Contributing to Online Communities

Do you contribute enough to your online communities?

In order to know why it is important to be a GOOD contributing member of online communities, we should start with what is an online community and what are the benefits of being a MEMBER of one.

If you already know what an online community is but you think maybe you aren’t contributing enough to yours, scroll down to IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO BE A GOOD CITIZEN OF ONLINE COMMUNITIES

What is an online community?

image of chart of types of online communities
source: Dion Hinchcliffe on ZDNet

Wherever people share common interests, there is a community. An online community is a group of REAL people with common interests who communicate, work together and pursue their interests over time using a variety of internet based ways (websites, messaging, forums, blogs, and any app on that “google machine” you have that sometimes RINGS like a phone.

In a nut shell, online communities are about people needing an easier and more accessible way to get together. Instead of meeting at a coffee shop, you meet at a web site or social media platform.

The benefits of being part of an online community

By being a member of an online community, you benefit in many of the same ways you would a real world community:

  • Build personal relationships and networks of trust.
  • Bring together people with common interests or profiles.
  • Engage these specific groups of people.

You just use the internet to do it.

Deborah Ng from Online Community Management For Dummies writes:
Members of online communities talk about the same things with their online friends as they do their offline neighbors, but they also rally around a specific topic, product, or cause to share ideas, offer tips, or act as mentors. Many times, they join communities because people at home in the offline world don’t share similar passions. So they come online to talk at length with the folks who “get it.”

Benefits to your business

For Business Owners it is a MUST these days to have an active online community presence that is engaging with people EVERY DAY. The Where and How is the billion dollar question that other business owners (Like Me) are building their enterprises on.So, we will save that for another time.

(Psst! I do training on this sort of thing, so we could meet (online or face to face) at that “other time” that was just mentioned.)

So, moving on for now…


I feel very strongly about this and felt it warranted all CAPS, so there!
First and MOST IMPORTANT to always keep in mind that people in online communities are actual PEOPLE.
image of a minion quoteYour comments and behavior online matter just as much as if you said it out loud to someone. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, then don’t say it online. If you would say it, but maybe societal politeness dictates that you are being and ASS, just remember there will forever be a written record of your communication cast out into the hinterlands of the endless realm of the internet.

After I typed that I was thinking that there are places on the internet for jerks and sassy-pants and people who just like to complain about everything and get mad at people who don’t share their same views. So, find those places on the internet and STAY THERE. Everyone needs a community, even people who hate the world and everyone in it. For the rest of us, we play nice with others.

Are you contributing enough?

Ok, my rant about proper behavior is over.  I want to talk about a part of online communities that you might not think about:  Your personal contributions to them.

There is a reason tiny trollswhy you can only have so much of a gap between how many people you follow on Twitter and how many people follow you. Twitter wants to be sure you are contributing and not just trolling. If you are only allowed to do it minimally, so you can only be a tiny troll.

Likes, Comments, Shares, Re-tweets, Favorites, Reviews, Recommendations and MORE

When you are scrolling through your various feeds, how often do you click on something or tap out a quick comment (A nice and constructive one)? Did you know that every time you do you help that person or business build SEO and community visibility?

If you like a business’s Facebook Page make it a point to like their posts and share them when they are relevant. The more you do this the more you become a SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCER. Doesn’t that sound nice? Who wouldn’t want to be an influencer? Again, we are talking about positive influences.

Did you know that Forbes Magazine actually ranks social media influencers every year? It just so happens that I know someone on the 2015 list. He is my business mentor, coach, and friend, Kevin Lane Skarritt, the owner of Flock Marketing. Check him out and do what he does.

Do you have a friend who is building a business? You may love your friend dearly but not really understand their business or just not be into Hot Yoga, or whatever they are passionate about. Like and share their stuff anyway.

Maybe your brother opened an amazing café in another state and you probably will only get there once a year: Like it and comment on it and review it and basically just talk it up online as much as you can. It helps, it really does. And, he will know you care.

If you are trying to build your online presence and working on business marketing it is imperative that you are paying attention to what other people you know are doing, and support them. Nothing is more annoying than putting something great out there and then having all the people that you support ignore it. Support and communication go both ways!

Be a good citizen of your online communities, don’t be a troll!

We’d love to hear about what you consider being a good online citizen. Please leave your thoughts below.

Happy Clicking!

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