Five Reasons to Join an Online Community

Geek!This is Radu Mitiu’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

  1. You will always find something new. Just when you thought you knew everything about your hobby, someone posts something new. Online communities are a great source of information and can even help you be more productive. With such a large number of users pitching in for the greater good, the possibilities are endless! There are plenty of creative, talented people online who share tips and tricks for you and the rest of the community.
  2. Diversity. It doesn’t matter what field or hobby you’re interested in, you can rest assure that there is at least one large community out there with people that share your enthusiasm. Maybe you’re into photography, cooking or sports – you will literally find hundreds of social networks which you can join in just a few clicks. Communities bring users of all ages from all over the world together together, which I find extraordinary. Isn’t it great to know you have things in common with so many people?
  3. Feedback. Sharing opinions is a big part of any community, and that makes it an excellent place to post some of your work and see what others think of it. Worst case scenario, you learn how to improve yourself! Feedback is always welcomed, especially from people who enjoy the same things you do. Best case scenario, you get recognition for a job well done – it’s a win-win situation! However, don’t forget to be an active member of the community by joining discussions and by giving feedback to others as well.
  4. Interaction. Online communities are all about social interaction, but I hear a lot of people saying that online friends and relationships aren’t exactly “the real thing”. I strongly disagree with them. Communication is the foundation of such relationships regardless of how you communicate. Furthermore, remember there are real people at the other end of the line, and if the community is large enough you can even find people that live close to you and get together. It certainly happened to me more than once! Some ask, “why waste time with online communities when you can simply go out with your friends?” Well, obviously one doesn’t replace the other, but socializing online is a unique experience in itself. Besides, communities usually have thousands of people talking about a certain topic – you can’t exactly go out with such a large crowd at once, now can you?
  5. Magic word: free. That’s right, it won’t cost you a dime. You get to meet and interact with users, share ideas and feedback, all for free. In fact, the only thing that it will cost you is time; but if you ask me, it’s time well spent. There are even free solutions out there if you choose to start your own community. Who knows, you could be the start of something big!

In the end, this is what the Internet is all about: bringing people together. Being an active part of it is both rewarding and fun at the same time, so don’t stand on the sidelines – join us!

28 thoughts on “Five Reasons to Join an Online Community”

  1. I’ll give you a reason not to join one: look at some profiles on hi5! for most of the users there it’s just a way to show off and wait for comments to tell them how hot they are…

  2. Well, my first reason to join an online communityisn’t necessary for “something new” or “diversity”. Instead I appreciate the interaction, the conversation and sometimes the feedback received from other members.

    And lately I became member in online communities especially for PD.

  3. Very well written, nicely structured and clever composition. I share his opinion on every point he made, hope to come across more texts just like this one. Wish him the best of luck on winning the prize.

  4. Good points indeed… Respect for all the persons who take the trouble of sharing their expertise in some web community… Global brainstorming :P

  5. The magic words “bringing people together” are for me a good reason to join an online community . I think if you say online community , you say “future” , because this type of community, of live , brings future more close to present. A good article . Good luck.

  6. It’s a shame you had to stick to just 5 ideas, I’m sure you could write a lot more about this. Anyway, you’ve picked out the “essential” aspects and solid arguments. Good job!

  7. Although some of the online communities are useless, others are a great source of knowledge, as you said, and today people need to know how to search for some information or whom to ask to tell ’em where to look or how to do it. And online communities help people to find the right people just by clicking a button! It can’t be easier than that!

  8. I would have to agree with Christiana above. However, one should try to protect his or her own privacy while being member of an on-line community. Depending on the type of the community, one can do everything, from writing his daily thoughts to showing to the rest of the world pictures of him and his family. There are only few people nowadays whose name would not come out on a regular google search. and as for me, this is kind of troubling.

    I myself, would prefer to be part of the community but as much anonymously as possible and only for knowledge reasons.

  9. Of course, online communities are very good platform for sharing information, but an active community which sticks to the topic is very hard to find. Often these communities are flooded with mails from spammers, so it does need strict moderation.

    If you take some hundred communities, you will find only a few of them actively discussing relevant topics.

    Prasanth S

  10. As far as I am concerned online communities have helped me improve in so many ways, not only professional but also personal. The kind of help you get from these “living, breathing, ever-growing entities” is priceless, and the cool thing, as Radu pointed out, it’s free. All you have to do is know what you want and then rest assured that what you are looking for is out there.

    Thank you Radu for the excellent article!

    Best wishes,

  11. I personally am not part of an online community, at least not one that is useful to me, but this is because i dread the thought of having N accounts on N different sites and i often forget the username or the password and i don’t trust my browser to remember it for security reasons…
    But other than that, i agree that online communities are useful. Often when i search smth on the internet, i find the answers in different forums, posted because of people like me who had questions. I think the fact that nowadays you can find anything on the internet is due mostly to online communities.

  12. This is an excellent article. I would even dare to say that you could be described as an exceptional IT journalist.:) You brought solid arguments and as a result you managed to convince me, the so “anti-communities” person, that it really is a great deal of useful things which these communities have to offer.
    Well done ‘Tzu!

  13. I relate to some of the reasons you’ve described, nonetheless, for me the greatest virtue of an online community is availability. With our busy and fast-paced lifestyles, being able to share, learn and speak up whenever we want to proves that an online community will always cater to our needs.

    Thank you for reminding us how worthy online communities are. Finally, it comes down to choosing one wisely.

  14. I agree a lot with all of them. I would add the “Free” argument to a bigger category: Convenience.
    Instead of talking on the phone, I use MSN, yahoo, etc.
    Instead of wasting my time and money driving to school, I use the university’s forums and database for the help I need.
    If I have a question about something, I post it on a forum, and someone will help me.
    They are all valid points, but list is long.

  15. Not a bad read at all, I’m all for online communities! Glad I’m not the only one who thinks social networks are the way of the future. Sure, there are security issues to keep in mind, but a well developed community is always a good additio to the web.

  16. You nicely outlined all the benefits of joining an internet community, and I agree with you, but I also feel that we are loosing touch with the human interaction due to an extensive use of such online communities. Keep writing.

  17. I really like your article.

    I enjoy social networking.. you meet so many interesting people and get open up to new things you would never have known if you didn’t.

    It does work! I found your article via Facebook!

    While we are talking about social networks why don’t you join me on twitter. I will follow you back!


  18. hello!

    I’ve been surprised to discover that it is HARD to find a site that can do the following:

    “How to find the right online community for me”
    “How to find the right online forum for me”

    It seems to be impossible for me to find anything like this and I am very interested in why this is. I want to join a forum and I have been on one in the past. But without stating a specific topic, it seems hard to find a forum suited to me.

    Does anyone here have any suggestions to sites that I might look into, or a forum that they recommend?


  19. A rational thinking mind would not be able to discredit a word you said. And to add to what’s stated above, I find the advantage of joining an online community that evokes your interests to be a great platform to practice writing, because  – well duh – that is the medium of communication you’re employing, right? :) 

    Cheers from Germany

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