Online Groups are little microcosms with their own energy and hierarchies. The longer they exist the more entrenched these power positions become. They are no different from the outside world in that way. So what happens when a new person is introduced?
It all depends on the new person.
Fitting in – Web Groups
I guess this is a bit of a “how to” blog post to try to guide certain people to have an easier time fitting into closed groups on the web. I am sure all of you who belong to a group or groups know what happens when a new person comes along and just generally “does everything wrong” – he/she rubs everyone up the wrong way.
Remember, in many ways the way people act in online situations is similar to the ways that they act in any other group situation. There are people who always want to talk and share their ideas, there people who only watch and listen, there are people who are respectful of others points of view and there are people who are disrespectful of others.
Now when a new person joins a membership only group and starts posting and making a noise, at first one or two kind souls take pity on this boor who isn’t respecting the “code”. This just seems to be fuel on the fire – he picks up speed.
Often his posts are irrelevant and intrusive and group members cringe when they see yet another post from the newbie. That is when even the most free-spirited group member wishes they had an admin that could disappear the newbie so that the members could get back into their comfortable reassuring rhythm.
Rules for New Group Members
So if you are a new group member, remember you are joining an established group of people – introduce yourself and hang around for a week or two and watch what goes on. Read the posts and get a feeling of who is who.
Here are some more tips:
- When you are feeling a bit more comfortable, contribute now and then to the strings.
- Don’t make yourself too visible yet.
- Don’t start a post yet. Just let the others get to know you.
- If you can help someone, do so. Don’t show off or be a smarty pants – you are in their playground and you’re the new kid.
You’ll notice when they start including you or chatting to you that you have been accepted – that is when you can start posting and fully participating.
The main take-away is don’t rush in and start demanding or broadcasting. You will face rejection. Just take your time and settle in with the group. When you are comfortable; you can participate.
Do you have any tips about joining online groups – or any interesting anecdotes about them? If so, please feel free to share in a comment below!