Using the Site

The Ruth Group website is a combination of a “blog” and a “portal.”

The blog scrolls down the center of the screen. This is the on-going posting of news, commentary, links to other sites, etc. (Blog is the popular short form of web-log — originally conceived of as on-line journals.)

Each new piece is called a “post.” All blog posts on the Ruth Group site start with a “Title” [in red] to help orient you to the broad theme of the post. This is followed by the post itself, if it is short, or the first few lines of the post followed by “more…” Clicking on “more…” will reveal the rest of the post. Or, click on the red “Title” and see the whole post.

The bottom line shows the poster’s name and the various “categories” touched on by this post.

Notice that some words, ( the Title, the Categories, are in Red. This indicates they are links, and if clicked on will take you away from this page to the location of the link. If a post, for example, has several categories and you click on one — say “Iraq” — the “Front Page” screen you have been viewing will be replaced by only those posts which have Iraq as a category, including the post you started with.

All posts, by default, appear on the Front Page. Any post will also appear in any category it has been assigned.

Down at the bottom of the the first screen of posts you will see “Earlier posts.” Click on this and you will go to a previous page of posts. You can work your way back, for years! if you wish. Once you click on “Earlier posts” you will see a “Recent posts” link. Clicking on this will take you forward to the most recent posts.

At the top left, under Navigation, and The Site, you will see Home. Any time, from anywhere, clicking this will take you to the most recent posts.

This is a good time to point out two other navigation elements at the top left of the portal (the side-bar.)

Find the lable called ” Posts by Categories.” Click on the down arrow to the right of “select category” and you will see a list of the categories we use. If you are interested in what has been posted in Environment click that category and all posts in the center screen will be, in some way, about Environment. Many of them will have other categories as well, so you might see the same posting under Environment, Health, and War. Similarly, if you are reading a post, in the center, and look at the categories it is related to, clicking on anyone will clear the center screen and replace it with articles only with that category. Front Page is the master category. Or, click on Home, in the upper left.

The next selection tool is “Posts by Contributors.” Contributors are those whose name you see at the bottom of all posts. Click on anyone of the Contributors to see a page (or more) of all contributions.

In both cases, what appears in the center screen are short summaries of the cateogry, or contributors posts. To read an entire post click on the (red) [ Keep reading ] or click on the (red) Title of the piece.

The ShareThis thingy

You’ll notice at the bottom right of each post a little green icon with ShareThis. Clicking it will open up a drop down menu with 6 social networking icons, and two other tabs at the top. The Send/Email allows you to select e-mail or various kinds of instant messaging to send the post you are reading a friend, or friends.

Below the 6 site-icons showing is “more.” Click that to see another fistful of such sites. All of these social networking sites are places where you have, or may create, an account, and among other things, provide links back to the posts you are reading and think important. You’re probably familiar with Facebook and MySpace. If you have an account there, click the icon, go to your account and a link to this post will be inserted into the appropriate page in your account. If you don’t have an account, for any of these, you create one the first time you go.

The point of Facebook and MySpace isn’t of course, just to share favorite posts. But sharing them is one thing you can do — to show your range and depth of interest, understanding, your amusement of the trivial, etc.

Since people like you frequent these sites and share ideas with you, the posts you are linking to begin to wander off into the internet universe, and bring people back to this blog — which is the point of providing it to you!

So, you aren’t expected to click on all of these icons, just one or two which you may already frequent, or be interested in finding out about. It’s all the rage I’m told!

I will be able to see which posts are being spread outward, and which bring new viewers in, and therefore how big the circle grows! Click on. And drop a comment with praise, complaints, or ideas.

The Portal

Besides containing these navigation aids, the left and right sidebars are portals to take you to helpful sites and information. We have selected 7 themes that most concern us: Environment, Energy, Economy, War and Empire, Democracy, The Media, Religion. Each of these has 4 sections of information: Actions, Blogs, Documents, Organizations.

Over the top of the site is the Ruth Group masthead. Directly under that is a Headline space. Often material there will remain for several days to make sure you see it. Below the Headline is the blog itself. From time to time the top post will be made “sticky.” Like the Headline, it may remain for a day or two, to call it to your attention. When it is “un-stuck” it will appear in the order of the date-time stamp, and so may seem to disappear as it drops down a day or two.

At the very bottom you will see, on the right side of the posts panel a red “earlier posts.” Clicking that will take you to the posts prior to the date of the bottom one. Once there you will see at the bottom, « Recent posts as well as the Earlier Posts » You can also explore earlier months by clicking on any month on the RuthGroup Archives page.

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