Tips for getting the most from the Business.Gov Community
by Stephen Morris, Community Moderator
- Created: July 8, 2009, 10:37 am
- Updated: February 24, 2011, 11:35 am
Now that the Business.Gov Community is picking up steam at
over 3,000 users [update 7/28/09 now over 4,000 users], our team is looking for new ways to search, monitor, and
evaluate the wealth of knowledge created on the site. Over the last several
months, we have picked up a few tips and tricks that may be of help to
Use the Community Search tool
If you have a specific question that you think the Community
may have already discussed, using this tool is an easy way to find the
information you need. The search field is located at the top of the Community home page.
For example, if you're looking for information about small
business taxes, you can input 'taxes' in the search field to find
discussion on the topic. I tried this search and found a great discussion about
some interesting tax advantages of running a home-based business.
If you want to search with more specificity, try using the
advanced search function. Here, you can search subject lines, tags, or within
specific discussion boards only.
Search tags to find local information
Community users have the opportunity to assign a
'tag' to each of their posts. Tags are small bits of information that
describe what the post is about. If users tag their posts with their state
and/or city, other users can find the post by doing a tag search.
For example, if I'm trying to find discussion about Ohio, I can use the Advanced Community Search and enter 'Ohio' for my tag
search term. Check out the results here.
The more accurately users tag their posts, the more robust
tag search results will be - so please, tag your posts! Currently, the top
tagger in the Community is luckycharmz336 with 133 tags. Great
you want to browse a specific topic, take a look at the “top tags” field on the
right panel of the Community home page.
Follow the Community in a feed reader
Many of you may already use a feed reader, sometimes called
to follow news media - but did you know that you can use a reader to follow
discussions in the community? Inside a board or a thread you'd like to follow,
select 'Subscribe to this Board/Thread's RSS Feed.' Follow the
instructions from your feed reader of choice on how to import the feed. This
allows you to watch several feeds from one location. Many websites already
offer feeds, or 'syndication', including blogs, news sites, job
boards, and so on. You can even follow the Business.Gov Team's Twitter feed*.
Don’t be intimidated by feeds, they are really easy to use
and can greatly increase your productivity.
Encourage and support good community behavior
If you think someone has posted something worthwhile, let
them know by giving them a 'kudo'. This helps the Community to stay
vibrant and on topic. I just checked the kudo charts and as of this writing,
TR_OK is our top
kudoed member. Congrats, TR_OK, and keep up the good work!
Provide the Business.Gov team with feedback
Every so often we post a
question in our ideas exchange.
Recent topics have included where to go for business advice and what topics should
be discussed on the site.
Do you have any tricks or tips for navigating the Business.Gov
Community? Leave your suggestions in the comments...
* This hyperlink goes to a non-government website
About the Author
Stephen Morris is online media coordinator for the U.S. Small Business Administration where he manages digital outreach to the small business community.
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