From KickApps Documentation
The KIT Cloud Social Blogs application enables you and your site’s members to maintain a blog within the context of your KIT Cloud Social-powered site. Site members can post new blog entries as often as they like and each entry can contain a combination of text, videos, photos, etc. (even live video and live audio recordings).
Blog posts can be organized by categories or tags, and the content of each blog post is indexed by your site’s global search engine (which makes all of your site’s content findable by keyword).
Each blog post has a unique URL (“permalink”), retains your site’s global styling and navigation (including your header, main navigation, background and footer), and is wired up for social interaction via comments and ratings, “favoriting,” sharing with friends, etc.
It is important to note that the Blogs application can be easily configured (using your site’s “Language Editor,” as described below) to become any type of user-submitted text application. Many of your site’s members would not be interested in “blogging” on your site, per se, but they might be interested in submitting a “New York Moment” as they do on the nbcnewyork.com site, which uses the KIT Cloud Social Blogs application to accept user-submitted stories about memorable happenings in the Big Apple.
Enabling and Disabling the Blogs Application
The KIT Cloud Social Blogs application can be enabled or disabled in Affiliate Center on the Configure > Settings > Add/Remove Apps page. (You can get to the Affiliate Center by clicking the “manage your site” link near the top of all your site’s pages.) When you enable this application, your site’s members will be able to create and edit their own blog posts, and view and interact with other members’ blogs.
Note: If you disable this application after blog posts have been submitted to your site, all of those posts will become unavailable on your site and people who try to view those posts will see a message that the post has been removed. Re-enabling the Blogs application will make those blog posts viewable again.
Configuring the Blogs Application
When members add blog posts to your site (or edit existing posts) you can automatically approve the content or you can specify that the content must be manually approved by a site administrator or editor before it goes live on your site.
You can configure this setting in the Affiliate Center on the Manage > Media page. If auto-approvals are not enabled for the Blogs application, each new or edited blog post will immediately be placed in your site’s Pending Queue, where it must be manually approved by a site administrator. Click here for more information on managing your site’s media in the Affiliate Center. (Note: you can designate specific members of your site as “trusted contributors,” which means that even if you have auto-approvals turned off, any blog posts added or edited by these members will be automatically approved. Click here for more information on managing your site’s members in the Affiliate Center
Regardless of which auto-approval setting you choose, a “flag as inappropriate” option appears on every blog post page, which allows site visitors to notify administrators if they see a blog post that should be reviewed or removed from the site. When this link is clicked, a window appears where you can enter details about why you think the blog post is inappropriate. When this form is submitted, the site Webmaster receives an email notification containing a link to the blog post in question and the explanation from the person who flagged it. By setting your site’s “flag threshold,” you can automatically pull a blog post down off the site (and into your site’s Pending Queue) after it has been flagged a certain number of times.
When the Blogs application is enabled, you can specify a default icon to represent blog posts throughout your site (on search results pages, for instance). This icon is used in situations where a custom icon is not available or has not been specified by the blogger. You set the default icon for blog posts in the Affiliate Center on the Configure > Settings > Default Icons page.
On the Configure > Settings > Site Settings page in the Affiliate Center can configure your site to allow your members to submit “private media” to your site. When this option is selected the add blog post page is modified to include an option for the author to specify that “only their friends” can see the post. If this option is selected during the upload process (see below), a link to the “private” blog post will only be visible on the author’s profile page, and only their friends inside your site will be able to see it. (Note: Private blog posts do not show up in your site’s search results or RSS feeds – they are essentially “invisible” to everyone in the world except the author, the author’s friends and the site administrators. If an unauthorized user tries to view a private blog post they will see a message indicating that the blog post is only visible to friends of the author.) The visibility of a blog post can easily be toggled from public to private at any time, as described below in the “Editing Blog posts” section of this document.
As the site administrator, you can choose to include a few other optional meta data fields on your add blog post page. These include geo-location fields (country, city, state, zip) and an “email your friends” field. You can enable these fields individually in the Affiliate Center on the Configure > Settings > Site Settings page.
