Why Is It So Hard?
It’s been brought to my attention that the system which allows people to request and receive notifications when someone updates an entry is a little difficult to navigate.
To be fair, it is somewhat challenging. Part of the reason it’s so challenging is because I’ve tried to give people the ability to explicitly control who gets a notification if they decide to use that facility. This is because someone could request to be notified when you update, but you don’t actually want to tell them. The reason’s for that are a little bit beyond the scope of this post but they date back to the days when DearDiary.Net housed a number of different diarists who didn’t actually like each other! The bickering days.
Requesting To Be Notified When A Diary Is Updated
Anyway – let’s start the process by providing the information that most people are going to be interested in. You have found a diary you like. You want to be notified when that diary is updated.
Add Friend Widget
If the diarist that you want to follow has added the ‘Add As Friend’ widget to their diary, this is relatively easy. Just click the link to add that diary as a friend and they’ll be automatically added to your friends list. The image to the right shows an example from one of our diarists (Yetzirah) who has added the ‘Add Me’ widget to her diary.
However, it’s possible, indeed even quite likely that the diarist doesn’t have such convenience for you. It’s their choice how they customize their diary after all. But you’d still like to be able to be notified when they add an entry. Is there a way to do it?
Use Web Browser Address Bar
If you can’t see an ‘Add Me’ type of widget, you can look at the very top of your web browser for the address bar. The image to the left highlights where it is and what it is you’re looking for. Click on the image to enlarge it if you need to.
The pertinent piece of information is the bit at the end – in the image to the left you’ll see the web address ends with /yetzirah/
This is because the diary ID in this case is yetzirah. Note down (or remember) this – you’ll need it in the next screen.
So, we’ve decided that the diary ID is yetzirah – how do we use that information?
Navigate To The Notifications / Friends Menu
The Notifications / Friends menu is on the left hand side of your screen, underneath DearDiary Options. You may need to click the DearDiary Options text in order to see it. Then click the Notifications / Friends menu item to see the main Notifications screen.
Once you’re on that screen you’ll see a list of all the diaries you’ve already subscribed to along with various information. If you’ve not visited this screen before – and if you’re reading this you probably haven’t, then it will all be empty.
The key piece of this screen is the box which will say Type Diary ID here. Do you remember the diary ID you found from the address bar in the previous step? In our example it was Yetzirah. Type Yetzirah in that box and press the Search button to the right. While you’re typing the system will show suggestions it thinks may be relevant to your search. If you see the name you want you can click that name with your mouse to narrow the search.
When you have entered enough text to narrow your search sufficiently, press the Search button and you’ll be taken to the screen below;
You can see that the system will potentially return multiple diaries for you to choose. This means you don’t have to get the search term exactly right – it will give you some lee-way. Choose the diary that you want to be notified for and take the tick out of the boxes next to any others. Then click Submit.
Once you have submitted the choice you should see a screen that looks like the one below;
The diary that you have just chosen should show up in the list.
If you later change your mind and don’t want to be notified of any updates to the diary then you can simply remove the tick from the box next to the diary name under the Request Diary Notification column.
You’ll notice next to that column is the column marked They Notify You. Diarists have the ultimate control here – if they choose not to let you be notified then you’ll not get any. Most diaries will default to automatically notifying any subscribers – the diarist has to explicitly set the option to manually decide. If you have requested a notification and the column says ‘No’ then you’ll need to contact the diary owner and ask why.
The final column isn’t going to be discussed here at this point as it relates to reading Friends Only entries. We’ll go into that in a future HowTo post.
Where Do The Notifications Go?
In order to receive a notification that a diary has been updated you will need to be a DearDiary.Net user yourself. You do NOT have to have your own diary however. When you sign up to DearDiary.Net you can choose to simply create a username. If you don’t have a DearDiary.Net account yet you can create one by clicking here.
When you sign up for a DearDiary.Net account you’ll provide an e-mail address. It is to this e-mail address that notifications will be sent. You can view the e-mail address in your user account by choosing the Users -> Your Profile menu option from the right hand side. The picture to the right shows you what this looks like.
Once in that screen, scroll down until you find the box for your e-mail address. That’s where you notifications will go.
What If The Notifications Don’t Arrive?
There’s a couple of reasons why this might happen. The most usual is that the messages for some reason are going into your Spam / Junk folder. Check there. If possible, add firstname.lastname@example.org to your E-Mail whitelist. Exactly how to do that differs with each e-mail provider so I can’t tell you how to do it unfortunately. A quick Google search for ‘e-mail whitelist for xyz’ where xyz is your e-mail provider should help.
The other common reason is that you’ve simply got the wrong e-mail address entered in your profile. Check using the instructions above.