Since Topix is becoming the go-to place for local voice, a few weeks ago, Chris dragged himself to a radio studio at the crack of dawn to do a series of 15 or so live radio interviews in towns all over the U.S. The overall topic was how to effectively participate in online conversations. Here’s a clip from WAMV-Radio in Roanoke, Virginia, where Chris and the host Robert K. Langstaff talk about how to handle trolls, local Roanoke discussions on Topix, and some of the first-person reports during the late-October fires in Southern California.
3. highlighting categories on search results pages
4. wiki-style inline links to related categories
5. guiding users into our comprehensive but unwieldy directory
But none of these ever really seemed to work well.
Behold... "Spotlight Search"
Now appearing in the upper-left of every Topix page, you'll find a conventional looking search box that does the unthinkable: It actually helps you find categories of news.
Yes, we know it's crazy talk, but just give it a whirl and you'll see. The type-ahead functionality draws from a list of categories (as opposed to the "frequent searches" you'll find on other sites) and the breadth of exposure is pretty dramatic.
Start typing, and in as few as 3 characters you'll start getting deep-links to a lot of great edited & robo-blogged pages. Want to run a regular keyword search? Click the "Search" button and you'll be taken to the good-ol' index of most-recent results.
Hats off to "Skate-Rat" and "The Mage (+25)" for dreaming this impossible dream.