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This is a discussion on Reflections on the Past year - 2007 within the Using the Boards forums, part of the Managing the OrchidTalk Experience category; Hi Folks! I sent this in an email, but wanted to share it here also. ...
I sent this in an email, but wanted to share it here also. In the email, I did not include all of the links since the message was long. Here, the links are included. So, if you did not get it in your email, you can read it here. Message is below:
As the current year comes to a close, it is customary to sit back, slow down, and think about all of your blessings. Now that classes are over for the semester, that is what I have been doing -- reflecting on the past year here in the OrchidTalk Orchid Forum.
Here are some of the things I am thankful for this year:
First, we have seen the largest growth in our orchid community since its inception almost five years ago. I remember fondly the day I announced that we had 1000 members. LOL. That seems so long ago, but it wasn't (9-12-2006 single post). This year we have seen the forum memberships increase over 1000+ people.
This past March our forum celebrated the official publication of our book, ORCHIDS THROUGH OUR EYES. This publication featured several members of our community from all over the planet. I cannot tell you what an accomplishment this has been. I never thought it would be such an undertaking. Well, sixteen months later we got to celebrate! Book sales have been steady since our official appearances on Amazon and B&N. The holidays have shown an increase in sales and I thank each and every one of you who have purchased our book to share with your friends and family.
A little behind the scenes information: OrchidTalk has become a popular stop for people looking to learn about their orchids. We now get well over 200,000 page views every month from all over the world. I will never forget the day I was checking the links and found our pages translated in Google into Italian, Chinese, and German languages. That really surprised me!
OrchidTalk has always been on a dedicated server, but this year as visits increased and software became more intensive on the server, we upgraded our server - adding twice the normal bandwidth and an extra hard-drive. THIS WAS NOT ENOUGH! So, we moved to another dedicated server in Texas. The newest server is a 64 bit Intel quad-core machine with dual hard drives and 4x the memory and twice the speed of our old server. Our new server is serving information at 100 megabits a second. The old server port speed was only 10 megabits per second. This is a ten fold increase in port speed of information being sent out of our server. Members of our community accessing the forums on broadband, cable modem, or DSL (80+ % of our members) saw a definite increase all across the forum especially during times when the forum is busy. This was also due to the increase in server memory.
In April, we started an Orchid Article library. This was a very interesting process for me personally. I learned so much more about software compatibility issues ... long story, LOL! The end result though is a fully functional library system that will keep information easily organized and accessible to members of our community and visitors / guests from all over the internet.
If you frequent OrchidTalk on a regular basis, you probably have taken advantage of the OrchidTalk TAGS system. This is a search function that allows members and moderators to 'tag' threads on the forum with key words that allow members to search for and find information related directly to the topic they need help with. There are literally hundreds of tags in the system. The 'Tag Cloud' is a neat feature that lets us all know the most frequently searched phrases and words in the 'tag' system. The larger and more bold the word appears in the cloud, the more often that word is used and searched for in the forum.
A feature I really enjoy is the OrchidTalk Toolbar for Fire Fox. I programmed this toolbar to help members quickly jump from one part of the forum to another without having to search for links or scroll to the top or bottom of the page. This feature has changed the way I surf the board. It makes navigation so easy by giving quick links to every area of the forum. If you use Fire Fox, you should try the OrchidTalk toolbar!
This year we added the OrchidTalk Radio stations. Members can now listen to radio broadcasts from all over the planet in many different languages while they surf the forum. Everything from news shows to themed selections. My favorite channel is the 80's channel. (My students would get a kick out of that!)
The OrchidTalk Orchid Genus listing has been completely transformed this year. We went from a one page listing to 20 pages of alphabetical listings of orchids of the world. The listing gives the plants genus, its abbreviation, and the formula (cross) that makes up the genus. This part of the forum sees heavy traffic from our members.
The OrchidTalk Game room has been updated with several ‘member’s only’ games and the Daily Horoscope feature got a complete facelift – removing the pop-up window. Now the page refreshes the content directly on the page you are viewing. Simple is better!
In November we created the OrchidTalk Subscriptions page where members who wish to help support the forum financially can subscribe to the forum. Here members can select to make a one time contribution, or set up a re-occurring contribution. For as little as five dollars a month, members who have subscriptions get access to advanced features and help us pay to keep to keep OrchidTalk on-line and free for anyone with internet access and an interest in orchids.
A final addition I would like to remember in this end of the year note is the OrchidTalk Help Videos. Currently there are two videos to help new members figure out ‘how the heck’ to use the forum. Our community is so diverse, these videos help show members who are not forum savy how to get started posting like a pro!
Shew! That was a big lot of things to be thankful for this year. But the one thing that I am most thankful for is my online friends here in our community. You folks make OrchidTalk what it is. Louis and I work on the features and programming, but you bring the heart and soul to our community. I appreciate and am thankful for your membership and participation. You are my orchid family!
In closing I would like to send you, your family, friends, and loved ones all of our best wishes for this holiday season and the upcoming New Year. May your orchids bloom like never before, may your homes be filled with color and love, and may you share your photos and stories with all of your friends here in our orchid community.
Have an excellent new year and we hope to see you soon in the forum!
Bruce Brown ... aka BD
RVO - OrchidTalk Orchid Forums
Thanks Bruce for all your hard work! May you have a very Happy and Prosperous New Year Judi
BD and Louis,
You guys are the best! And this forum is the best. - - and you still owe me a visit in California!!!
Thanks a million! I haven't been out front here much these past couple of years but I hide inside the works, tinkering a lot of the time. (Gin calls me Casper....)
I imagine we'll be able to visit once I'm done with the master's though--you can bet we're planning on it!
Louis! What a treat to hear from you! What's this "swollen member" stuff? Oh--you must mean swollen with all the book learnin' from your Master's program! LOL Happy New Year!
You Guys do such a great job!!!! Thanks for all you do to make OT such a great place to hang out.
Thanks a lot, Cin! We actually have a lot of fun working on stuff here.
Lynda, yeah; that's it! LOL Brain-Bloated!Originally Posted by Mehera
You both have an awesome new year too!
<dives back out before he gets into any more trouble>
Great to see you around, Louis! And cheers to both you and Bruce for such a successful forum in '07!
2008 will only be better!
Yippeeee for this forum!!!
thank you Bruce and Louis and everybody else on this forum, from the McChatty to the lurkers... every single one contribute to the popularity of the site!
Thanks to all who have posted all those beautiful pictures, for the informative threads, for the crazy funny stuff and for those who said hello!
So, in 2008, let's make this an even more fun place to be at... Orchidtalk # 1!
Thanks for all the kind replies. Here is to all of us!