One of the most useful pieces of functionality on any website is to be notified of updates via email. Facebook has this for wall-posts and messages; Twitter has device updates for people you follow; forums have these for replies to threads you’ve posted on. It’s a helpful way of having notification of the update pushed to the user, which is a big win, because the alternative is the user sits around refreshing the page to see if anything has happened. (That might have been a run-on sentence… I am not sure.) Users/readers/followers have lots better things to do with their time. They should really only have to come back to something they’ve visited if something has changed. This is where push notification is useful. Email is a great way of pushing updates, because it is so prevalent. RSS feeds are a form of pushing, but RSS readers aren’t adopted as widely.
Interestingly, the capability for email notification of comments following one you’ve posted is not built in to Wordpress (the blogging platform I use). There is an option to subscribe to the RSS feed for the comments, though. John Colvin pointed out this recently and I was a bit disgusted I had not noticed. Granted, I do get an email every time a new comment is posted, so I’ll say that’s the reason why I didn’t notice the lack for other people.
Today, I installed a plugin that adds this feature to my blog posts. I actually saw it a while back but when I clicked to install it, I got a notification that it hasn’t been tested with this version of Wordpress. Even so, I am hopeful that the plugin will work. When commenting, make sure to tick the checkbox and you should be notified of new comments. There should even be a page to manage your notifications. Feel free to use this post as a test-bed and make sure things work. If something doesn’t work, please let me know! You still have the option to subscribe to the comments feed.
If any of you readers have an idea for some functionality which would allow you to better use this blog, go ahead and tell me. I’m interested in making your ‘Thoughts of an Eaten Sun’ experience as enjoyable as possible!