- Saving Money – Joining a group from your town or city is a great way to find out about free and low-cost events you can attend.
- Multiple Heads are better then one – Groups and forums are a great place to get many different perspectives on an issue you have.
- A Sense of Community – for shared interest or support, the internet allows you to make connections you would never otherwise make.
Here are a few different ways to use the internet to connect.
Groups – You can find an online group for any interest or stage in your life. Weather you are a home schooling parent, dealing with a dietary restriction or just interested in playing RPG games with your kids, there is a group out there for you. You can find groups on Yahoo or Google or even on Facebook. They can be open or closed and you can easily create your own group for free. Groups bring people from a wide variety of backgrounds together in a common interest.
When looking for a group you want to look for one that you feel comfortable in. If the group is very active you will have more quality interactions. It’s a good idea to always have your first post be an introduction to the group.
Forums – Forums are another great place to get inspired and share information. a Forum will have different topics in which people can create threads. A Thread is an ongoing conversation online. Forums are usually more open then groups, some require you to register but what you post can usually be viewed by anyone, even those conducting a Google search. It is a good place for very general discussions and to gain general information.
Blogs – Communities can form around blogs, this is usually done in the comment section. Blogs can also spin-off into forums and groups. If you find a blog or article that speaks to you, why not leave a comment? Active comments can contain lots of great info and suggestions if people are willing to share. Want to start right now? Why not leave a comment on this article and share with us your favorite way to Network on the Internet?
Email – Email notifications are a great way to keep in contact with your community, whether it is your favorite blog, a forum thread you are really excited about or what is happening in your group. All of these have options that allow you to receive email updates. While sometimes it is easy to get bogged down in emails, it can be a great reminder to get back involved or will provide a seed of inspiration.
It does take a bit of time to find an online community you may want to engage with, but with this investment comes the opportunity for a great support network and a wealth of new ideas.