Through thick or thin, I am consumed by my beloved Hurricanes. It's the reason we're all here, really. I spent years reading the State of the U before I became a member. As a reader, there were often comments below the articles I felt the need to discuss. I'd hit reply and be dealt a message saying: "You must be a member."
After reading those fatal words, I would scurry away feeling as if the request required far too much time and effort and, hell, I waste enough time on the internet already.
I was wrong.
No, it's true. I spend too much time on the internet. I meant I was wrong about the other thing: the perceived difficulty of joining the State of the U. I was just as wrong about becoming a SOTU member as I was here when I thought the Hurricanes' defense had finally turned a corner following their thrashing of the North Carolina Tar Heels.
You don't have to live that way. There's still hope for you. I, however, am far gone. You don't propose a statement like that and not sad Charlie Brown walk through life.
Despite all that, I joined the State of the U. Writing FanPosts and frequenting the comments section became a passion which led to where I am today as a site contributor. There are many satisfying aspects to joining our community and as I eliminate confusion about becoming a member of the State of the U, I'll rid several misconceptions that you may hold.
You must pay to be a member.
False. Always has been and will forever continue to be free. For the fans, by the fans. We're pissed off for greatness.
I don't want spam emails.
Who does? State of the U and SB Nation does not spam. Unless you've said something vulgar or penned a stellar FanPost that we'd like to share on the site, we're content with leaving you be.
If I join, I must take part in things, and I really don't feel like arguing defensive scheme every day.
You choose where and when you interact and who and how you reply to in the comments section. No amount of inactivity bars you from the site.
Now on to greener pastures, the perks of being a member at State of the U.
You're welcome to share your views.
Whether that be as a comment, a FanShot, hell, even a FanPost on how Art Kehoe's choice of headwear correlates to his coaching efficiency, the option is yours.
FanPosts are a great way for generating conversation. Do you hold a varying opinion on what's happening in Coral Gables? Feel that there's a point State of the U has overlooked that's worth sharing? Perhaps player breakdowns, assessing strategy or recruiting is your game? These are all opportunities to write a FanPost. Sure, guidelines must be followed, but as long as it's not obscene material and contributes to healthy discussion, go for it.
For myself, writing FanPosts is what garnered attention from the writers at SOTU. Over the course of my time here, I've seen several FanPosts earn front page status. That could be you!
A FanShot is an opportunity to share content you feel is pertinent to the State of the U community. That entails things such as: articles, links, tweets, videos, vines, and instagrams. As long as a link is available, and the information is relevant, you can ply your trade here. FanShots are not article platforms. Fanshots are used for everything from sharing Duke Johnson highlights to linking entertaining articles from other sites to posting tailgating galleries.
Commenting is fun. Tell a joke, share insights, debate strategy and so forth. Participating in the comments section can help forge friendships and strengthen the State of the U community.
See the green star at the bottom of articles or "rec" listed below a comment? That's your opportunity to recommend something you agree with or that's too hilarious to ignore. It's essentially our "Like" tool from Facebook. Seeing you've had something recommended is rewarding. Recs are earned, not given.
You craft your own SB Nation handle and are given an account profile. This is where you can view your comments, recs, votes and postings. Also, your SB Nation profile is a place to share your other fandoms. Which leads us to our next point.
Joining State of the U and SB Nation today opens the door to 309 other blogs that may house your other fandoms. For example, the Hurricanes may be your unrivaled favorite sports team, but say for the NFL the Dolphins are your passion. Once you've joined SOTU, you're a mere click away from joining SB Nation's The Phinsider for all things Miami Dolphins.
But what if my interests are in sports other than football? SB Nation has you covered. Our blogging community is always growing and offers everything from MLB coverage to MMA to worldwide soccer.