HubPages Community - Perception
What is Community?
You see I don't think we have a community here at HubPages. There I've said it. Now here comes the barrage of complaints and vilifications about me not understanding what goes on at HubPages from a community point of view. But hang on a minute have you ever considered what actually happens here at HubPages?
Let me define Community. What is Community? It is one or a combination of these:
- A body of people living in one locality - if we stretch it to breaking point I suppose we could say we all live at HubPages.
- The locality in which that body of people live - again we could possibly classify HubPages as a place.
- People having common rights - I suppose this gets closest.
- A body of persons leading a common life - it is the very fact that we lead different lives that makes this such a great place to communicate.
- A group of people who have common interests, characteristics or culture - wrong there then, it is our differences that we celebrate.
- A group of people having cultural, religious, ethnic or whatever interests in common - wrong again, Hubpages embraces all of every one of those.
We are more a diversity than a community.
But I reckon we are a commune (in the widest sense of the word). Why? Because commune is:
- A group of people living together (interacting on HubPages), sharing possessions (our thoughts and aspirations) and responsibilities (keeping HubPages spamless), [and here is the clincher] for the benefit of the group as a whole.
- To talk or converse intimately (we sure do that) or exchange intimate thoughts (well all thoughts are intimate in the personal sort of way).
- To partake of Communion (some do, some don't - but we all have the opportunity to commune with our Gods, if we have any).
So I don't think you come to HubPages for community. I think you come here to commune. And if you are here to do that, there is no better place. For it is a place brimming over with opportunities for you to do just that.
The Forums Commune
If you are at HubPages to interact with other Hubbers, the entire group, then this is the place to commune. This is an interactive arena for the broadest spectrum of debate. And there is an etiquette to follow. Do not think you are going to get anywhere if you think you can come and spam. Strictly verbotten.
It is also sensible to note that you will get the best out of this commune if you understand what the other Hubbers think of you. Their perception of you as a contributor will go a long way to ensuring you get what you deserve out of your experience in the Forums.
I must admit that there are a few cliques here. If you are a new contributor then you are unlikely to receive much feedback to begin with. Over the years group love-in's and in-house jokes and themes have developed and you will be lucky to get a share of the love that exists. It is not a reflection on you, it is an inevitability of shared interests and humour.
Keep at it and you will gather around you a group that you find you can commune with and in so doing create your own forum clique. All in all it is the perception of the forum users that you are the new boy or girl and that, until you prove otherwise, you are an interloper.
Answers and Questions Commune
This commune seems to be the place for the disaffectioned. There are a whole host of questions that just go unanswered. They seem to be like falling trees in a forest - they go unheard. I am unsure how many seasoned veterans - the ones with the answers perhaps - frequent this commune. It seems that the majority of questions come from new arrivals trying to establish a communication line with others on HubPages.
It may be that the perception of other Hubbers is that the majority of questions are futile - and I must admit that the quality of questions is at least variable. Basically a fair few of the questions are not questions at all. The perception here of you as a Hubber is determined by your ability to actually ask a decent question.
Your perception may be that you have asked the deepest of philosophical questions or maybe you wished to ask a frivolous question, but the main thing to do is to ask a question. If you do not know what a question is, I would suggest using one of the following starter words: Who, How, When, Why, Which, Where, at least then you will be on the road to getting an answer.
To use this commune to it's best advantage it is worth taking the time to review some hubs and decide which Hubber to ask a question of and direct your question directly to them. At least then you will know that at least one person has seen the question.
Perception of Fans
Using the facility to follow particular writers once you have viewed their musings is a great way to increase your own visibility as a Hubber. You can attract internal viewers by encouraging others to view your profile by becoming their fan. [It also could have a beneficial effect on backlinks]. But use it wisely.
There are those that use this facility in a scatter-gun way. They flit from one Hubber to the next becoming their 'fan', never leaving any fan mail and then flitting on to the next Hubber. It is easy to tell who these are by just going to their profile and looking at their Hubtivity. I am sure it takes more than 30 seconds to read an article before becoming a fan. The perception in this case is that a 'fan' they are not.
To be perceived as a true fan you must leave fan mail. And this fan mail must give some feedback to your writer. Anything less and you have wasted a great opportunity to gain a fan of your own. As a writer I am much more likely to visit you if you have said something that makes me think that you will be writing something that I want to read. This is not done by giving me a web address but leaving me to press your profile picture.
It is also relevant to leave constructive and content comments as any feedback from you will ensure that the writer continues to cater for your needs. The writer may not know it consciously but they will be writing, just for you, in the future.
Perception of Comments
Much of what was said about fan mail can be said for comments. This is your opportunity to get down and personal with the writer because they have an opportunity to converse on the subject with you. However, there is one piece of feedback that is missing and that is direct communication to you when one of your comments has had a counter-comment added.
I know there is the 'Feed' tab at the top of all pages but how many of you use this. I think very few know it's function and even less use it's functionality in the way intended.
Comments again allow you to place your link on anothers Hub. But more importantly it gives the commentator a chance to show what they are about. I will normally access the profile of the commentator if the comment has relevance to me. I also track to the profile of those that make relevant comments on Hubs of other Hubbers that I view.
The perception I have of the writer always has a bearing on my future actions. I know that to be the case for everyone.
But it does not stop there. If you comment then you should also take the little bit of extra time to vote up, vote down, and vote on whether the hub was useful, funny, awesome and / or beautiful. If I see a comment added to one of my hubs but see that no assessment has been made I think that perhaps the comment is there just for the sake of making a comment and leaving your profile picture on my Hub.
Which brings me to the perception I have of serial commentators. Those that flit and fly. The ones that leave 2 or 3 or few words in more of a general comment way. I may be wrong but my perception is that you are using my hub purely to get your name out there on as many hubs as possible. Your comments could be achieved by a single press of one of the buttons. If you have comments and you want a positive response then make those comments at least a decent sentence long.
Your Use of HubPages as a Commune
All of the above should be considered if you are to get the best out of HubPages for your needs. I think, however, that your best way to get the most out of HubPages is to follow the following mantra (and I paraphrase a famous quotation):
"It is not what the commune can do for me but what I can do for the commune"!