The Blogs application has a few default text strings that you can modify in the Affiliate Center in the Configure > Language section. The “Language Editor” allows you to not only localize the Blogs application to another language (Italian, French, Spanish, etc.), but it also allows you to re-position the Blogs application as any type of user submitted text application. For instance, you could re-name the “Blogs” tab to “Big Ideas” and on the Add/Edit Blog page you could re-name the “Blog Post:” label to “What is your big idea?” Look, you’ve just added an “ideastorm” application to your site!
Adding Blog Posts
You and your site’s members can create blog entries by clicking the “Add a Blog Post” links which appear in a few places on your site, including the “Get Active” section of each member’s myHome page, the sub-nav section of the main Blogs page and at the bottom of each blog post.
Adding a blog post can be as simple as submitting a title and few lines of “body” text, or authors can spend a little more time dressing up their posts with stylized text, bulleted lists, images, videos, HTML markup, etc. Use the buttons at the bottom of the text editor to initiate these features. To insert a photo or video into a blog post, click the button to the far right of the text editor’s toolbar. This will launch a new browser window displaying the approved photos and videos that the author has already uploaded to your site. Click any of those items to insert it into the blog post.
In addition to adding “standard” blog posts, members can also choose to add a blog post with a live video, or live audio recording. To choose one of these options, simply select the appropriate radio button in the “Choose Blog Post Format” section of the add blog post page. To include a live audio or video recording in your blog post, you will need either a microphone, webcam or both.
Blog authors can upload a custom thumbnail image to represent individual blog posts within your site. If no custom thumbnail is supplied during the submission process, the author’s profile photo will be used instead. If the author has not uploaded a profile photo, the default icon which you specify in the Affiliate Center for blog posts (see above) will be used.
If you have the “media privacy” feature enabled for your site, blog authors can mark individual blog posts as “private,” meaning that only their friends can see them.
As the site administrator, you can choose to include a couple of other optional meta data fields on your blog post submission page. These include geo-location fields (country, city, state, zip) and an “email your friends” field. You can enable these fields individually in the Affiliate Center on the Configure > Settings > Site Settings page.
If the KIT Cloud Social Sets application is enabled for your site, the add blog post page also contains a few additional optional fields where the author can add the blog post to sets they have already created, or they can create a new set. If the blog post is being added to an existing set, the post will be the last item in the set. If the new blog post is being added to a new set, the blog post will be the first item in the new set. Click here for more information on the Sets application
If the KIT Cloud Social Groups application is enabled for your site, members will see a list of groups that they belong to on the add blog post page (if they belong to any). The blog post that gets submitted will be added to all of the groups that the member checks (if any). Click here for more information on the Groups application
Editing Blog Posts
Blog posts can be edited by the site administrators, as well as the member who added the blog post. If you are the member who authored the blog post, clicking the “Edit Blog Post” link in the area beneath the body of the blog post will take you to the “Add/Edit Blog Post” page (described above) where the contents of the blog post can be changed, along with the title, description and other meta data. If you are a site administrator, clicking the “Edit Blog Post” link will take you to the Affiliate Center, where the blog post can be edited, deleted or rejected. (More on this below, in the “Managing Blog Posts” section of this document.)
Finding Blog Posts
Each blog post that gets added to your site is immediately indexed by your site-wide search engine and is made available on the site within a few minutes after it is created. When you enable the Blogs application for your KIT Cloud Social-powered site, a “Blogs” tab is added to your site’s global navigation strip. Clicking the “Blogs” tab will display the most recent blog posts that have been added to your site, with options to sort the list by most views, most comments, most favorites, etc. In addition to the “Blogs” tab in your site’s global navigation strip, a “Blog” checkbox is added to the Advanced Search form on your site, so that users can perform keyword searches against only your site’s blog posts. Click here for more information on the Search application
Viewing and Interacting with Blog Posts
Each blog post in your site has a dedicated page at a URL that is automatically created by the KIT Cloud Social system, based on the title of the blog post. The page which hosts each blog post contains the title of the blog post, the body of the post, as well as information about who added it, and when it was added. Beneath the body of the blog post is an interaction module where other members can rate the blog post, leave comments, add it to their favorites, add it to a set, share it with friends, tag it, etc. To the right of the body of the blog post, beneath the information about the member who added it is a list of related blog posts. This list is comprised of other recent blog posts that have similar tags, titles and authors.
