Proper manners for forums can help you gain a powerful online reputation and create a following. Message board etiquette can help you harness the power of the Internet to continue to build your reputation.
There are a number of things that you must do in order to utilize forums to their highest potential.
Have you been on a forum where other posters could do nothing but criticize others? Where they feel the only way for them to look good is to put others down? This is not the way to leverage your reputation. More importantly, this type of reputation will not draw people to you.
In order to develop your reputation online, you must follow these tips. When you take on an attitude of being helpful, you will notice that people will flock to you.
1. Help others and it will come back to help you - This is the single most important tip for forum etiquette. If you approach message boards with the attitude of helping others, you will become respected and people will begin to ask you for help.
One of the easiest ways to know that you are effectively harnessing the power of forums is when people start asking you questions on the forums. This means that you have taken on the role of an expert in their eyes. They know you will help and you will gain notoriety on the message boards. This is the type of following you are looking for.
2. Avoid criticism like the plague - We have all been to those message boards where the users do nothing but criticize the comments of the other posters. They end up "flaming" (hostile and insulting actions between online users) each other. This negative tone and energy will not draw people to you and will diminish your network.
The power of the online world is to interact with a large group of people at once. When properly done, you can build a powerful network quickly. However, you do not want to build a negative network of people that like to criticize (unless you are a movie or restaurant critic).
3. Read the forum rules prior to posting for the first time - Each forum has their own rules and regulations. There isn't a whole lot to say about this. You just want to make sure that you are not going to do anything that will cause the forum moderator to ban your account.
4. Your responses should be meaningful - You will not be able to create a network if your responses are nothing more than "cool" or "lol." If you are going to post, manners for forums says that you should add something meaningful to the forum thread.
If you cannot add something of value, you are better off not saying anything at all.
5. Be polite with the newbies - Everyone has to start somewhere. If you spend all of your time putting down the newbies, most people will think that you are arrogant or that you are trying to protect your turf. This image is not the one that you want to create online.
Sooner or later, that newbie is going to be a valuable addition to your network. If you take the attitude of helping everyone, it will pay off tenfold.
These simple manners for forums will help you harness the power of the Internet and build your reputation. This reputation will build your network and the image that you are trying to create.