Do you want to know all that you can about online communities? There is no doubt that you have already heard of the word by now. If you are an avid user of social media, then you must have come across the term many times.
But there are still many people who are yet to understand all that they have to about online communities. So, this article here is going to discuss all social media online communities and all the other details that there is to know about it.
In simple terms, an online community is understood as a group of people that share similar interest and exchange information on the web.
Online communities on the internet surround we all, so it seems fitting to know a bit more about it, don’t you think?
So, without wasting any more of your precious time, let us get started with it.
Table of Contents
Social media is a very integral part of our lives. Starting from sites like Facebook and Instagram to professional websites such as LinkedIn, we are surrounded by social media.
The list doesn’t come to an end for sure. Professionals from college professors to the soccer players out there, everyone is a part of social media. These people always tend to have some sort of group in these sites.
So, isn’t it something that you always wonder about? So, it is about time that someone provided a little bit of explanation about the whole thing.
First of all, let us get one thing cleared out here. Underneath all the amazing terms which revolve in social media, there are two terms which are always heard by people.
Online communities and social networks are the terms that we are talking about. But what are these in the first place, and what do you need to know about them?
Well, we are here to provide a breakdown of the entire thing to you right here. So, make sure that you read this part very carefully if you want to get all the information about online communities in the first place.
The best definition of an online community that I could find for you is that the online community is just a group of different people who have some common interest in a particular topic and these are the people that use the internet whether it an email account or the websites to communicate with each other.
They work together, and they also pursue the common interest that they have with time.
Why Are Online Communities Valuable?
One thing that you need to know about online communities is that these are just communities first, and then they are online. What we mean to say here is that we have a real living world of people around us, and these people also tend to have some communities in real life.
However, when you add the word online in the community, then it completely changes the meaning of it.
These online communities are filled with people who use the internet daily to establish the communication that they tend to have amongst themselves. You all live in a geographic community, and then the work that you do is also in a professional community.
In the same way, the people who go to church with other people will be the religious community. The friends that you have would be members of the social community.
So, what we mean to say here is that wherever you find people sharing a common thing or an interest, it can be termed as a community. However, it is often a bit difficult to be yourself and feels that you are a part of these real-life communities in any way.
There can be many reasons for that. Some of the reasons are often geographic. This means that the members that you have in the community might not be in the same location. Also, the second reason could be a lack of communication in people.
There might not be a way for members to communicate with one another. There is also another reason, and that is people don’t realize that these real-life communities tend to exist in the first place.
However, these obstacles and problems are all solved when people are a part of the online community. Yes, these online communities are all over the internet.
Whether you want to join a brand community, a professional community of people or you just want to be a part of the social community, there are so many options that you can try out for sure.
In the case of the online community, the people don’t necessarily need to be in the same location as well. All you need to do is visit the website or the group that you want to join online and there it is near you, with every single person that you need. So, there is no problem with geography.
Another one of the benefits of having the online community is that you don’t have to worry about the lack of communication as well. People who are a part of the online community are always able to communicate in the best way with each other, and they don’t even have to worry about it.
All they have to do is get a proper internet connection, and they are all set. So, there is always a means of communications.
Now when we talk about the existence problem, there is no way that one cannot know about an online community because they are always there. When you log in to these professional and social sites, you will be surrounded all over by these online communities.
So, these are some of the main reasons why online communities tend to be so much more valuable to people than the other real-life communities.
They can always contact each other, form groups, have conversations about their interests, and pretty much do everything else that they want to online. There are endless possibilities with these, and that is why they are so popular amongst the people.
Three Mediums of the Online Community
The online community is channelized with the help of three mediums. Let us have a look upon those mediums-
#1. Use of Content
Content used in an online community is related to the information and news related to a particular topic that is of interest to a group of people.
#2. Use of Forums or Newsgroups and Email
By using these mediums, members of the community interact and communicate with each other in a delayed fashion.
#3. Chat and Instant Messaging
The community members use this medium for having immediate communications.
Despite knowing all this, there can be people who are confused about the difference between Social Networks and Online Community. So, let us understand that difference here and now-
Difference between Online Community and Social Networks
#1. On the ground of connection
In the online community, people are connected by the common interest while on Social Networks, people are connected via pre-established interpersonal connections.
#2. Participants of a Community and Social Network
Anyone can be the participants of any community if having a similar interest, but in Social networks, everyone needs to have their own Social Network Account.
#3. On the grounds of Structure
The online community comprises a complex nested and overlapping structure while social networks have spider web sorts of network structure.
How to Join an Online Community?
Now that you know more than enough about the amazing benefits of being in an online community, there is no doubt that you want to join one for sure. Well, there are some things that you always have to keep in mind when you want to join an online community in the best way and that too, without any trouble.
Firstly, you need to make sure that you have an online internet connection in the first place. Without the internet connection, you will not be able to open any sites, and then there is no question of joining an online community. So, that is an important thing that you always have to consider.
After that, you need to make sure that you are choosing the right site on which you want to become a member. There are many different sites where you can be a part of the online community. For example, if you want to join a professional community, then going to LinkedIn would be a good idea.
But if you want to join a social community, then you can choose Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. The options are endless in here people so you will never run out of options.
After that, you also need to make sure that you check all the right boxes. To do that you need to read all the regulations and rules as well.
If you tick the boxes, then it means that you are obeying all the rules and terms that they have on the website. This is a very important thing that you need to take care of.
There are some online communities where you can be the un-participating member or the lurker. This means that you will be joining the online community but will not be taking part in the conversations that tend always to happen there. You will just be an onlooker or bystander. There is an option to choose if you want to be the lurker for the online community.
The lurkers often tend to have a contrast with all the posters or the public participants because these people often tend to post their concerns and thoughts very openly and without giving it too much thought as well.
Joining An Online Community For Brand Promotion
Many companies want to join online communities in the first place. This is because these communities tend to help a lot when it comes to the promotion of the brand. These online communities also help businesses a lot when they keep track of all the thoughts of the people.
Also, they pay proper attention to the behavior of the competitor. This is one of the most important reasons why people tend to join online communities so that their brands can be promoted in the best ways.
Best Online Communities across the World
- Prisoner Life
- Gamer’s Voice
- Barista Exchange
- Texans Talk
- Harringay Online
- Community of Sweden
Wrapping it up!
So, that is all you need to know about online communities. We hope that this article helped you in understanding the entire concept of online communities.
If you want to join an online community, now would be the time to do it.
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