Welcome, Nerdites, to a very special update for us here at SuperNerdLand!
Why? Well, it’s not just because this week marks the one year anniversary of the launch of our site. But that does have a lot to do with it!
It’s been one year since we officially launched SuperNerdLand into the wild, and it’s been an awesome year. We’ve had everything we could hope for in the past twelve months; from great new featured content by awesome contributors, to exciting site feature additions and extensive back-end growth. Our daily views have grown from 50 – 100 at the start, to 300 – 400 now, and our articles spawn conversation all across the web.
Not too shabby for a plucky group of volunteers who started a website for $1, eh?
Content and Contributors
The word of the Nerd is starting to be heard by more and more people across the tubes, and that happens to bring more people with some great insights willing to contribute when they can. As such, we’ve been able to add on fantastic regular contributors. We’ve also been proud to host the occasional guest editorial, with pieces from fine folks such as freelance writer and producer Micah Curtis and Metaleater.com contributor Justin Knight. That past year has also graced us with many fantastic interviews from well known members of games media, game developers, and even a quite illustrious voice actor.
I look back sometimes and I am just astounded. When we set out to feature content that we ourselves would enjoy, we overshot the mark! I still go back to re-read articles we have put out, and enjoy them immensely.
2016 is going to feature more of that. More of what? All if it! We are going to be hitting more game reviews, more interviews, more editorials, and more news. More everything!
January was a bit of a slower month for content generation, though. Not just because our main contributor, John Sweeney, was touring the US, and subsequently came down with convention flu from PAX South at the end of his tour. Consequently, you can look forward to some PAX South round-up coverage from him as soon as he is recovered!
Your humble EiC has been busy with his admin hat on also, and I’ve been hard at work on many site features that are all coming together very nicely!
Feature Updates and Additions
We’ll take that segue to diverge into the topic of the features we are bringing to SuperNerdLand! You might notice that the topic of new or revamped features come up often in these site updates, and that is no accident. I spend a number of hours every day when work and life allows hammering on the site framework. This site is ever evolving, and I just can’t stand leaving the functionality stagnant.
Because of this, I am always looking to introduce features that allow our content creators room to breathe and do what they do best, to better serve said content to our audience, and to move us away from being beholden to grubby handed corporations and outside Terms and Agreements.
What better time than our One Year Anniversary to introduce two of these long awaited features that I am absolutely hype for?
The first would be the revamp/re-launch of our community features! This relaunch is much better than what we had, and for a variety of reasons. We had previously launched forums and site profiles on our site, but I was not pleased with the implementation, the people tapped as moderators and promoters couldn’t do that job anymore, and because of those previous two reasons that last iteration of the community features just didn’t take off.
That’s just fine, though. Not every idea, or implementation of it, will take off. You take what you learned from those situations, and apply it to serve better things to people!
The need for revamped community features happened to converge with platforms like Twitter absolutely shitting the bed. Fed up users are switching over to platforms like GNU Social to take advantage of a more free and distributed network, and we not only wanted to help provide another node for this distributed social network, but wanted to create a space for our own audience to discuss topics and talk with SuperNerdLand staff in an easy manner.
With these two things crashing together, we decided that our next iteration of community features should be a distributed/federated social network instance. While other folks are using the very capable GNU Social to create Twitter-equse sites, we decided to go with a piece of software called Friendica. It operates a bit more like a mix between Twitter and Facebook, but it does offer interoperability with GNU Social instances, as well as offers connection options for posting on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc when configured properly.
It is still under construction and testing, but this site is now LIVE for our lovely community to come and test! Once I finalize just a couple more things, I will provide a video tour to get people acquainted to the setup. But if you are familiar with other social networks, then getting used to either GNU Social or Friendica should be a snap.
Feel free to create an account, poke around, and come tell us how much we suck!
Remember, if you already have a GNU Social account somewhere then you can already come talk to us all, and follow us! But you can create an account on our community site to take advantage of more features specific to our site. If you prefer to use the “Twitter” like experience provided by most GNU Social installs then I have no problem recommending Freezepeach.xyz, or the community site for HighlandArrow.com provided by their EiC (and our server roommate) over at community.highlandarrow.com (some of you all may even like shitposter.club)!
Self-Hosted Video Streaming
The next feature introduction is very dear to me. Self-hosted video streaming has been something in the back of my head for some months, but recent events with how accounts have been treated on YouTube pushed this from a back burner “want” into a very upfront “need.” YouTube has always been a tenuous place for smaller channels not part of an MCN, and we are starting to see more and more MCNs operating in ways that are counter to how we want to be treated as a creator and a consumer of content.
So we rolled our own streaming solution!
Well, technically it is utilizing Nimble Streamer, and getting its output integrated into the site. Nimble Streamer is a piece of software (Nimble is free, but the control panel that expands its functionality is a monthly subscription) that allows one to become their own Twitch, YouTube, or Netflix essentially. Right now we provide chat by embedding an IRC chat into the page, but we are looking into a more permanent solution to this
I’ve been banging around for the past week and a half or so to work us into a nice beta status for our live streaming features, and I dare say it is more than ready for some public testing!
We are going to be working on some scheduled game stream times to announce, so you all can come see us game and even come play with us! The Nimble Streamer control panel also allows us to easily do things like republish streams to sites like YouTube.
So that means that all future episodes of our The Weekly Grind stream will simulcast LIVE on our website and YouTube. We plan to keep up the simulcast for some time, so if you like viewing us via YouTube then you won’t have to do anything different to keep viewing our video content. As we move into the future (or if YouTube kicks us off the site) we will be looking to migrate to hosting video via our site only, but we will make sure to ease this transition as much as possible over the coming months.
The past year has been a blessing, and we are absolutely honored to have built up the audience we have so far. We look forward to another year of growing the site, building our audience to even greater heights, and helping to contribute to the ongoing discussions relevant gaming, comics, movies, TV, internet culture, and other absolutly nerdy endeavors!
Another thing I say often, but can’t express enough, is that we are literally nothing without all of you out there in NerdLand. I want to thank all of you who have been with us the past year, and I want to extend a greeting to every new person coming around these parts.
As an aside to end with, I do want to provide a kind of shout out to Leigh Alexander. She was handed the Offworld brand by the website BoingBoing last year, and it was such a resounding success that she is leaving the site and quitting games journalism for a time! Thanks for being our traffic milestone for a while, as our site hovered below, but not far from, Offworld’s traffic levels near the end there. And thanks for giving us another site that we outlasted to put up on the list.
This one is for you, Leigh.