Written by:

Holly Macdonald


February 8, 2010

Participating in an online community is really just sticking your neck out.  I, for one, have often stuck my neck out (if you looked closely you can see the scars) and while it is sometimes scary, I hope I keep doing it.  Commenting on other blogs, answering questions on public groups (like LinkedIn), twittering, are some of the ways that we can each stick our neck out.  It is one of the things I love about the state of the internet today.   I find the principles of 2.0 really resonate with me.  Open-source, peer-governing, collaboration, evolution of content, sharing, not hoarding are hallmarks of the web 2.0 movement.  But, it seems like for all of those who are sticking their necks out, there are a dozen lurkers.  Lurking doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but it makes me wonder why lurkers don’t stick their necks out.  What’s the fear?  Maybe I don’t worry about “looking” stupid?  Or, maybe I realize that not many people are actually watching, so it doesn’t really matter.

But I guess I learned somewhere along the way, that what you put in to something is what you will get out of it.  I’m volunteering as a community steward for a new online community in my professional association.  I plan to be actively involved, state my opinions, share my great finds, offer suggestions and help.  I know that others will not agree with my opinions (some of the time!), may slap the consultant label on me (oh, she’s just promoting herself, that’s what consultants do), or not trust my offers of help.  I hope that community members come with an open mind and remember that the secret of any good networking (in person or online “social networking”) is to ask how you can help, not what are you going to get out of it.  

My challenge to others out there.  I’m willing to stick my neck out.  Are you?