The KIT Cloud Social Sets application allows your site’s members to create “sets” or collections of related media assets that belong to your site. If you have enabled the Sets application for your site, each blog post page might contain a “set navigator” module beneath the blog post, which allows you to quickly see which other items are in the set, and navigate through a set of related items quickly. This module will only be present if the blog post currently being viewed belongs to a set. In addition, below each blog post is a link which allows any member to add the current blog post to any of their sets, provided the author selected the option to allow other members to do this. Click here for more information on the Sets application
As mentioned above (see, ‘Configuring the Blogs Application) , there is a “flag as inappropriate” option on every blog post page, which allows site visitors to notify administrators if they see a blog post that should be reviewed or removed from the site. When this link is clicked, a window appears where you can enter details about why you think the blog post is inappropriate. When this form is submitted, the site Webmaster receives an email notification containing a link to the blog post in question and the explanation from the person who flagged it.
Managing Blog Posts as a Site Member
Your site’s members can see all of their blog posts in one place by clicking the “Blogs” tab, and then the “My Blog” tab in your site’s global navigation strip. (Blog posts are automatically ordered to show the most recent ones at the top of the list.) From this page, members can view, edit or delete any of their previous entries.
Managing Blogs as the Site Administrator
As a site administrator (Webmaster, Admin or Editor), you can view and manage all of your site’s blog posts in the Affiliate Center in the Manage > Media section. The advanced search form allows you to look for blog posts by specific members, within specific categories, posted between specific dates, among other filtering criteria.
Clicking the “details” link next to any blog post will allow you to view and edit the blog post, including the comments, tags, ratings and other meta data fields. Changes that you make here are permanent.
Syndicating Blog Content
Your site’s blog posts can be syndicated in the Affiliate Center’s App Studio > Feed Builder section. To create an RSS feed of your site’s blog posts, click the “create” button on the Feed Builder main page, then select “Blogs” as your “Media Type.” From there you can sort and filter the results using the standard sorting and filtering options available in the Feed Builder tool, to produce a feed containing just the items matching your criteria. (For instance you could create a feed of blog posts submitted by a certain member, or group of members, sorted by most recent, or most viewed, or most comments, etc). Note: you don’t have to use the Feed Builder tool to create RSS feeds containing your sites blog posts. Advanced users can also manually construct an RSS feed URL containing the “mediaType=blogs” parameter in our RSS Feed API. Click here for more information on the RSS Feed API
In addition to syndicating all of your site’s blog posts via RSS Feeds, you can also syndicate the blog posts of any individual member by clicking on the RSS icon located at the bottom right of any blog post page.
Reporting on Blogs
Usage of the Blogs application is tracked along with the rest of your site’s content in the Reporting section of the Affiliate Center. You can see how many blog posts were added, and how many times your site’s blog posts were viewed in aggregate for any date range. Click here for information on KIT Cloud Social Reporting
Blogs on Profile Pages
There is a section on each member’s profile page where hyperlinked titles of their most recent blog posts are displayed. When members add blog posts to your site, this section of their profile page is automatically updated with links to the recent blog posts.
There is also a section on each member’s profile page where links to their favorite blog posts are listed. When a member of your site adds a particular blog post their “Favorites,” this section of their profile page is automatically updated with a link to the blog post. Click here for more information on the Social Networking application
Blogs on the "Community" or "Network Activity" Homepage
When you configure your site to include a pre-configured “community home page” it contains a bunch of modules that feature the most recent content that members have contributed to your site. When a new blog post is added to your site, the “Most Recent Blogs” module is automatically updated with a link to the blog post. Click here to learn more about configuring your site to include a pre-configured “community home page.”
The Blog Homepage
As of a release in October 2010, you also have the option to choose a "Blog Home Page." That means that your home page will by default resemble the main page of a blog, and your posts (and those of your members, if you wish) will populate the blog results on the home page (and subsequent list pages).
Configure your Blog Homepage by navigating in the Affiliate Center / Control Panel to: Configure > Pages > Site Home Page. Select "Blog Home Page" from the list of radio buttons present. Then, set the various options for your Blog Home Page. You can:
- Set how many posts appear on the home page
- Set what kinds of users (what roles) can post to the home page
- Set a custom HTML Welcome Message, Widget, or Banner to appear at the top.
