The internet has made it far easier for anybody to become a part of a like-minded community. However, like most things, choosing the right online community platform for you will need a bit of consideration. Whilst being part of a great online community can seriously enrich your life, joining the wrong one is simply a waste of your time. Whether you’re looking for a new social media platform to try out or want to become an active member of an online forum, here are our top tips for choosing the right online community to participate in.
Tip #1. Consider the Type of Network
Before you join an online community, it’s important to make sure that their values and beliefs are in line with yours. Many online communities and social networking sites, for example Reddit, enable members to talk about anything and everything that they like. If you’re hoping to join a community to meet new people and engage in general discussion about almost any topics, then this type of community is probably the best for you, although you should expect to come across members who don’t always see eye to eye with you. Visit this website for more information on two of the most popular online communities, Reddit and 4Chan.
Tip #2. Determine the Cost
Depending on the type of community that you’re looking to join, it may not always be free. If membership comes with a fee, then you should carefully weigh this up beforehand to make sure that it is worth spending your hard-earned money on. In many cases, paid online groups and communities will allow members to cancel at any time, therefore there’s no chance of you losing your money on a membership that you no longer want. The best way to avoid unnecessary spending is to opt for a site that allows a free trial so that you can get a feel for it before making the all-important decision to part with your cash. It’s best to avoid any networks that require you to make an up-front payment or sign up to a contract before allowing you to at least have a look around.
Tip #3. Consider Your Reasons
Before you commence your search for the perfect online community, you should consider your personal reasons for wanting to join such a group. For example, if you are simply looking for the chance to connect with friends and potentially meet new people, then you may find that a popular social networking site, such as Facebook, is able to meet these needs. On the other hand, if you are hoping to stay anonymous whilst connecting with other anonymous people online, there are various platforms that you can use to do so. Those who are looking to get or give answers in a specific niche might find that a relevant forum is the best place to go.
Tip #4. Consider Site Security
When you join an online community, chances are that you will need to provide the site with at least some basic information about yourself. If you are paying for the membership, then you will probably need to enter your credit card details at some point, too. Unless you are joining a site which is widely known and trusted, it’s vital to ensure that it is secure before you sign up. The last thing that you want is your personal data ending up in the wrong hands! To ensure that a site’s connection is secure, you should always check the browser bar; ‘https://’ before the web address signifies that it is secure. This is especially important if you are entering financial details to make a payment online. Remember that no trustworthy online community or social networking site will ask you to provide them with sensitive information such as your banking passwords.
Tip #5. Consider the Other Members
Before you set up a profile and become a member of an online community, it’s a good idea to take the other members into consideration. If possible, take a look around the site or network to see what other members are saying and determine whether it’s the type of conversation that you’d like to get involved in. Joining a community where many members tend to have opposing views to your own or say things that you’re not happy with, simply isn’t worth your time.
Tip #6. Be Aware of the Guidelines
People who forget to read the guidelines before joining an online community or social network can often find themselves being kicked off for something that they didn’t even realize was against the rules. Before you become a member of an online community, make sure that you are fully aware of their guidelines and any rules in place that you are agreeing to adhere to by signing up. Although this may mean that becoming a member takes a little more time, it’s worth it in the end since you will know what is expected of you and determine whether it’s something that you are able to uphold.
Tip #7. Online Safety
Lastly, when you join an online community or social networking site, you can often be contacted by strangers from all around the world, unless you have the option to specify otherwise. Although the option to talk to people who would otherwise have been out of reach is one of the main beauties of the internet, it can also put certain community members at a high risk of being scammed or conned out of money or more. If you plan to speak privately to other community members online, then you should always be on high alert for the signs of any potential scams. Although it’s more likely that the people you communicate with will be normal, law-abiding citizens such as yourself, it’s important to be vigilant. Never send money to anybody that you haven’t met in person and verified, even if their story appears to be legitimate.
Today, there are hundreds of online communities and networks that you can join to get involved in conversation online. Taking these factors into consideration beforehand will help improve your experience.