Yesterday I launched a discussion area, with the vague notion that there might be a number of people interested in discussing issues of importance to me: empowering yourself, finding other people doing the same thing , and sharing tips. I wasn’t really sure what would happen, especially since I had added the requirement of posting a backstory about yourself as a condition of registration. The reasoning behind that: only people who really want to participate will follow-through, which helps self-select the type of people that would make the forum work.
The first day, we had about 8 people sign up, using various pseudonyms. The backstories themselves have been wonderful to read…I’m asking permission from people to post them publically. The shape of the forum is changing as I’m adding new discussion areas, but so far this is what I’ve got:
- Background Stories — Each Active Member has a folder that has their backstory (what they’re doing, how they got there, and where they want to go). The idea behind this is that it becomes an area where one can maintain their personal continuity through dialogue with other members. This is something that’s often lost in other forums, I find.
Talk It Up! — The general discussion board. I’m realizing that this is an area where I can start to formulate thoughts before I write about them on this blog. That other people can do the same, and also comment, is very cool. Not that it’s yet happened, but the potential is there. This is also good in the sense that it means the forum becomes part of my personal workflow, and thus will retain its own vibrancy.
The University — I’ve mentioned before that I’d like to start my own school. While I don’t have the bucks, I can start a forum for posting the curriculum and ideas behind it. I’m imagining this might end up being a cool repository for people to collect tidbits they’ve learned. For example, “how to start a web design agency”, or “how to become a graphic designer”. Stuff like that. I’m leaving this folder public read-only, because I believe in sharing this kind of information. Only active members can create and post, however.
Jobs & Project Offerings — One of the rules that I’m maintaining is NO SOLICITATION FOR WORK. However, one thing I’ve learned from the New Media Group is that people inevitably will have work that they need to have done, and once you’ve gotten to know someone you’ll want to ask. So I’ve created a forum area for posting project and job listings. There aren’t any there yet, but at least there’s a place for it. I figure as people post more about what they’re doing, ask questions, and we critique each others career strategies, we’ll get an idea of who to ask for what.
Off Topic — You always need one of these in any forum, as community begins to form. It’s too soon to tell what kind of community we may or may not have, but I’m obsessive about setting up forums and I had to create it :-)
p>So that’s what’s going on! The forums are very new, and they are visible only to people who have taken the time to register and post their backstory. More as events warrant. I’ve missed adminstrating a forum…hopefully this is an energizing experience.
» Read How To Join no lurkers…sorry!