Tips for Participating in an Online Community

Mar 27, 2020 | Colleen Young | @colleenyoung | Comments (1)

3.6.20. About Connect Post. Woman with Hijab at Computer.

You’ve joined Mayo Clinic Connect. Now what?

Here are a few tips on how to be a contributing member of a community that works a safe space where members support one another and together we help improve our health and well-being.

Share your experiences 

A community thrives on members sharing their experiences. 

  • Let your vulnerabilities show. By sharing openly and honestly, you give others the courage to share the hard stuff, too. 
  • Recognize your knowledge. While you may have questions, you also have experience and knowledge to share.
  • Don't tell others what to do. It helps to use phrases like: “In my experience...” or “What worked for me was…” or “In my situation...”

Think conversation

While most of the sharing in the community is done by writing messages, imagine a conversation. Imagine yourself speaking directly to the person to whom you’re responding or that you’re sitting around the kitchen table with a group of friends having coffee.

  • Listen (read) carefully to what the other person is saying and perhaps what is left unsaid.
  • Share your thoughts while imagining their situation.
  • Ask a question at the end of your reply to get more clarity and to keep the conversation going.

Be clear

There are things you can do to help make sure your message comes across as you intend it.

  • Make the title descriptive: If you start a new discussion, use a title that clearly states what you want to talk about. For example: “Looking for tips to improve my sleep” “Just diagnosed with bladder cancer: What’s next?”
  • Spell out abbreviations and acronyms the first time you use them. 
  • Proofread and check spelling before posting your reply. You have a 30-minute window to edit it after posting.
  • Got a long message to share? Add paragraph breaks to make it easier to read. Or consider sharing the main points and writing more as the conversation develops.

Learn more about how to use Mayo Clinic Connect

Once you get the hang of posting a message and replying, you may want to learn about the other things you can do in the community.

Be safe

It’s a good idea to follow good online safety practices when participating in an online community or social network. We have guidelines for keeping Connect safe, welcoming, respectful and inclusive.

Get to know fellow members

The community works best as you get to know fellow members. After you’ve introduced yourself and connected with others, come back to see how people are doing.

  • Login regularly (daily, weekly, whatever works for you).
  • Check in on members. You might simply ask “How are you doing?”

As they say, “sharing is caring.” What are your tips for contributing to a thriving, supportive community online?


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