Friday, March 18, 2011

How to give back to the online community?

We always like to be in the receiving end of things. It is easier to take than to give.

But they both go hand in hand. Without someone giving, there will be no taking.

Whatever small thing that you know (no matter how insignificant to you) would be so precious and hard to find for someone else. For example something that you figure out on yourself. So just give out the information to this world and any doubts/ clarifications can be given afterwards when people who need it contact you for further information.

In this post, I tell about the ways that a person can give back to the online community from which he takes so much.

Before we go further, I would like to say that the effort counts more than what is done. What matters is giving, not what is given.

That said there are diverse interests among human beings. There is an expert inside us on atleast one thing - through interest, experience, knowledge, friends etc.

There are a lot of platforms now on the internet that make the process of giving back to the community the help received.

Wikipedia - Classic! This is the ideal example of Crowd Sourcing and giving back to the online community. You can create an account in Wikipedia and edit or create articles.

Yahoo! Answers - It has points system and has a large user community. Often you can see this in Search results. It has been there for a long time and you can contribute in a world of topics.

Aardvark - Only recently I discovered this website. It was started independently and then bought out by Google.

Quora - This is growing to be a great community of people answering questions.

Note: Difference between Aardvark and Quora is that Aardvark is more about short questions like "What movie should I see today?" and you get immediate answers (usually in a matter of minutes). Quora is more like Yahoo Answers and takes a standard approach to answering questions. - I am not familiar with this, but have got some good answers from here.

Twitter - In a short character count of 140, you can give so much of knowledge to the world. There is a google chrome extension - InboxQ that simplifies answering through twitter.

You can use these services to answer questions that are raised by people. Lets face it, there are somethings to which we cannot say "Google It!". I have been using most of these services to share with people what I know.

Last but the best... Blog. Blog about anything and everything that interests you, annoys you, makes you happy and anything (Of course you can do the same with Twitter also). For example, if an mp3 player makes you happy blog about it and the people who come across that post would know that this mp3 player is good.

So start contributing to the online community. And you know what, you can learn a lot through these questions.

What do you think? I have given what I know here. You can add to this list through the comments. Maybe this could be a good start or tell about how you contribute to the online community already.