Tutorial: How to Use Kirtsy.com

BlogHer Original Post

Kirtsy.com is the brain-child of Gabrielle Blair, Laura Mayes, Laurie Smithwick, and Gwen Bell. The idea behind Kirtsy is to be the female version of Digg.com. It’s a place where we can go to see the latest stories on what we’re interested in. Kirtsy has several categories to fit your needs:

  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Design & Crafts
  • Family & Parenting
  • Fashion & Style
  • Food & Home
  • Internet & Technology
  • Mind, Body & Spirit
  • Travel & Leisure
  • Politics, World & Business

In addition to the founding women, Kirtsy has 22 editors (editors don't actually "edit" stories, they just help find them).

This article is aimed at helping you start using Kirtsy and submitting your own stories.

Join Kirtsy--they don’t share your info.

  1. Click on Join Kirtsy! at the top of the page.
  2. Register a username, email, and password.
  3. Click on Create User.

How Do I Use Kirtsy?

OK. I’ve registered. Now what?

There are several ways to use Kirtsy to find the up-and-coming stories on the internet.

Submit an Article
Step One

  1. Login.
  2. Click on the orange Submit a New Story tab (you’ll find it in the top left corner under the Kirtsy logo).
  3. Paste the URL of the news article you’re submitting. This should be the original URL, not a URL that points to your blog which points to the original story. What’s that you say? You want to know if you can submit your own stuff from your own blog? Heck yeah, you can!

Step Two

  1. Give the story you’re submitting a catchy title. It doesn’t even have to be the title of the story. It should just be something that’s interesting and describes what the article/story is about.
  2. Type in some relevant tags for the story (e.g., shopping, final sale). You’re limited to about 40 characters.
  3. Write a short description of the story you’re submitting. What you write in the Description box (not character limited) automatically copies itself into the Summary box (limited to 250 characters). However, you can write a longer Description, then edit for a shorter Summary.

    Note: The Description can be as long or as short as you like. When people click the Discuss link under the title, they’ll be taken to the story’s page. The story’s page (not the website where the story resides) shows a link to the story and your description.

    The Summary is limited to 250 characters and is the description that will show beneath your story’s title if it makes it to the front page.

  4. Choose a category for your story. Although you have the option to submit your story to All Categories, you’ll receive an error if you do. Choose one category and go with it. (Yes, this is on the list of things to fix. Wouldn’t we all like to have more time?)
  5. Unless you understand Trackbacks, don’t worry about this. (And? People say they understand Trackbacks, but they rarely do. So don’t worry if it’s foreign to you. Again, this is one of those things that will disappear eventually when we have that 36 hour day we’ve all been talking about.)
  6. Click Preview and Submit.

Step Three

  1. Review your submission.
  2. Click Modify if you need to edit something; choose Submit if you’re ready to go.

How Do I Find What I’m Looking For?

You mean good content? Well, since Kirtsy is THE place for internet buzz, I’m betting you won’t have any trouble finding something interesting. But, if you’re like me and you’re easily distracted by shiny things, you might try one of these three options:

  • Use Kirtsy’s topic/category links to find stories related to a specific niche. (Each category is a link on the brown navigation bar immediately under the Kirtsy logo.)
  • See what’s up-and-coming in the (wait for it) Up-and-Coming tab. (It’s green and right beside the orange Submit a Story button. Look for it in the upper left corner under the Kirtsy logo.)
  • Use the search function. (Located in the upper right corner.)
    • Discuss the article: Click this option if you have something to say about the article. You’ll be taken to a page that lists the title of the article, then number of votes it has, and under that, an place to post your comment. Type your comment in the field and click Submit Comment. Easy peasy.
    • Share This: This feature is pretty common on the web these days. Clicking this option brings up a floater box that allows you to share an article via email, AIM, SMS, or MySpace. If you click the Social Web tab in the floater box, you can add the article to a myriad of other social media sites (including, but not limited to Facebook, del.icio.us, Technorati, Digg, and StumbleUpon).
    • Save This: Want to save this article for future reference? Just click the Save This link under the article.
  • I’ve Found “It” -- Now What?

    Vote It Up
    This is the cool part. You can vote for stories to help make them popular and eventually reach the front page! To vote FOR a story, you just click on the title. Your browser will open a new window and take you to the article of the title you clicked on.

    The more votes something receives (and you only get one vote per day), the higher it goes on the Most Popular page. That’s your goal: to get your story to the Most Popular page to have the most exposure to the Kirtsy audience. The Most Popular page lists, um, yeah, the most popular posts submitted. Crazy how they went with the obvious, right? I love those Kirtsy gals.

    OK, so you’re voting up your story. E-mail your buddies and let them know you’ve Kirtsied an article. (Aside: You know you’ve arrived when your name is transformed into a verb. Well done, Kirtsy girls.) Ask them to vote for your article.

    Vote It Down
    What if you don’t like the article? Easy enough. Sometimes an article just isn’t your cup of tea. Go back the Kirtsy window and click on Un-Vote under the article you originally clicked on.

    If you can tell just by the title that you’re not interested and you’d rather pave the way for some other interesting content, just click the Lose It button under that article. For instance, I refuse to read anything about Ms. Spears. So I know I’m not going to vote for those articles. I always click Lose It rather than let it slide. If enough people feel the same way and click the Lose It button, eventually the story will be knocked off the Most Popular page and something else will take its place.

    Other Options
    Whether you vote for a story by clicking on the title or ditch it by click on Lose It, you always have the options to discuss the story, use the Share This function, or save the story.

    How Does a Story Make It to the Front Page?

    To answer this, I contacted the Kirtsy women directly and Gwen Bell was gracious enough to respond with the following information.

    Posts that are sticky often include how-to, advice or tips. DIY is also extremely popular. If you want a post to be "sticky" you want a post that is a good combination of content and title. (Some social media experts claim that the title is responsible for up to 50% of its "stickiness." I would venture to say it's closer to 80% when you're looking at it from a ranking perspective.) Think about how you can help, advise or teach in a post --- those often do very well.

    Stories get to the front page when they reach a critical mass or they are moved to the Editors column by one of our 22 Editors. On the front page you'll see two columns that reflect that: Most Popular and Editor's Picks. Often, Editor's Picks do make their way over to Most Popular because our Editors are great at catching and promoting the best stories of the day on Kirtsy.

    The most popular story is not necessarily at the top. Instead, it's the story that has most recently made it to the popular section. Which then pushes the first listed story down to the number two spot.

    We have a policy that says if a story has been voted "lose it" enough times, it will be dynamically (or automagically) removed from the front page. This happens very infrequently and is done through algorithm. Stories move from the front page quickly; this keeps content super fresh daily.

    Social Media & Kirtsy

    You can follow Kirtsy on Twitter at @Kirtsy and @Kirtsy_Chicks. The editors decide what gets tweeted--usually anything that strikes their fancy (so be fancy). They also tweet about upcoming events, conferences and contests. Did I mention they have a bunch of contests at Kirtsy? Definitely worth checking out.

    Practice!

    OK! So now you know how to use Kirsty! Go forth and Kirtsy the heck out of your favorite stories! Why don't you give it a try by Kirtsy-ing this story?

    Melanie Nelson writes tips and instructions for beginning bloggers at Blogging Basics 101.

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