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Building Relationships in a Virtual World – How Online Communities Bring People Together



Building Relationships in a Virtual World – How Online Communities Bring People Together

How Online Communities Bring People Together – The unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic changed many aspects of our daily lives, and we are continuing to feel the after-effects.

Throughout a period of flux when we were not allowed to interact face-to-face in order to safeguard our physical health, tech businesses sought to give us opportunities to make connections and support our mental health.

Companies have come to realise that it is not necessary to be physically present in the workplace to be a productive member of staff, resulting in an increase in remote and hybrid working practices.

However, this needs to be balanced with our human need for social interaction.

Being physically present is now not essential in forging meaningful relationships and our digital world transcends geographical barriers.

So how can we make the most of the available online communities?

Gaming Communities as a Social Lifeline

Gaming has always been popular, especially among young people, although it does transcend age brackets.

Throughout the pandemic it became even more crucial in helping people to feel connected to others.

As video games have improved over time, users now have a multitude of options to choose from, from gaming consoles such as the PlayStation and Xbox, to PC and mobile gaming.

The use of mobile phones and tablets means that these platforms are accessible both at home and while out and about.

Mobile gaming has become increasingly advanced, with role-playing, adventure games, card and casino games rising in popularity.

Users have access to exciting, sophisticated platforms – Canadian company Bodog, for example, offers an immersive digital casino experience that is compatible with mobile devices.

As these gaming experiences have evolved, so too have the forums and communities surrounding them.

Dedicated fanbases for popular games can find like-minded individuals to share tips for tricky challenges or climbing leader boards, as well as discussing favourite games and new releases.

The notion that gaming leads to people becoming socially isolated is an outdated one.

Players connect with each other and forge genuine relationships online, with the common ground of a shared interest in a particular game forming the perfect icebreaker.

Healthy competition provides further motivation for improving users’ skills and helping each other to progress.

Forging connections in the business world

The term networking used to evoke images of business conferences, something that could only be achieved at specific times throughout the year.

The 24/7 nature of online networking has changed all of that; networking can be seen as an ongoing, constantly evolving process.

Our digital age allows professionals to find common ground with their peers, forming fruitful relationships and boosting business prospects at the same time.

There are numerous websites and apps available that seek to create and enhance existing connections between professionals, with LinkedIn arguably the most well-known.

Networking is a more subtle process than it used to be – nobody really appreciates the obvious sales pitch in this day and age – but the beauty of online networking is that finding like-minded individuals and companies can be done through lively debate, sharing engaging and informative content and commenting on others’.

Finding interesting content on communities such as LinkedIn, Reddit and Twitter and engaging with others who share the same ideals as you can lead to productive, long-lasting relationships.

It’s not just about promoting yourself or your company; building a support system of others who can answer a question or help you navigate day-to-day challenges can only benefit your professional development.

Social Media as a Means of Connecting People

Ultimately, the evolution of social media has its basis in the human need to connect with others. The popularity of social media continues to grow, with an estimated 4.59 billion users worldwide in 2022.

The earliest platforms such as Myspace and Friendster were eventually eclipsed by Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, but they all share the same goal; to build connections.

Whilst users can add existing friends and colleagues on these social media sites, there is also the opportunity to join groups with shared interests.

Towns and villages often have their own community groups where people can ask questions or discuss planned developments.

Users who are searching for advice on pet ownership can find groups dedicated to the topic and those who wish to buy and sell can find a marketplace for their particular area.

It is common for individuals to use the internet to look up answers to their queries, but social media can perform this function just as well.

Debating and discussing important issues in these groups helps people to feel validated and builds bonds with others who share their concerns.

Helping People to Feel ‘Heard’ – But Keeping Safe Online is Key

These online communities can sometimes be a very valuable outlet for those struggling with loneliness and isolation in their day-to-day lives.

People may feel that they can be more open and honest online, with a sense of relief that they don’t have to bottle up their feelings.

Communication is also always an option, 24 hours a day. It is not always possible to pick up the phone and call a friend, especially if loneliness is overwhelming in the middle of the night.

Regardless of the forum or platform, people should endeavour to protect themselves online. As users are easily accessible across a variety of platforms, the risk of cyber bullying remains a threat and individuals must be careful not to give out sensitive information over the internet.

However, embracing our digital age can come with many benefits and the value in online social interaction cannot be underestimated.

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Salman Ahmad is a seasoned writer for CTN News, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise to the platform. With a knack for concise yet impactful storytelling, he crafts articles that captivate readers and provide valuable insights. Ahmad's writing style strikes a balance between casual and professional, making complex topics accessible without compromising depth.

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