The more people join, the more cheerleader pictures I'll use with my posts. (Photo by Bart Young/Getty Images)
It's been a while since I've done one of these, so bear with me.
There are lots and lots and lots of you that read Bolts from the Blue on a regular basis and have never, ever commented or even joined our little community of die-hard San Diego Chargers fans. Just to give you an idea, we get about 200,000 visits to our site each month......and we have a little less than 4,000 members of the site.
This isn't rare, most communities are like this. I can't tell you how many times I've bumped into old classmates or meet new people or even talk to members of my extended family and hear them tell me that they check the site every day, only to respond "I don't have one" when I ask what their name on the site it.
There are so many reasons to join BFTB, and I'll run through a handful of them after the break, but the two most important ones are these:
- It makes visiting BFTB about 10x more fun. Seriously. Suddenly, instead of just reading and thinking things over, you're conversing and trying to back up your opinions with stats to win a debate in the comments. It turns you into an expert on the team, even if that's not what you were aiming for.
- It is totally, completely and 100% free. Your experience is made 10x better, and you don't get charged a nickel. How can you say no to that?
Basically, I've already written about most of the benefits of having an account in this post:
I don't think I need to completely go over those things again, even though each facet of SBN has been improved since that 2006 post, but I will summarize.
FanPosts: Compared to other websites, it's like starting a "New Thread" at a forum. The key difference is that instead of having to go through 30 pages of comments, all of the comments are right there on one page. A link to your write-up gets displayed on the right-side of BFTB's home page, and if it's particularly good it will get moved onto the main section of our front page so that our large audience can read your handiwork.
FanShots: Sometimes, you spot news (or a great article) relating to the Chargers before we do. FanShots is where you can post a link to that news or article, and you can write a sentence or two with your opinion as well if you want. This is not just you making our community better, it's you getting credit for spotting something before anybody else. Like FanPosts, these show up on the right side of the home page but can be moved to the main section if they good/important enough.
Comments: The Main Event. Ask anybody who has been participating at an SBN blog for more than a week why they prefer it to another blog and they'll usually answer "The commenting system is unmatched." And it is!
We do direct-replies, which is why our comment sections easily allow for conversations among commenters instead of them simply shouting their replies to a particular post.
As a member of the site, you'll be notified of any new comments to a particular post since the last time you viewed them.
We have a Recommendation or "Rec" system, where the community can recommend a particular good FanPost, FanShots or comment. The best ones get extra exposure: highly recommended FanPosts get their own section on the home page and highly recommended comments turn green. This system, which rewards users for writing good or funny posts and/or comments, is why BFTB has created such a strong and active community.
So there you have it. Lurkers, come out from hiding. Even if you just want to join so keep track of which posts have new comments, and even if you're not quite ready to join into the regular BFTB conversations just yet, there's no reason to be afraid. Sign up for your SB Nation account today, poke your head up in the comments below (feel free to ask any questions) and enhance your BFTB experience. For free!
If you have any issues with joining, or any questions in the future, don't hesitate to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.