How to Use the Site

Instructions to help you understand the community features and help you get the most out of it.  


STEP 1 – Update your Profile

Login CredentialsLinkedIn
  1. Click on “My Profile” in the main navigation area located in the tan horizontal bar at the top of the page.
  2. Upload a picture. Click on the little gear icon just above the photo area and select ‘Change Picture’. Browse your computer for a photo of yourself (preferably) and press ‘upload’.
  3. Click on the “Edit GSA Member Record or Update Password” just below the address information. You will be taken to the ‘Edit Your Account’ form.  NOTE: Any changes to this form will directly update your member record in our database at GSA HQ.  Update your account information as appropriate.  This is also where you may change your log-in name and password to something that is secure but easy to remember. For added security you may wish to enter unique questions/answers.
    When done, scroll to bottom and press “Save My Profile”.
  4. Back on the ‘My Profile’ page, you can enter information about yourself (optional but highly recommended).  You can choose who sees this information in your privacy settings which we’ll address in Step 2. LinkedIn users can import data to populate their GSA profile quickly and easily.

STEP 2 – Subscriptions, Notifications, and Privacy Settings

Go to ‘My Profile > Settings’.

  1. Subscriptions – The main Settings page is for subscriptions where you can define how you’d like to be notified of community activity.
    While everyone is automatically part of the Open Forum community, you must subscribe to receive notifications. We recommend the Daily Digest option for most communities including the Open Forum. However, if you are a committee member or are using the Roommates & Rides forum, it would be wise to select Real Time so you are notified about each new post. The Legacy option acts much like a list serve and is text-only format. You can select No Emails if you want to be a community member but not receive notifications. Unsubscribe will remove you from the group (unless that group is defined by the member database at GSA HQ; i.e. – committees, Sections, and Divisions).  
    My Subscriptions
    If you wish to receive notifications at a different email address without altering your member record, you may change that here.
    If you post to a discussion group that you are not already a member of, you will be automatically subscribed to that group.  At that time, you will be prompted to select your preferred notification delivery method.
  2. Privacy Settings - Select "Privacy" from the pull-down menu.
    Leave the radio button set to "Yes." Otherwise you will be invisible in the Community and the Directory.  You can check what information is visible and to whom on all aspects of your profile setting it to whatever you are most comfortable with.  GSA set the default settings to balance privacy while encouraging networking among members.  It is conservatively set according to what you might see on a conference badge (photo, name, affiliation, and city/state). 
  3. Notifications - If you choose to not display your email address on your profile page, the system can still send you notifications about community activity or contact requests according to the preferences you set when selecting "Email" from the drop-down menu on the Settings page.  We urge you to use the recommended settings in order to get the most out of the Connected Community. 

STEP 3 – Communities

GSA has more than 26,000 members comprising many communities. Therefore, there are several view options to help you navigate the communities.

Communities Menu
  1. When you click on ‘Communities’ in the main navigation or in the welcome box in the banner area, you will get a list of Communities that you are already part of (you get the same list when selecting ‘My Communities’ from the submenu). This will include your Section affiliation, Divisions you have joined, committees on which you serve, and the Open Forum where everyone is a member.
  2. If you hover over ‘Communities’ in the main navigation you see the other choices.
    1. All Communities’ will show you a list of EVERYTHING whether or not you can join.  For example, many committees are private (you can see who the members are but you cannot participate or view the discussions and documents).
    2. Join Communities’ will show you a list of communites that you are not necessarily part of but that you are allowed to join.
    3. The ‘Open Forum’ is where GSA members and visitors will actively participate in discussions, share files.
    4. Viewing options:
      means you are already a member;
      means that you can view but not join (membership is determined by GSA).
      No icon at left usually means you can join that group (if there is a big green ‘Join’ button at far right).
      You can filter the list further by using the two secondary drop-down menus at the top of the page as well as the search function.
      Communities Filter Communities Filter 2

      Communities Search
  1. Community Participation
    This is the heart of the site.  The landing page of a community shows recent activity and announcements. You can see who is part of that community by clicking on the ‘Members’ sub-tab.  All communities have a discussion group and a library.
    1. To Start or Join a Discussion, go to the Discussions tab in the main navigation. You can either reply to a topic already there or start a new one.  To start a new one, click on the “Post New Message” button on the right. If it’s your first time, you’ll be asked how you want to be notified (or not) of new posts.  We recommend that you choose the “Daily Digest” option.
    2. To use the document library, click on the “Library” sub-tab in the community navigation. The directory tree is much the same as a Windows machine. You can also click on “Switch to List View” to browse through recently posted documents with descriptions. This option gives you yet another set of tabs that sorts the document according to their type (photos, documents, most viewed, etc.). To upload library documents, post a new message in the discussion tab and attach a file to your post. This will alert group members that a document has been added. You can also upload files to a library directly, but in that case no notification is sent.
    3. You’ll note that some communities have a button that says ‘Visit Website’.  These are most commonly GSA Divisions. While still part of the GSA Connected Community (with discussions, libraries, etc.), they are more of a distinct site allowing the Division leadership to easily maintain their own pages.
    4. The Connected Community has three levels of participation.
      1. Public – We want the world to know about our community so we allow the public to browse certain pages. Note that the public cannot view the directory or participate in the community features.
      2. Authenticated – Anyone can log in and create a profile. We encourage participation from non-members, but their participation is limited.  Non-members can view profiles of GSA members (limited to the member’s privacy preferences) but cannot contact them directly. That may only happen through discussion posts.
      3. Members Only – GSA members have full rights to to the community according to their membership details. The Directory is for members only. Members can search for other GSA members as well as authenticated non-members. The public and authenticated non-members cannot use the directory to search for GSA members.
        GSA members can create their own communities that can be open to anyone in the Connected Community or to a more select group. A geology club, for example, might be open to authenticated users whether they’re GSA members or not. On the other hand, one might want to create an invitation-only community for completely private collaboration on a research project. If you'd like to create a community, please contact us and we will be happy to assist.

We hope you enjoy this fabulous member benefit.
Watch the Open Forum for announcements about upcoming webinars to learn even more.