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From the Coffeetank: The Purpose of Learning is Growth

“I have inherited a belief in community, the promise that a gathering of the spirit can both create and change culture. In the desert, change is nurtured even in stone by wind, by water, through time.” —Terry Tempest Williams

Our Community

Since launching SoulPancake in April 2009, our team has learned quite a lot. Alongside all of the natural growing pains a startup faces, we’ve dealt with tremendous growth, and a tightly hindering and rigid infrastructure. Along the way we’ve continuously done our very best to meet our community’s needs and foster a safe environment for our members. We think things have been going pretty well, but not as good as we’d like them to. Over the last few months we’ve been tirelessly working behind the scenes to change that. We are investing in the core of our community and our technology, and properly lining ourselves up for the future. After months of development, we are proud to unveil a brand new, and much improved SoulPancake.com. There are a lot of new and exciting areas to cover, and we couldn’t be happier to finally unveil the fruits of our labor.

We’ve overhauled our design and layout, added exciting new features and critical enhancements, re-rewritten our entire apps platform and restructured our core infrastructure. Everything has been upgraded, refined, and in some cases completely rewritten from the ground up. In other words, SoulPancake is officially ready for prime-time. If you’re already a member, login and take a look around, if you’re new to SoulPancake, joining takes about 12 seconds. Here are some of the core additions that we’re thrilled to finally unveil.

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Following/Friending

We have adopted the model of initial peer to peer following. This model works because it allows every member of SoulPancake to carve out and reserve an individual slice of the site. With this model, our community and wealth of knowledge grows, yet leaving our individual experiences natural and unhindered by the masses.

With our community, the interaction doesn’t stop at single-sided following. When you start following someone, your streams are updated with their activity from around SP, but when two people follow each other, a wealth of new possibilities open up around the relationship.

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Groups

Organizing your friends into groups allows you to easily share and facilitate natural communication through your content. Say for example ten of your friends share your passion for Tomatoes. With SP Groups, you can organize these friends into a group called Tomatoes, and next time you contribute something about tomatoes, easily share it with that group.

Fundamentally, groups initiate the process of organizing people you find interesting around SP. We felt it as important to role out people organization with Groups, as we did the model of friending and following. Instead of doing friending first, and Groups later on, we’ve released the functionality at the same time. This way, our community can deeply organize itself and provide a great base from which to discover new people in the near future. This is just the beginning of Groups… We’ve got big plans here.

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Real-Time Streams

Because of our focused infrastructure efforts, we’re able to deliver real-time streams to the community. This means that data and information exchanges between members involve nearly zero lag time between occurrences. When someone you follow does something, your stream will be updated nearly instantly. Alongside the value this adds to our community, the ability to filter your streams and distill the experience down as far as you want, sheds a whole new light on the content that our community creates. As relationships grow and content matures, so will the conversation and interaction around it. We’re particularly excited about our new real-time discussion engine. Get involved in some discussions and take it for a spin.

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Question Collective

The SoulPancake Question Collective is an amazing place to discover new submissions and get involved in some great discussions. We’re rolling out some wonderful enhancements and upgrades to the entire process. First and foremost, you can now edit your questions for up to thirty minutes after they have been submitted. You can attach Vimeo and YouTube videos, upload images from your computer (or simply enter an image’s URL), geotag your location, and input some source links.

We’ve also made it incredibly easy to share individual submissions with two-your friends inside the SP community. Additionally, we’ve now made attachments completely optional with each question. You can now simply ask the community a question (no image or attachments needed), and keep your followers intrigued and entertained with less requirements.

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Community Notifications

You’ll notice a revamped Settings area for SoulPancake. Alongside your account information and privacy settings, you’ll now find some very handy Community Notifications. These are email notifications that you can easily set and personalize to keep you up to date with everything that happens around the community.

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We truly hope you enjoy the new SoulPancake.com. We built it for you.

[Baby Pancakes from Flickr]