There are many different ways to have fun and socialize on the internet. One of the most fulfilling things that you can do is join one of the many social groups that exist.
What is an internet social group? These are a whole bunch of people who share their experiences, thoughts and beliefs over the internet. Usually they are united by a common theme or cause (or many causes). Sometimes these themes are as simple as "friendship" or "internet addiction", but they can also be united by a desire to recruit Christians, deliver a message or protest a wrong.
Some examples of groups are Random Acts Of Kindness, Misker’s Denizens, Garden of Friendship and Hearts Of Gold. Other groups include Kindred Spirits, Inner Dreams, Web Addicts, Net Dudes and so on.
Generally, a group is started by one or a small group of "founders". The founders lay out the rules and create a basic website, then recruit charter members, who then recruit additional members. Ideally, what you wind up with is a focused, motivated group who performs the duties and tasks required for group membership.
Being part of an internet social group means more than just putting a link or webring fragment on a web site. It means more than joining an Egroup list and reading the messages that people send. And it certainly means more than a nice looking graphics.
Each group has a set of bylaws (rules and regulations) and most have a creed, which is the mission statement describing what the group is supposed to accomplish. For example, Random Acts Of Kindness exists to do exactly what the name implies: deliver acts of kindness to people. This could consist of guestbook signings, articles, giving stationary or gifts, or any number of other small, thoughtful things to do.
Usually a group has committees and you have the option of joining one or more. Being in a committee has more responsibilities than just being a member. For example, if you are on the Welcoming Committee, you will be expected to sign new members guestbooks with welcome messages, or if you are on the newsletter committee you will be writing articles and contributing materials.
The main point of all of this is to get people to be active in one way or another to the group. It’s fine and dandy to have a thousand members, but if only ten of them are actually doing anything … it’s really not a very useful thing.
Presumably you join a group for a reason. Perhaps you like the people, you want someone to communicate with or you like signing guestbooks. Perhaps you want to contribute to the causes that the group supports.
Well, then please contribute. This is actually very important to the survival of a group. People need to put in effort. They will find that effort magnified many times. That’s the beauty of these groups! If everyone does just a little bit every day or once a week or whatever, then it’s magnified by the number of people in the group. You get each person in a hundred member group to sign one guestbook per day randomly, that’s 100 guestbooks per day, or over 36,500 per year! That’s a lot of guestbooks!
That’s the idea. Figure out how you can contribute, then do so. Personally, I’ve joined half a dozen of these groups. I write an article a day and send it to each of them. Why? Because I can help a number of people that I like with their common internet questions and concerns. I can contribute in a very positive way.
Other people choose to contribute differently. Let’s say you are on the graphics committee, then contribute a couple of graphics a week at least. On the welcoming committee? Sign a dozen guestbooks each Saturday. Just a plain old member and not on any committees? Then pick something that the group needs, perhaps a different thing each week, and contribute it.
Don’t have the time to do anything? Then I have a tough question for you – why are you a member of the group? I mean, why join something that you don’t want to give anything to? Take a look at it – even if you can only do ten minutes of something per week – you can at least sign a guestbook or two. Just visit one site of a group member per week, look it over, and sign their guestbook with a short, nice comment. That alone will help brighten someone’s day!