Orbius entered preview mode back in March.  Since then we’ve been adding new features and tweaking our User Interface. Admittedly, we started off with some great features but some of them needed a facelift. This current release is really nice and things on the site look great.  We’ll keep working on that too.  Our strategy, and a sound business plan in my opinion, is to start simple.  Now that we have a great feature set, we need to improve upon it a bit and we’ll do that based on user feedback.  So if you have any suggestions, contact me or use the Orbius Support Orb.

Of course, if you have no idea what Orbius is, check out this post or just click here and go right to Orbius.  We no longer have the preview gate up, which means that anyone can use Orbius! 

We’re always working on tweaks and new features for Orbius, don’t be surprised if every few weeks you see changes on the site.  I’ll try to blog about then too.  This week’s release has so many enhancements, I can’t even remember them all.  But here’s some highlights:

Content Rating:  Now content rating is enabled on blog posts, discussion forums, calendars, images and other content.  Community members can rate whatever they like on a 5 star scale.  Then everyone can see the ratings and sort by them too.

image image

Also, the Orb admin can customize the theme and choose a different ratings style:


Featured Content:  As an Orb administrator, if you want to highlight some content in a community, you can mark it as “Featured”.  When you do this, it will appear in a Featured Content widget is added.  This is a great way to make sure that your members see the content that you feel is really important.

In this example, I featured a Forum Post titled “Tons of new features in Orbius”.  It shows up in the Featured Content widget, along with Calendar Event that was also featured.

FeaturedContent image

New Menus:  Now Orbius has enhanced menus so you can easily nest items.  Plus you can add a hyperlink right to your menu and point to an Orbius page or even an external site.

And you can move menu items around.  In this example, I created a menu item for “Blogs” and moved two blogs underneath it.

image nested menu

Popup menus for Orbs, Profiles and Personas:  When you see a thumbnail image (that’s the picture that represents an Orb or a Persona) on a page, hover the mouse over it to get a popup menu with actions that you can take.  This also works for links too so most places where you see a link to a Profile (a user in Orbius) or a Persona (a user in an Orb), you can see the menus.  Just like this:

Here is what I see when I hover over the Orb thumbnail.  The popu has links to join or visit the community.

Orb popup      

And I get a different option on the popup when I hover over the link to Elise. 

Persona popup

 Enhanced features for embedding Video:  Want to include a video in your Orb?  Just create a textblock.  When you edit the textblock, click on videobutton and you will be guided to insert the video.  You can choose a variety of video providers.

Choose a provider, search for your video (or put in a specific url) and you’ll have embedded video in your Orb in no time at all!

VideoProviders youtubesearch SkiingVideo


There are lots of other new and existing features on Orbius.  Too many to mention here.  The only way to find them out is to click over to Orbius and try it out.  It’s free and it’s a great place to host your community.  Please contact me if you have any questions.

Technorati Tags: ,,

OrbiusLogoWithNameI’ve been working at Orbius since Oct. 1 helping the team to develop a new social media platform.  If you follow any of the news stories lately in the social networking arena, you’ve seen several problems being talked about.  The first is that there are lots of governance problems with the current state of social networking.  You’ve heard a lot of stories about people’s photos and information being seen by the "wrong" people. For example, my wife works for a school district and a few months ago the superintendent asked all of the teachers to remove their profiles from several popular sites because the kids in the schools were looking at pictures of the teachers at parties, etc.  That’s just one example.  The other issue that seems popular these days is that brand marketers are trying to figure out how to get into he social game.  There are lots of individuals using these social networking sites but companies can’t figure out how to make it work for them.  It’s because of issues like that that Orbius was created.

Here are a few reasons why Orbius stands out:

  • Orbius is different from other players in the market because it is specifically designed to support not just individuals but groups – companies, brand marketers, clubs, and organizations.  We call these community sites Orbs.   It’s really easy to create an Orb, apply themes, configure security and start communicating with groups of people.
  • Orbius is designed to support multiple Profiles.  For instance, I have a public profile that everyone can see.  I also have a Family Profile, a Friends Profile,  and a Professional profile.  I can decide who get’s to see any of my personal information.  For instance, in my Professional Profile I have my resume, links to technology sites and blogs that I like, etc.  In my Family profile I can keep family photos and a calendar that keeps track of where we’ll be for different holidays, etc.  In my Friends profile I share pictures with Friends and I have a comment wall so we can joke around.  But these Profiles would be useless if I couldn’t control who had access to each of them.  With Orbius it is really easy to organize my connections into various groups and then allow them access to whichever profiles I want!
  • Orbius offers a unique way to join communities and "hide" your identity through Personas.  While this may not be useful in all situations, in many communities members share sensitive information about themselves (medical information for example).  In these Orbs, members can safely discuss important issues because the other community members will never know their real identity.
  • Orbius provides a simple dashboard view of changes and updates to all of the communities you belong to.  In addition, all messages among Orbius users come through a central inbox, even if the communication is from different Orbs.
  • By the way, Orbius is free to use.  Anyone can set up Orbs and/or Profiles.  However, companies who wish to take advantage of extra features including advanced themes, removal of advertising, custom applications and more can do so with a Premium, Corporate, or Enterprise Level Edition of Orbius.

Here is a list of some of the features we support.  Most of these can be added to Orbs or Profiles!

  • Blogging
  • Image Gallery
  • Calendar with Events and RSVP
  • Comment Wall
  • Polls
  • Discussion Forum
  • Content Library
  • Ask an Expert
  • Fan Club
  • RSS Feeds
  • and much more!

There’s a whole lot more to it than this, but I thought this would give you an idea of what we are up to.  Want to take a sneak peak at Orbius?  Send me an email and I’ll add you to our Preview List (unless we fill up to quick).

I’ll be posting more information about Orbius soon.  Meanwhile, here are a few screen shots from Orbius (click to enlarge them):

  • Here is my Public Profile.  Note that since no one is logged in, only my Public Profile is seen.  You can see that in my Public Profile I have a Home Page, Connections, Pictures, Blog and more.

my pofile - logged out

  • Here are my Additional Profiles.  This time my wife is logged in.  You can see I’ve given her permission to see all 4 of my Profiles.  Also, you can see my photo gallery and calendar in my Family Profile.

my pofile - logged in as family - gallery

  • The last thing I’ll show today is a screen shot of an Orb.  This is the start of what will be the Philly.Net Orb.  You can see that within this community we have a Calendar (named Meetings and Events) a Members list, a Discussion Forum, Document Library, Newsletter, and other pages.  I’ll go into more detail on those features soon.