We are also looking for experienced peer moderators and who knows? If you have another skill PLUS enthusiasm, we can find a way to use your talents!
Thanks for joining Widowed Village! In WidvilleWelcomeOne and Two, we shared tips on using our our loving supportive online community a little better. We walked you through functions like starting a discussion, using the Chat room, making friends, sharing your location on our visual MAP OF THE WORLD, and best of all, signing up for a Daily Digest so you get ONLY the emails you care about.
In this issue, I'll go into all the details of customizing your privacy settings exactly as you wish, show you how to install Widville on your phone (if you like), tell you a little bit about volunteer opportunities, and introduce you to Michele Neff Hernandez, founder and director of Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation.
1. Are you SURE you understand your privacy settings here? Widowed Village is a public site — enabling us to share with the entire world — but it's designed to also be as secure as you want it to be. How? Mostly by using a pseudonym (fake name) here. But you can also protect your images and other content in some special ways. Read the entire (NEW) page devoted to customizing your privacy options HERE.
2. Take Widowed Village with you on your smart phone. And no, you don't even need an app for that! (This works on ALL web-enabled phones).
- Point your phone's browser to Widowed Village.org (the URL for mobile phones is http://widowedvillage.org/m).
- Log in (the system MAY ask you to repeat your birth date and a "captcha"). This will put a "cookie" on your device that identifies you and includes your sign-in information.
- Then, create a bookmark or item (does anyone else call them "chiclets?" Just me? Oh well!) for your phone's display (like an app icon) so that you can call it up in one step.
3. Interested in playing a larger role? Widowed Village is run by volunteers: people like you. We would love some more of you to join our Volunteers group and serve as greeters. Greeting is fun and easy, it can take as much or as little time as you wish, and it's a terrific way to meet new people (even if you're shy). We offer you guidelines and support, but there are no rules, and you DON'T have to do "technical support" (just point people in the right direction for that).
Questions? Let me hear them!
4. Meet Michele Neff Hernandez, Director of Soaring Spirits
The word that comes to mind when you meet Michele is "inspiring." In 2005, her husband, Phillip, was hit and killed while he was riding his bicycle. Her life and that of their blended family (she and Phillip had children from previous marriages) was turned upside down. All of you know of the confusion and strain of living daily life while caring for your grieving heart. Michele found some support from her faith, family, and running, but within a few months she found that connections with other widows gave her something even more important: a path to hope.
Michele turned her incredible energy and vision to activism: she founded the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation, a secular, non-profit organization that connects widowed people for mutual support. SSLF's Widow Match (like a penpal program) connects widowed people with others like them for friendship. Michele began Widow's Voice as a personal blog, and with the addition of a team of widowed writers, now reaches more than 350,000 readers a year. in 2010, SSLF reached out to the LGBT community with the blog, making SSLF the first national program to support lesbian and gay widowed people. In 2009, Michele started the conference that would turn into Camp Widow: a supportive and informative weekend for widowed people of all ages, fulfilling her dream of creating a nationally recognized event that is ALL about hope and healing for the widowed community.
“Widowed Village is a perfect reflection of the kind of community connections that Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation creates, and fosters. Supa built a unique resource for widowed people around the world, and we are thrilled to make Widowed Village a program of SSLF. I LOVE this program, because everyone has a place and a voice.”
In addition to being the Founder and Executive Director of SSLF, Michele speaks to groups of all kinds about the power of community; writes a bit in her spare time; loves outdoor activities, as well as a good book; and happily resides with her family in Simi Valley, California.
How are you liking our Village? Are you finding things okay? Please let me hear your feedback any time, or click in the "Need a little help?" box in the right hand column on any page to send our volunteers your question.
This newsletter — the last in our WidvilleWelcome series — will show you how to share a bit more through blogging, if you are interested; and it contains important NEW guidelines for those who are already blogging or who have their own brands or businesses.
1. Think you might like to start a blog? Blogging is a terrific way to share a bit more about your experiences, ideas, and outlook AND host a different type of conversation through “comments.” You needn’t be an expert in any topic; many think of their blogs as personal journals, created for a semi-public audience.
You can also use a blog to share recipes, review or comment on books you’ve read, or share articles and other content. Format your post using the editing tools, embed links, include images, and share videos from YouTube and other sites. Connect your posts with others on the site by “tagging” your content. Tell your Widowed Village friends when you have posted, share the link to your blog with select "outside" friends (if your blog is set to "public"), and don't forget to leave comments for others, too.
Curious? Read blogs by some people you’ve “met” here, or make new friends by reading what’s new, OR launch your own blog now!
2. Already caught the blogging bug? You may find that repeating (or “mirroring”) an "outside" blog here gives you a second stream of comments and an additional group of friends. I’d also like to include you in the Widowed Village GIANT BLOGROLL, which lists more than 200 bloggers, in order by their year of loss. Please fill out this form to get on the list (and be patient… I have a backlog!). And if you haven’t seen this extraordinary compendium of inspiration … check the list out today!
Please DON’T create a blog post that consists SOLELY of a URL off of the site. Note: because I have only published this guideline today, I’m NOT ASKING YOU to go back and change your previous posts. But please include complete content from here on out.
3. Does your "work" or vocation affect your sharing? Please read this!
Are you a small business owner, either with a blog or through another brand, service, or product? Have you written a book or created content you’d like to share? Are you a coach or expert of some type? We welcome you to participate in Widowed Village in a social way. Please note, members may not engage in direct marketing on this site. But what does that mean?
Here are some guidelines that may help folks with brands use the site well:
Our members trust us to keep this community safe and comfortable. If you are not sure whether a post is appropriate, please contact me before you post.
P.S. Questions? Comments? You can reach me or another volunteer by sending a message through my profile page, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by clicking in the “need a little help?” box in the right hand column on any page.
Please DO create a profile page with links to your personal websites or other materials. Use your profile page as a “business card” when connecting with people on the site. Please DON’T repeat the information or re-post URLs over and over again.
- Please DO repeat or “mirror” your blog posts on our site (as long as they do not refer solely to a product or service). Please DON’T create a blog post that consists SOLELY of a URL.
- You MAY, in chat, discussions, and other areas, refer to your product or service in passing. Please DON’T engage in direct selling, quote prices, or repeat marketing information. Please DON’T talk ONLY about yourself or your work.
- You MAY mention your book, article or blog post as part of a conversation. Please DON’T use your own content, product, or service to initiate a discussion.