The Blog Home Page & New Blog Page Layout
As of a release in October 2010, for all new sites, the default "Blog Page Layout" will be set to "Modern", which includes the option to configure several "Sidebar Modules" including a Twitter module, Recent Posts module, Categories module, and a Custom Sidebar module. To configure these options, in the Affiliate Center / Control Panel please navigate to Configure > Pages > Blog Page Layout Options.
Please note that your Blog Thumbnail Image will be shown on list pages. You can always insert images into the blog body copy, which will also be rendered into the summary or full blog post that shows on list pages.
See the two different layouts, here.
|Classic Layout||Modern Layout|
If your site was set up before October 2010, you can still choose to use the Modern Blog Layout, by navigating in the Affiliate Center / Control Panel to: Configure > Pages > Blog Page Layout Options.
Blogs in Your Site’s Activity Feeds
Your KIT Cloud Social-powered site comes with a number of “activity feeds” that are constantly updated as members interactps with each other and with the content of your site.
- There is a “community activity feed” on your site’s login page which contains a running feed of all member activity across your site.
- There is a “member activity feed” on the profile page for each of your site’s members which contains a running feed of each particular member’s activities.
- There is a “my friends and my news” feed on your members’ myHome page which contains a feed of their friends’ activities and the also the activities of the people they are following.
- Lastly, there is a “group activity feed” on each group page which contains a feed of activities that have happened inside that particular group.
Each time a new blog post is added, edited or interacted with (rated, commented on, added to someone’s favorites, etc), the appropriate activity feeds are automatically updated with a link to the member who performed the action, as well as a link to the blog post that was acted upon.
Below is an illustration of a member activity feed on someone’s profile page:
Blogs and Points
The KIT Cloud Social Points & Levels application allows you to automatically award points to your site’s members when they perform certain activities on your site. If you have enabled the Points & Levels application for your site, you can configure the application to award points when your members add blog posts, and when their blog posts are interacted with. Click here for more information on the Points and Levels application
Blogs and Groups
The KIT Cloud Social Groups application allows you to create “micro-communities” within your site that members can join to share and interact with others in a more granular context than your entire site. If you have enabled the Groups application for your site, each group has a “group page” with a section featuring the most recent blog posts that have been added to the group. Click here for more information on the Groups application
Advertising on Blog Posts
There are a few different types of pages on your site associated with the KIT Cloud Social Blogs application. Clicking the “Blogs” tab in your site’s global navigation strip reveals a “list page” containing your site’s most recent blog posts. From here, you can click on an individual blog post, which is rendered on a “play page.” If you click to edit or add a new blog post, you are taken to a “profile management” page.
Each of the three types of pages mentioned above have “ad slots” in them that you can populate with whichever content you want. You can configure these ad slots in the Affiliate Center on the Configure > Advertising page. Click here to learn more about configuring the ad slots on your site.
The Blogs application sends email notifications to site administrators and members when certain events occur. The contents of these notifications can be modified by editing your site’s Language settings, as described above (see, “Configuring the Blogs Application”). Below is a list of the email notifications that get sent from the Blogs application, including the “trigger events” which cause the notifications. Click the notification title to view the contents of the email that gets sent when the trigger event occurs.
- Blog Post Forwarded to Friends (member’s friends) (from a blog post page)
- Tell Friends (member’s friends) (from the add a blog post page)
|Blog Post Approved||
|Blog Post Rejected||
|Blog Post Tagged||
|From a Blog post page|
|Blog Post Commented On||
|From a Blog post page|
|Another member comments on a blog post after you||
|From a Blog post page|
|Blog Post Flagged||
|from a Blog post page|
|Blog post Auto-unapproved due to Flagging||
|from an Blog post page|
|Blog Post Forwarded to Friends||
|from a Blog post page|
|from a Blog post page|
API Support for the Blogs Application (For Developers)
This document is intended to provide an in-depth look at the Blogs application on the KIT Cloud Social hosted platform, to help you understand how the application can be enabled, configured and managed on a day-to-day basis.
If you prefer to host all of the blog pages on your own web servers, or if you’d just like to use bits and pieces of the Blogs application, we offer a complete set of REST API calls which allow you to construct whatever kind of user interface you can dream up.
Regardless of which front-end deployment option you choose, the functionality of the Blogs application (and the content created by it) is managed in the Affiliate Center as described above. Click here for more information on the REST API