There are chances you belong to one of the many online communities found on the internet today if you are a frequent web user. Online worlds have existed in one form or another since the internet was launched. New technology and faster computer connections have made these communities easier to use and much more satisfying in the last few years.
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Online worlds are mostly based in user social exchange and interaction represented by the Web 2.0 technologies.
Online worlds range from basic blog sites to full blown virtual worlds where you can take on an alternate persona. All types of communities online are experiencing a massive growth spurt and some people communicate more online than in the real world.
The Right Community for You
There are several things to consider when searching for an online world to join. You must first decide what you want to get out of your community experience. Do you want to post your ideas on a particular subject, comment on other posts, and communicate with other users via email? If so, blogging communities will be the perfect spot for you.
If you are interested in social networking you will want to choose a sight that helps match you with other people who share your same interests. Most social networking online worlds also require members to communicate via email.
For a true virtual experience, and for real time communication with others, a virtual online community is for you. Virtual worlds allow you to create an online persona, your avatar, which you will use to interact with other residents of the virtual world in real time.
Make it Interesting
To enjoy your online experience you will want to communicate with users who share your same interests. If you love to cook you will not last long in a community for mechanics. The internet hosts online worlds for every area of interest imaginable; from chess to cheeseburgers you will find a group to match your interest.
Many online worlds are umbrella communities with numerous sub-groups. Gather and Blogher are huge umbrella communities; they, and others like them, have hundreds of different individual communities under their banner. You are almost guaranteed to find your interest listed on these large sites.
If you are interested in creating your own virtual world you will find many sites that offer you the opportunity to be incredibly creative. Virtual world sites can be realistic or fantasy driven and the only restriction is the limit of your creativity.
Free or Not Free, That is the Question
Almost all online communities have a free basic membership option. Many blogging sites, such as Gather or Shelfari, are completely free and do not offer paid memberships. Other sites have a paid membership option in addition to the free basic plan.
Why should you pay to communicate online? Whether or not you choose to pay for your online interaction is up to you. For basic blogging there is never really a need to become a paying site member and most blogging sites offer only free memberships.
Fees usually arise when you begin creating a virtual world where you will interact with others. As mentioned earlier most sites offer a free membership option but you will have more choices in your virtual world if you become a member. For example, in Second Life you cannot own land unless you are a paying member.
The bottom line, according to online community experts, is to find a community that supports your interests. Online communities are rewarding and give you the chance to interact with others right from your desktop.
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