It only takes a quick glance at the histories of the most famous companies and internet giants to see the benefits of sharing websites with family, friends, school peers, and local businesses. It wasn’t too long ago that Facebook began as a poorly written social network in the dorms of Harvard and quickly spread through word of mouth. Maybe we would still be on Myspace if Mark Zuckerberg had kept it all to himself. It’s not uncommon to hear about the most famous forums and discussion boards in the hallways of middle schools, high schools, and colleges. And in today’s age, we obviously all hear about exciting social, news, and other interesting apps for our pocket buzzing phones. So, why is it that so many webmasters hide their websites from the people they know in real life?
It’s 2019 and if Reddit or 4chan being mainstream enough to make the headlines isn’t enough, perhaps we should look back at the much older public forums of Rome for inspiration. We’ll get to that later, but never forget that open debate, discussion, and the general idea of a forum have been here for thousands of years. The internet is just a modern twist on it all. If you are hiding behind a screen and not sharing your website(s) on your personal social media, or bringing it up when your favorite aunt asks you about your hobbies, you are making a mistake.
Of course, I do not mean to claim that every single website is worth sharing this very second. It may be better to wait until you have gotten off the ground, or until you can confidently speak about your site. Maybe you will wait until you are proud enough to put Website Administrator on your resume, but don’t put it off forever. At some point you will benefit greatly from sharing your website with your peers and family.
Some topics just aren’t as ideal for mass distribution, and many of you may feel anxious or hesitant about telling your mom about your new forum. However, it does not take many new members to bring a new community to greatness with solid discussions, debates, and unique comments. Even a small group of 3-4 friends can exchange hundreds of messages in a night, so why not bring them to your forum? If you’re an aspiring blogger, maybe your favorite teacher will follow you or help you come up with ideas – or inspire a like minded friend to write articles with you. It can be extremely difficult to figure out what people like when everyone is hiding behind screens. If you’re not telling your friends about your forum or website, have you ever thought that maybe some of your own friends or family are hiding their own content from you? Well, you’ll have to mention your site next time at family dinner to find out!
Let’s backtrack, or time travel, or at least discuss the public forums of Rome. As the sites for elections, criminal trials, public debates, and many more activities, Roman forums (or Forum Romanum) were vital in the establishment and continuation of a high society that was responsible for many elements of democracy, government, military, and even our standard roads. Before the time of the internet, people had to come together in person. Yes, without emojis and certainly without texting and driving. We can’t exactly say these gatherings were identical to an online forum, but they probably faced similar issues. Lack of attendance on a stormy day or a loud and annoying person bullying others could have affected daily activities. We can imagine leaders arising from given ranks or self imposed duties, much like moderators and dedicated members will help shape an online community. Riders would have traveled north, south, east, and west to share the outcomes of these great forum events, and the people would be proud to have participated. So, where is your pride? Are you traveling to friends and family to share your successes, struggles, and desires? Are you inviting them in to participate? You must! Men, women, and children traveled hundreds of miles if not more to see the great walls of Rome with its great and almost futuristic take on the world. If they can do that, surely you know some people who can spare a click and a minute for your site. It’s within our human nature to bond and share interests, even if the internet may replace that instinct for some webmasters.
Well, even if achieving the status of Rome’s famed forums is not possible for at all, we can at least try to advance our websites through public discourse. Flyers at the local library or coffee shop can bring us members and subscribers, blog owners can print their articles to leave around town, and general thoughtfulness about the importance of sharing can lead us all to greater times. Do not wait for your website to be discovered – shove it in the world’s face. If you don’t, someone else will, and by then it will be far too late.