Free Online Communities
Free online communities offer computer users a great way to communicate. Communities exist for all areas of interest including professions and hobbies. Joining an online community gives you the chance to interact and share with others.
Finding the right free online community for you will take some research. It is important to visit several different communities in your area of interest before committing to join one. It is also important to note that many online communities offer both a free basic membership and a paid membership.
Off to a Great Start-Choosing the Right Online Community
Getting started in the online virtual world is quite easy. The first step to finding the right community for you is determining what you want to get out of belonging to the community.
If you are looking to chat about your interest in a particular subject, learn more about something, or share your experiences with others you will enjoy blogging. These online communities let members post their thoughts and ideas and comment on other members’ postings. Members interact with each other using email and users group.
Other online communities allow you to interact with other users in real time. These social networking communities are known as virtual worlds and range from basic discussion sites to sites that allow you to create an entire alternate life. Virtual worlds claim members from all over the world and are quickly growing in popularity.
Narrow Your Interest
After you have determined the type of online community that is right for you it is time to narrow your search by interest. If you are an aspiring crafter you can interact with others and sell your wares on sites like Etsy. If you love to write you will find hundreds of writer’s communities such as the Writer’s Café where you can communicate with other writers. If you are looking for an entire virtual life you will want to check out the Second Life site.
Many online communities are umbrella communities with many sub-groups. Gather and Blogher are both examples of communities which host hundreds of different interest groups for their members.
After you have narrowed your interest it will be easy to find the right free online community. To join you will be required to fill out a short membership form and answer a few simple questions.
You will choose a username and a password. Many sites may also ask you to design an avatar. An avatar is a 2D or 3D representation of you in the online community. When you interact with other group members they will instantly recognize you by your avatar.
After you have registered and agreed to the rules of the site you can begin interacting with other members. You can post blogs and comment on blogs other members have posted. If you have registered on a virtual world site you can immediately interact with other residents of the world.
Most online communities offer new users an introduction module where they can become familiar with the site. Don’t skip these introduction modules. They offer users a great way to learn tips and tricks of operating on a free online community.
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