PROFILE NOTE: Eric Odom is the community architect and lead developer behind the Grassfire Social Environment at Grassfire.com (Sister site to LibertyCube.com). You can contact/connect with Eric with any questions or comments about GF Social on his official GF social profile by clicking here.
Our new social network uses an activity feed/news wall very similar to the kind of feed/wall you might see on other social networks. The feed is in its infancy stages, to be honest, and will likely go through significant changes in the near future as we enhance the activity experience and perform upgrades throughout the network.
That said, it is functional and quite powerful in terms of getting access to activity across the social network at Grassfire.com. Most users have no issues with the way the activity stream works. There are a few, however, who have asked about the fact that there are actually two activity streams available for use across the network.
Indeed, there are two activity streams. I want to walk you through the two, why there are two and how best to use the two when interacting with the network.
The Main Activity Stream is the stream of activity you will see when you login and visit the “logged in” homepage of Grassfire.com. The below image gives you a preview of what it looks like today.
The Main Activity Stream is and always will be global. In other words, the main page of the “logged in” network provides an overview of all activity across the network. This will show you the latest news items, the latest forum posts, users who were recently active, who is actively online and the latest status updates from across the site.
Because this is designed as an overview page the status update posting feature here is a little more limited vs. what you see on your personal profile activity stream. Your profile activity stream enables you to link in YouTube videos, images and external story URL’s. The Main Activity Stream does not. You can do a basic status update from the homepage, but in order to do more detail status updates and information sharing you’ll want to use the profile activity stream.
Hopefully that explains the Main Activity Stream you see when you visit the homepage of Grassfire after logging in.
The Profile Activity Stream places all of the emphasis/focus on the activity stream itself.
Unlike the main overview page, the Profile Activity Stream enables you to sort what activity you see, who you see it from and more. Additionally, as mentioned above it also enables you to share rich media using video links, images or external links that reveal image and content previews.
We recommend using the profile activity stream when sharing items across the network. The main stream can be used for basic status updates and status update conversation.
It should be noted that as the network grows the Profile Activity Stream will cease to be global. Meaning, you won’t see ALL status updates in this stream as it will be limited to people you are actually connected with.
Now, you may be asking… why can’t the main stream just do everything the profile stream can? And that’s a fantastic question!
The answer isn’t so cut and dry, though. The short version is we don’t have armies of engineers developing the infrastructure of the site. With this being the case we have to be mindful of what resources we use and where we use them. It’s surprisingly easy for one little piece of code to break the entire site, or one section requiring so much of our resources that it bogs down the rest of the network.
By splitting the workload between the two streams we are limiting the resource drain. This may change in the future as we scale, but for now it works and doesn’t overwhelm our system.
That’s it, that’s all. See you in the activity threads!