Making the Most of Online Community

If you’re in a situation like mine (read: living in the middle of nowhere) it can be somewhat hard to find your place within a community in-person. I know that I certainly haven’t, but I’m putting more efforts towards that. More on that in the future.

This means that you likely rely on internet communities in order to feel connected. There are positives and negatives to internet communities, of course. The most obvious positive is that you’re put in contact with a large, diverse, group of people. The negative is that some of those people may not be the type you want to be rubbing elbows with. I don’t like to interact with White Supremacists, and they have an unfortunate tendency to crop up in online Heathen communities. There are groups actively working to combat this, and yet it still happens.

So, how do you decide if an online community is right for you?

  • Are there people you already know in the community?
  • Do they have clearly established rules/bylaws/community guidelines?
  • Are they active?
  • If it is an open group, spend some time observing what kind of posts are most often made. Can you stand seeing those posts on a daily basis, or are they interesting to you?

I, personally, wouldn’t want to participate in a group that doesn’t have clearly established community guidelines at the very least. I’m a member of one such group and I’m waiting to see how it pans out. I go through the list above, or one like it, whenever I am considering joining a group. If it is a closed group, it is harder to judge the kinds of posts that you’re going to see on a daily basis. If you’re concerned about being inundated with Vikings memes, I’d consider asking an admin or mod about what kinds of posts they see on a daily basis.

After you’ve joined a group, there is one way to make the most of it — participate! I wouldn’t thunder in making declarative posts, but it is a good idea to establish yourself as a community member by participating. Even if that participation is something as simple as writing “cool!” in response to someone else’s post, you’ve still participated. If you’re too shy to jump right in, there’s nothing wrong with waiting and observing until you feel comfortable enough to say something.

Huginn’s Heathen Hoff has informative content, as well as a decently active Facebook page. I would say this is a good start if you want information on Heathenry around the world, but you’re not wanting to participate too, too much.

The Asatru Community has some good resources as well, and an active Facebook page that I would recommend if you’re wanting to engage more — and you don’t mind the occasional bit of side chatter (though still Heathen related).

If you’re a member of any Heathen organizations, it would be a good idea to join their Facebook groups and participate there.

Now, participation doesn’t have to be a big deal. You don’t have to start writing sweeping editorials if you’re not comfortable with that. As I said above, participation can be as simple as commenting on someone else’s post. It puts you in contact with others, which (if you’re seeking community) is the goal here.

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