Rather than look at social media related posts to give me information for this article, I stepped sideways a little. Social bookmarking sites are first and foremost communities. We all know that community is one of the cornerstones of Web 2.0, but many of us may not have stopped and thought about exactly what that meant. We sign up to a new site and get stuck in. A community, according to dictionary.com is
A social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage
…which pretty much sums up a social bookmarking site. When you move to a new community, there are a few things you would do first, so hunting around the estate agent’s and house moving websites, I found some fantastic examples which can be just as easily related to moving to a new online community as they can be to moving to a new neighbourhood or city.
Drive around the area
The first thing you should do on arrival, after you have created your initial profile is take a look around. Get to know the architecture of the site. Find out where the help section is, look at some of the discussions or conversations, read some of the bookmarks that people have selected. If there is a moderator or an organiser, they may introduce themselves to you like they do on MyBlogLog or Gooruze. If not, try and find out who they are and go and visit their profile. Perhaps say hello or have a read of some of their blogs.
Pick up the local newspaper
Of in the case of a social bookmarking site – go to the front page or the page of popular posts or upcoming posts. This will give you an idea of the kinds of things that are newsworthy within this community and the kinds of things that are popular or that the community wants to see.
Go to the local council office and find out about the bylaws
Each community will have subtly different rules and regulations which are what makes the community works coherently. Find out what they are. Is there a certain etiquette that is required? Are there a maximum number of bookmarks or posts that you can make in your first couple of days? Are there language restrictions? What are the rules on profanity or flaming? Do you need to submit anything or have something like your blog approved before you really get involved. If you understand these rules before you get started, then you aren’t likely to get yourself in hot water or lose friends later.
Go and visit your new neighbours
Once you have spent a bit of time getting to know the way things work within the community, it is time to go visiting. Introduce yourself to a few people around you. But don’t go barging in the door telling them how fabulous you are and how fortunate they should feel now that you are in the community. Introduce yourself, ask questions, get to know them and then make the connection. People are usually pretty friendly and will bring around cyber cookies in the form of some good advice or an invite to join a group if you approach them the right way.
Find a local community group and join up
Many social bookmarking sites have groups which you can get involved in. For instance, the book community group LibraryThing has a ton of different special interest groups which you can get involved in. Doing so brings you closer to people who have similar interests and gets the conversation going. It helps to break the ice with someone if you are discussing a common interest in a group related to that very thing.
Get out into the front yard or go for a walk to the local park
Essentially, be visible. No-one is going to know you are there if you stay quietly locked away hoping someone might stumble upon your profile. Being a part of a community means being active within that community to some extent at least. As soon as you feel comfortable that you have made some contacts and learnt the guidelines, get involved. Start posting bookmarks, start commenting on others’ selections, converse on the discussion forums. That’s what you are here for, so you might as well get out there and do it.
And welcome to your new home. I am sure, if you approach it in the right way, you will be very comfortable.
The next post is are going to be about The Rise of Social Bookmarking: Do’s and Don’t’s
Thank you to williamhartz for the image
Read the rest of the series on the rise of social bookmarking
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