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31DBBB Day 9: Join A Forum And Start Participating

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This is Day 9 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, a group project 60+ of us bloggers are doing together in an effort to help each other become better bloggers. You can read an overview here.

Today’s assignment is to join a forum and start participating.  Some of you participating may already be  involved in a forum which means you are ahead of the crowd.  If you already belong to a forum spend 10-15 minutes today on the forum asking and answering questions.  If you do not already belong to a forum it is important for you to participate in at least one.  We all have to remember that aside from the technical stuff that all of us struggle with, blogging is about relationships, and forums are a great place to build those relationships.

Here are a few benefits to joining a forum:

  1. You can ask questions. All of us have questions that need answers.  We need technical help, we need topics to write on, we need to know where to find experts, etc…  Forums allow us a place to ask questions where people are gathered around a common purpose.  (Keep in mind not to limit yourself to forums centered on you niche.  If you have tech questions join a forum for techies.  If you need ideas join a forum that discusses issues related to your topic.)
  2. You can answer questions. The best way to build respect and gain trust is to help others solve their problems.  If you don’t know the answer then help them find someone that does.  When others know that you are not just there to score a sale or recruit readers then they will be more open when you have the opportunity to point them to your product or blog for answers.
  3. You get free ideas. Joining a forum allows you to see the problems and questions that people need answers to.  This gives you an unlimited supply of post ideas.  If you can solve problems then people will turn to you for answers and also refer their friends.

Discussion

  1. What are some other benefits of joining a forum?
  2. If you are already a forum member, how often do you participate and how has it helped you?
  3. Can you recommend a forum that has helped you with technical support or site development?

The Extra Mile

A few other things you can do to take your blog, other bloggers, and this project even further today…

  • Reply & give other bloggers feedback on the little things they do.
  • When other bloggers include a link to a new article they’ve posted today, click, read, and comment on it.
  • Check previous posts in the series for new comments.
  • Tweet, share, & bookmark this post.
[photo courtesy of alexdecarvalho]

Larry Westfall is a husband, father to two children, and serves as a youth pastor near Charleston, WV.  His passion is to help those around him to pursue a life of significance.  You can follow him on twitter @LarryWestfallJr or read his blog at http://larrywestfall.com.

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    65 Comments

      • Good reminder Paul. You forums are not something I've yet ventured in too and I have no idea why. Will make today the day that I do.

        • Except that the forums won't let me in.

          I've registered my ID and email address. It says I'm an invalid or inactive user and yet I have no expected welcome mail to activate. So I thought maybe reg had failed so tried again and it says this time that my username (stubbyd) already exists. When I try to change the password it tells me: no-one of that email addrss is reg'd here.

          Hmmm.

          • Stuart, I checked our user registration system and when you registered apparently you left the m off the very end of your email address. I fixed that and had the system send you an email. If you have any other problems, send me an email.

            • Thanks Paul – mea culpa and all that as I usually use an autoform filler and didn't double check this time 🙂

      • Check out your post and your site! Loved it! Your creativity is awesome and your content valid. Thanks for being a ready responder.

      • Hi L.L.,
        I left a comment on your post about the Mother Ship. So creative. And I agree that it is quite a project turning out a creative (I hope) post every day. I'm with you in the expiring state.
        Janis

    • This is something I've been doing since before the web and since my very first steps onto the internets – ohh about 1987 IIRC.

      What I haven't done though – partly as a self-preservation thing and partly to keep some sense of privacy – is I haven't ever linked my ID's on forums back to my blog and have never referenced a post I made except possibly anonymously.

      Anyway – here's my post about this:http://www.churchtechy.com/2010/05/technical-foru… which is also a twofer as it's a list of forums that I use 😉

    • I do participate in forums, but often find feedback condescending rather than engaging. That is a great lesson. To get a real debate going, which is desirable given that debate = connectedness, we must be more open-ended. A nice patronizing point can close down all debate. Rather open up the debate. More than that if you manipulate the debate a little visitors will keep it going for you and that means more traffic, higher rankings, with less effort. I do also feedback constructively to good posts, etc., but generally find it ends there. Dialog is what we must strive for – which seems easier said than done. However, having explored dialog in my MBA, I must say it is a very desirable objective – not only digital but also analogue dialog.

    • One way to facilitate debate is to be controversial – provoke, get it out there, have a go, live at the edge – oh sure you risk having your head blown off by the feedback, but as long as you are not insensitive or in our case, un-biblical, you should be okay – hey the prophets of old did it, so why not us. Controversy provokes debate and gets people talking – see my latest blog on leadership as an example: http://www.4u2live.net/2010/05/stewardship-is-gre

    • I joined the OurChurch.com forums and another forum (waiting to be approved for that one). I will try to spend more time there today when possible, although we have some things going on that will limit my time online for the next few days.

      I think forums are a great place to get ideas for blog posts and form relationships. I'm looking forward to getting to know some people in these two forums and go from there!

      Have a blessed day.

      My post today:http://wp.me/pG2Wu-e0 (Part 2 of "My Second Chance")

    • I've been using forums (mostly tech) for many years. I agree with @Peter that many times the feedback is not nice. Maybe it's a techie thing.
      The 3 forums I take part in (although one I just found today) are: http://www.theworshipcommunity.com/forums/ http://www.praiseandworshipforum.com/forum/ http://www.christianpraiseandworship.com/christia… (the new one I found today)

      No post up as of yet, have worship tech stuff this AM. Hopefully I will have a post later today.
      Peace,
      B

      • You could be rigth that it's a 'tech thing' as I notice teh beliefthat if you're a tech then you should know or should be able to find out.

        If you need to ask then … I'm not sure why this is as in real life (IRL) these folks are probably lovely folks – in fact the very first conference system I was on was via my BBS and folks that were combative / aggressive online were the nicest folks face to face.

        Don't ask me why – that's a job for a shrink 😉

    • I joined a forum today for probably the first time. The great part is that it builds community and allows you talk with others in your niche. If you are seen as a valuable resource within the forum, then chances are your blog will also be seen as valuable to others. Here is my post for today about joining a forum:http://trainingcrucible.blogspot.com/2010/05/p90x

    • I forget how many forums I am apart of. I have signed up for all types that fit an interests or stage of my life at some point. I always have high hopes of learning from others or connecting with a few and most times have found that I don't end up achieving my goals as I had hoped. I usually start off by participating in a few discussions that are already active and then post something. There is one Mommy group that I am apart of that could be used as a model for many others because of how active the members are with helpful responses. I am also currently apart of forums for Mommy bloggers and Twitters and I have either found that they feed back is a bit controversial like @Peter said, condescending or they are just trying to promote themselves and gain followers. I had really high hopes to connect with fellow Mommy bloggers and had hoped to form a group to do 31DBBB! I'm glad that didn't work out. I am enjoying this group so much better because everyone wants to be here to learn, not for the sole purpose of promoting and gaining followers.