Green Thumb Journal News

Recent News Article Alerts

Posted Thursday, June 24, 2010

Let’s start with the easiest of the new features, our Recent News Article alert. Previously on the “My Journal” page there was an alert that would show you the total number of recent comments that were related to you during the last fourteen days. With our latest release, we’ve added an additional alert that shows the number of news article in our blog for the past fourteen days. Our intention is to make it obvious to members when new features are released or important site wide news is released.

A Few New Features

Posted Thursday, June 24, 2010

It has been awhile since we last released a new feature, but that does not mean we’ve been idle. As of tonight we are rolling out several new features which we hope will make Green Thumb Journal a more interactive site. These new features are as follows:

  • Member following
  • Links
  • Changes to My Journal page
  • Recent News Article alert
Since these new features represent a fair amount of new concepts, we’re breaking each of them out into their own news article. As always check out the new features and let us know your thoughts, opinions, and suggestions.

Enhancing Member Pictures

Posted Friday, May 28, 2010

Going into the weekend, we just released some new enhancements around the pictures that members upload. These enhancements fall into two distinct areas. The first area deals with providing you with more contextual information about the various pictures members upload. Whenever you view an enlarged view of a picture as shown below, you now have three new ways to interact with the photo in the form of hyperlinks. The first new hyperlink is for the member who took the photo; this link will take you to this member’s information page. The second link is related to the journal entry that the picture is related to. The final link is titled “I Like This Picture!” and allows you to quickly give a thumbs up for pictures that are appealing to you.

If you click the picture itself you will be taken to the picture detail page where you can enter comments about the picture, you will notice several new links here. The first link is for “Plant Type” and will take you to a special page dedicated to this type of plant. This link will not show in all cases, it will only appear for pictures that have been tied directly to a plant that has been reviewed by our staff. General pictures of a garden area that have not been tied to a plant will not show this link. The next new link is the “Member” link which will take you to the member information page for the person who uploaded the picture. There is also a “Garden Area” link which will take you to the Garden Area detail page that the picture is associated with. The last link/button, the “I Like This Picture!” button allows members, as mentioned above, to specify which pictures they like.

The final new feature around pictures relates to the “I Like This Picture!” links and buttons. Now on the home page we will show a top 20 listing of favorite pictures for the past month based upon the voting all the members do via these new buttons and links. As of tonight we only have a few pictures showing, but we fully expect this list to fill up quickly, so take a moment and look through your fellow members’ gardens and note all the pictures you like. Only one vote is counted per person and only pictures that have been uploaded in the past thirty days are eligible.

We hope you like these new features and we greatly appreciate the members (Dreemgirl and Mary) who suggested some of them. Comment back with any further suggestions, questions or issues you have. We hope you like the new features!

New Public Garden Journal Calendar Feature

Posted Friday, May 21, 2010

Last night we added a new feature based upon requests from several members to make it easier to view a member’s journal entries from the public Garden Journal page. When you now visit a particular member’s public Garden Journal page you will still see three tabs across the top of the screen (About, My Journal, and Explore My Garden). There is one slight difference in that we renamed the second tab from My Activities to My Journal in an effort to be more concise.

The main change is visible when you select the “My Journal” tab. Previously this would take you to your latest journal entry. The problem with this approach was that you did not have a way to navigate directly to a particular day in the member’s journal; instead you would have to page through each journal a day at a time. As of today, you will now be presented with a calendar similar to what you see when you enter your daily journal activities. An example of this is shown below. This will allow you to see all the days for the selected month where journal activities were recorded.

By clicking a particular calendar day you will be taken to a screen that will show all the journal entries for the selected day. This is the same screen you previously had except for there is a button at the bottom of the page which will allow you to navigate back to the calendar as seen below.

Hopefully this will allow you to quickly visualize all the recent journal entries a particular user has. Let us know your thoughts on this new feature in the comments below.

Let's Grow Together (and win some prizes in the process)

Posted Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The past three months we have been hard at work adding new features and making things more usable, but we really have not been concentrating on adding more users. We would like to change that, we feel that dramatically growing our community of users will make Green Thumb Journal a more valuable place for all of our members since there will be more experiences and viewpoints to share amongst members. Don't get us wrong, we are going to continue to add tons of useful features, we just feel that some of the upcoming features will be more valuable if we have a larger user base.

Over the next few weeks, we will be trying several different approaches to growing our member base, the first of which we need your help on. We feel we already have some great members, we would just like to attract more and that is where you come in. For the next month (May 18th thru June 18th) we are going to be putting on our first Membership Drive Contest. The intent is simple, we want your help in attracting new members. At the end of this contest we will reward the member with the most points a $25 gift certificate for their online garden supplier of choice, the second place member a $15 gift certificate and the third place member a $10 gift certificate.

So how do you get points? You have two basic ways. The easiest way is to invite your friends to join Starting today you will see an 'Invite Friends' link at the top of every page once you are logged in. By clicking this link you will be taken to a screen where you are provided a special link your friends can use to join Green Thumb Journal. For every friend that you get to join and use our site, you are given 1 point. This link can be mailed to your friends, posted on other sites such as Facebook or Twitter; your friends' just need to use it when they join so we can associate them with you.

The second way to accumulate points is to help us get our name out on other sites with the intent of attracting other users. For each site you get to show a link back to us ( you will receive 5 points. All you need to do is to send us an email with your username and the address of the page where the link resides to our gmail account greenthumbjourn at gmail dot com (we are not spelling it out so spammers won’t get our email). So if you have a favorite gardening site (online forum, garden club, nursery, etc.) tell them about us and see if you can get them to add a link on their site to our site.

Does this all make sense? Do you think you can help us grow our numbers? How many new members do you think we can attract in the next month? Let us know your questions, thoughts and any suggestions you have around this in the comments below. Best of luck with the contest.