Timely and relevant online groups help us make essential connections for collaboration, learning, and sharing information. In many situations, an individual or company may set up an online group to identify industry specific needs, which may help others to contribute knowledge and expertise for collaborative work. Finding online groups to match your objectives will simply require diligence and possibly trying out.
Here are some tips and examples to join or create an online group, followed by free online group services.
Start a group. Does the possibility of starting a group of your own sound daunting? You may not find a group, so creating a group is an option. You will have to invite people and send out announcements to attract interest. Keep in mind that initiating a group will require a little more up front work than joining an existing group but the rewards could be greater.
Example: On LinkedIn, a member created an online group associated with the company he works for to provide a collaborative platform for Internet marketing professionals. The online group, eMarketing Association Network Group is the third largest group on LinkedIn.
Search for a group.The power of search in online group services will give you many possibilities to locate and engage with others in your area of interest. See if you can find an active group first.
Example: Try a sample search, 'homes & restoration' in one of the online group services. On Yahoo! Groups, I discovered CommunityForkLift, an organization devoted to recycling building materials and sustainable community initiatives. The online group gives visibility for community outreach, construction industry resources, and home remodeling choices.
Get invited to a group through a friend or colleague. Collaborative groups grow through networking, invitation, and referrals. You may want to contact friends or colleagues you know with similar interests and engage with a group already started.
Example: A business acquaintance invited me to join an organizing committee of professionals hosting business educational seminars and the committee discussions are conducted through Google Groups. This invitation became a pathway to be introduced to other people with similar interests.
Next, I suggest reviewing online group services to help you accomplish your objectives. Free and popular hosted group services for public or private use will offer searchable features to locate people or groups specific to your area of interest. These online group services were selected based on the variety of groups and most widely used services. Extra online group services and tools range among each of them.