Creating a presence online is not always an easy task, nor is it one that should be taken lightly. There are thousands of examples of people all over the globe who have attempted to create websites, forums and blogs but have never succeeded. The reasons for this can vary greatly, but one, which many fail to take into regard, is reputation.
Reputation is a broad word, which consists of many things; respect, rapport, trust; all these things fall under reputation. A reputation can be positive, negative or anything in-between. One common characteristic however is that it takes time to build, although this time varies greatly depending on the kind of reputation one is aiming to establish.
In the real world, which is how we refer to the world outside of cyber space and computer monitors, reputation can be built in many ways. Through our character we can be known as a grumpy individual or a one who is positive and open. Through our body language we can be regarded as introverted or extroverted. Through our tone of voice we can be mocked or listened to. Our clothes tell the story of our lives, our make-up reveals what we are trying to hide and the look in our eyes says more than a thousand words ever would. The words we use will instill respect and trust, or disregard. The way we use these words says more about us than anything else, and that is what makes words so special. This is the luckiest thing of all, being that words are the only thing we have at our disposal on the Internet.
The Internet is not like the real world. We cannot see the person we are talking to, we cannot judge their character, read their stance, stare into their eyes or hear the tone in their voice. All we can do is read the words they put forth. This makes words powerful, more powerful than many like to think. Words in general can encourage, empower and excite, they can also hurt, damage and cause great harm. If used in the correct manner, these words can establish life-long friendships, respect from people who one may never get a chance to speak to in the real world or even, if you are lucky, make earn wealth and success.
The thing that is so great about the cyber world is that it offers equal ground for every user. Today over 90% of the world has access to the Internet in some form and while the economic situation is not the same in every country, everyone has the opportunity to create something. That something may not be a world famous forum with millions of users or a blog gaining thousands of hits a day. It could however be a profile, a character so to speak, that is respected, trusted and seen as a true friend by many.
Anyone who uses the Internet frequently enough is able to name someone they know online who is like this. A person they can go to for anything, ask any question, discuss any issue with and know that they will receive support or help. They also could name a person who has great skill within a particular trade, such as web design, programming or managing forums. Yes, it is true that being a great web designer does not require mastery of words. It does however require the creation of such a reputation and it is not something that can be created through being rude and obnoxious to clients or not answering e-mails in a timely and courteous matter.
The first thing that must be taken into account is time. Rome was not built in a day and neither is reputation. It can take months or even years to establish true respect and trust, especially in a forum community. The diversity of the member base in most forums is what makes forums one of the most challenging environment to build a reputation in. Not only is this environment challenging in itself, the reputation the industry has built does not help either. Today, many people are more wary than they were 10 years ago about joining new forums. With so many people attempting to found forums and then giving up after only a few weeks or months, many people fear joining new forums as they feel their efforts and conversations will be wasted. With this said, if your end goal is to create a successful, thriving forum then don’t try getting people to join when your own account only has 2 or 3 posts on whatever forum you are advertising on. Work hard, show you are willing to work for things, and when you have a stable base upon which to build, consider starting the forum of your dreams.
This is part 1 of the series of articles which is titled An Online Presence. The next installment will be posted soon.