So growing up, I was never really a member of any online communities, do to a combination of high social anxiety and a mother who thought everyone on the internet was trying to hurt their little boy (she once made me block someone on Aim because they were older than me). Because of this I never really learned how to be a part of online communities on more of a surface level. So like how do I do this? is it possible to even learn this at 23 or am I too far gone?
you’re definitely not too old to get acclimated and introduced to online communities!!!
fun fact about me, i didn’t even have twitter until i was 23, and since then i’ve grown and flourished just from meeting people on that website. i think you’re doing a great job just being present on things like forums, and making posts in them. find things you like and follow people who create those things on sites like twitter, and engage in conversations about topics you’re interested in! i think the waypoint community is a great place to get started with all of this stuff and i’m confident you’ll learn a lot from the people here and be able to come into your own as a Full Fledged Online Internet Person!!!
Fun fact about me, Twitter didn’t even exist until I was 24. You’re never too old to join! Now can anyone tell me what WTF means?
Pushing 40 here and after 20 years on the internet I still have no idea how to be part of an internet community. I just participate until the place I am in vanishes, or I am the only one in the room.
This is a great place to start, as I think this is one of the best communities I’ve ever been a part of.
Engage with topics you’re most interested in at first, be nice and don’t be afraid to ask questions. One nice thing about online conversations is that you get to take… your… time… in building a response.
If you see a lack of something you’re interested in, try and fill that lack with a thread. If people don’t go for it, that’s okay, nobody’s judging you-- the interest might just not be there.
If you see someone who constantly seems to be saying things you like or has a lot in common with you, I think it’s definitely okay to pursue a separate friendship with them, just like you would do in a real life social circle; but here, you do it through DMs (perhaps open with a question that continues something they explored in a thread) and/or following them on other networks if that’s something they make public.
There aren’t really any goals or anything for being online (or socializing in general really?) Except getting that good feeling of understanding and being understood by others. If you do that through posting funny anecdotes about videogames next to pictures of cute foxes (or reading that thread and not contributing to it, but having a really good laugh), or writing a post about something that you really have opinions on and saying something you think is funny or smart, to never have anyone read it. You have the hard part of “is this person interested in what I might have to say” out of the way because the conversations are already categrorized by the title of the thread, and the community its a part of (if we’re talking about this forum). Basically, it’s just easier to get to more meaningful discussions faster, if it’s the correct audience for what you’re talking about/you can say it in a confident tone.
Tldr if you find interesting/funny/good stuff to read and comment on, do it. If not, you can engage with other things. As @Eidoalia said, it’s a good way to test the waters of things, and it’s really easy to dive deep and find people that are into things that you may not know how to bring up in casual conversation with someone you’re not familiar with in real life.
Now, you I like.
I’ve always been a bit unsure about online communities, there’s usually “that” moment: when a couple of people get into a disagreement about something, then the community goes all tribal and things are never the same.
I really, really, hope it doesn’t happen here.
I’ve been a member of middling to bad communities for over ten years now and can conclusively agree that waypoint is a fantastic community to engage with! Everybody’s very nice and I haven’t seen any bad people on here yet thanks to the amazing work of the mod team. Here’s how I normally operate:
- Find your corner and engage as much or as little as you like. Follow relevant threads, maybe set up notifications if you like. Just being present in these threads and not being a ding dong mean you’re part of the community and part of the discussion. It’s that simple.
- (optional) Connect through different channels. I was on the forums first, then discord. It’s nice! they’re mostly overlapping circles. I got to know people by joining in with discussions and playing games with them. Just be nice and follow the rules and you’ll be grand. After a few weeks I followed people I recognized from here on twitter and it was a good decision. They’re all very good at twitter.