Saturday, 4 May 2013

This is the NEW myLot!

What is MyLot

Their front page describes the site as:

 "An enormous discussion board, blogging community, questions and answers hub, social network and online hangout all wrapped up into one neat little package we call myLot. 

Follow and join the conversations that interest you the most in the world's #1 community for dialog and sharing. 

Born in 2006 and re-imagined in 2013."

How you respond to the above may depend on whether you knew MyLot before and whether you habitually take all marketing 'hype' with a grain (or more) of salt!

'Enormous' it certainly is. There are well over 2 million topics posted but many of them are trivial, some are discussions about old news but many make very good reading. I am not sure that 'blogging community' is really an accurate description. Certainly, some of the topics posted are really no more than 'articles' and merit very little discussion or comment at all.

A Quick Tour of the MyLot Menu: 

Once you have joined and logged in, you will see a very simple, rather clinical, layout. At the moment there is no way (à la Facebook/Twitter) of changing the background and theme to suit your individual tastes. The Profile Page, which you see when you click on any username, is pretty basic and certainly allows for no individuality except for the inclusion of a website and a very short "Bio" line.

Several members have requested much more customization and it is hoped that this will be implemented eventually.

At the top is the black navigation bar with the logo "MyLot" in blue green at the centre. (The images here are from before MyLot became a paying site again in July 2015).

You will probably recognise it as being remarkably similar to Twitter, though the rest of the site doesn't bear much resemblance ...  for a start, you are allowed to post far more than 140 characters!

On the left are three 'buttons': Me, People and Explore. These are the main ways of viewing everything on the site and are fairly self-explanatory.

This is the place where you will find things to do with your own account and activity.
When you click on it, you will see a series of boxes on the left.

The topmost one shows your username and avatar and contains links to "Settings", "Help" and "Sign out". (I will deal with "Settings" in another article).

The next box contains: "Notifications", "Messages" and "Suggestions"

Notifications (which is the default view when you click on "Me") shows who has responded to, commented on, 'mentioned' you in and 'liked' any of your posts.

Messages contains a list of all the Private Messages which you have sent and received listed in date order (most recent first) of receipt and headed according to the person the conversation was with.

Suggestions will contain a list of "when other myLot users have suggested posts for you to read and participate in."

The next boxes (which may appear under a block of ads) contain the following options:

Posts shows the number of discussions you have started. Clicking on it will list them, showing the most recent first.

Responses shows the number of responses to discussions you have made. A 'response' is when you post directly to a discussion topic.

Comments shows the number of comments you have made. A 'comment' is when you post under someone else's (or your own) response in a discussion.

All shows all of your posts - posts, responses and comments in order of when they were posted (most recent first).

Mentions lists the occasions where someone has mentioned you by including "@[your username]" in a post.

Likes lists the posts to which  you have both given and received 'likes'.

Followers The number of people who are 'following' you (have asked to be notified when you post something) and a list of their activity.

Following The number of people whom you are following (any posts by these people will appear in your notifications).

Tags is a long list of all the tags you have ever added to discussions, responses and comments. Clicking on one of these tags can be helpful in finding any post which you were involved in and tagged.

This shows the 'activities' of the people you are following.

The default screen is "All" but you can select "Posts", "Responses", "Comments", "Likes", "Follows" and "Mentions" to select lists of these particular activities.

This section is probably the one which many will want to use first.

It shows all discussions posted grouped by: "Interesting", "Top Rated", "Most Recent", "Hot", "New User" and "No Responses".

"Interesting" is "populated with posts based upon the tags you've used on myLot" (thanks to a Private Message from "myLot_ContactUs" for that!). If you are a new user or have not tagged your posts, the results are likely to be unpredictable. If you do not use tags in a sensible and responsible manner, then you are probably not getting the best out of MyLot.

"Hot" is similarly difficult to define. The official description (slightly modified so that non-programmers can understand it) is that it is ordered by the number of responses a post has had (most at the top), then by the date it was created on - (with the most recent first). It probably only includes posts from the last 24 hours as well.

"Top Rated" lists those topics which have received the most "Likes" overall;

"Most Recent" lists the topics which have been posted most recently;

"New User" lists topics posted by those who have joined most recently and

"No Responses" lists topics which have not yet been responded to.

On the right hand side of the central "MyLot" logo, there is a Search facility. This allows the user to search for any word or phrases used as tags and thus find topics of potential interest to which you might want to contribute. When using this facility, the left hand menu changes to allow the same search terms to apply only Posts, Responses and Comments, either as a 'tag' search or as a 'full text' search. One may also search for people by their username or part of it.

When searching for topics, it is best to try several words or phrases relating to what you are looking for. If you were familiar with the old system and used to use the way that MyLot sorted discussions under "Interests", then typing in the name of an 'Interest' should give you much the same results.

(Create New Post)

Clicking on this brings up a pop-over window prompting you to "Post something new".

1) Choose a Title for your post.

2) "Describe what's on your mind" (it's a good idea to be as descriptive as possible - MyLot users are remarkable in many ways but they are NOT mind-readers!)

3) Enter up to 5 tags separated by commas.These should be significant words or phrases which you would expect people (or yourself) to use to find the particular topic you are posting. It has been suggested that, in future, tagging should bring up a suggested 'Category' list as well as 'free entry' tags, so that all topics in certain categories can be tagged consistently. If you feel you want to enter more tags to describe your topic, you will be able to add more relevant tags to any responses or comments it receives, once it is posted.

4) Click "Post"