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:
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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?
- 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!