coding associate and publishing associate, Chris Downey, will work to that same end with me as well, and we will be even more emboldened to assist the corporate / company leader, who is wise enough to know how important it is to reach out on the internet.
Recently an associate of mine in my other professional life, county government administration, expressed to me,