Article : Forum Readers

Creative Arts Solution
a non-governmental foundation
Article : Forum Readers
Author : Olusola David, Ayibiowu 
Year : August, 2017
Edtion: 7
Published: Online by Creative Arts Solution Foundation

Alternative Article Title Update:  Forum Readers of Today
Dated Updated:  Dec 2017
Author : Olusola David, Ayibiowu

See links pages: Questions and Answers,
Political Opinions, Global Events, Religious belief,

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Forum readers it’s simply an avenue where people are free to exchange opinion and ideas on a particular issue. This could be an important forums for political debate, religious belief, Sports, Global events, Question and Answers. The Greek word for forum are αγορά.
There has been much debate surrounding the potential benefits and costs of online interaction. The present research argues that engagement with online discussion forums can have underappreciated benefits for users’ well-being and engagement in offline civic action, and that identification with other online forum users plays a key role in this regard. Users of a variety of online discussion forums participated in this study. We hypothesized and found that participants who felt their expectations had been exceeded by the forum reported higher levels of forum identification. Identification, in turn, predicted their satisfaction with life and involvement in offline civic activities.

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Online interaction
Can human interaction over the internet be personally and socially transformative? The introduction of new, disruptive technology is always accompanied by a deep suspicion – for example, the telephone was greeted by claims that it would break up home life and stop people from visiting friends and the internet has been no exception to this rule. Debates about the supposed pros and cons of internet-based interaction have focused primarily on individual well-being, largely ignoring the potential benefits at more inclusive levels of analysis (community and society). We propose that one of the key benefits of online interaction has been overlooked by researchers: its potential to contribute to increased engagement with civic activities. Our contribution in this paper is to demonstrate that online interaction can foster offline engagement at the same time, counter-intuitively, as it fosters individual well-being.
eBay Worldwide In the present research we focus on one particular mode of online interaction – participation in online discussion forums – to consider when, why, and how they may transform their users. Online forums have been in existence for many years. Although seemingly eclipsed in the past decade by social networking sites such as Facebook, forums are still regularly used by around 20% of online users in the US, and about 10% of online users in the UK, attesting to the value that users continue to derive from them. This value may stem, at least in part, from the fact that forums represent one of the few remaining spaces online that afford the user the potential for anonymous interaction.

On individual well-being
How does online interaction impact an individual’s well-being? Intuitively, one might expect that any form of interaction, regardless of setting, is probably an aid to well-being. In offline settings, researchers have demonstrated that those who communicate more and have close supportive relationships are less stressed, happier and psychologically healthier.
But some have argued for an “internet paradox”: the idea that more interaction online translates into reduced well-being because it disrupts interaction offline. If time spent interacting online comes at the expense of vital everyday face-to-face interaction with family and friends, there could be negative implications for users’ psychological wellbeing downstream. There is certainly evidence that “too much” online activity can result in a range of negative effects on users. Heavy internet users report feeling more isolated from society and report fewer interactions with family and friends. Time spent online has been shown to be associated with increased depression and other emotional problems and impaired academic performance.
In sum, research shows that online interaction impacts both positively and negatively upon users’ well-being. It is not so much a question of whether online interaction impacts well-being, but when, why and how it does.
Effects on offline (civic) engagement
Alongside effects on individual well-being, we seek to better understand when and how users of online discussion forums become motivated to work on behalf of the issues discussed in those forums. Such civic activities in related offline settings might include willingness to sign petitions, willingness to donate money, and other forms of civic-minded collective action.
As noted, there is less evidence addressing these society-level effects than evidence addressing personal-level effects. But there is suggestive evidence that online engagement can translate into offline collective action, such as civic and political participation.
In addition to these suggestive correlational studies, some “natural experiments” have provided opportunities to test a causal relationship between internet use and civic engagement more carefully. In one illustrative intervention study (Hampton & Wellman, 2003), a suburb of Toronto had been turned into a “wired suburb” when residents were offered a package of online services, including high-speed internet access, videophone, online health advice, and local online discussion forums. After this intervention, follow-up data suggested that the internet actually stimulates more offline contact (resonating with the debate reviewed above) and promotes collective action to solve community problems offline.
Mediating role of forum identification
Forum identification refers to the extent to which users include the forum in the self-concept. Joining the forum is not synonymous with becoming a high identifier; active members of the forum may vary in their identification. Because a given user may be strongly identified with one forum but only weakly identified with another, identification is not a stable personality trait.
First, at the individual level, group identification has been robustly linked to health and well-being, both in terms of effective coping with situational stressors and in the longer term.
For example, a significant body of work is accumulating that suggests social group memberships, and more specifically, engagement in activities associated with such groups, can play a significant protective role in both the onset of and recovery from depression. Our prediction that identification mediates the positive impact of online discussion forums on individual well-being derives from this well established and robust connection.
The advantages of online communication
It may allow people to fulfill needs that are not being met offline. A second theoretical perspective that complements the social identity approach. This holds that people may trade off ‘richness’ of the medium against its ability to satisfy their felt needs. For example, people with an obscure interest may join an online discussion forum to obtain information or social support that is not available in their own community. Because online communication provides disparate gratification opportunities compared with traditional media, individuals may find it superior to face-to-face communication, if that richer medium is not considered fit for purpose .
Forums have five major benefits to a webmaster which include:
1. Allowing you to get educational information on your site.
2. Allowing you to increase traffic through repeat visitors.
3. Allowing you to capture email address and details of posters.
4. Allowing you to gain more creditability.
5. Allowing you to build relationship with visitors.

Synthesis and predictions
First, regarding motivations for joining the forum, we predicted that participants would report having initially joined primarily to seek information. Second, regarding fulfilment of these goals, we predicted that participants would report that their information needs had been very well met. Since serving as a clearinghouse for user-generated information is one of the most straightforward and easily fulfilled functions that forums provide.
Participants and procedure
Participants’ reasons for initially joining their forum were assessed by asking them to rate four possible motivations on a scale from not at all
To very much. These reasons comprised: To seek information, to share information, to form or maintain relationships, and because there were no opportunities to meet likeminded people in their area.
With lots of information and discussion being exchanged in your forums visitors will return again and again to see replies to their posts, read others posts and basically to see if anything has changed. This creates a sticky website which is what every webmaster wants, as new members join your forum your traffic will gradually grow week after week.
In most forums people who want to post have to register by giving their email address and names, this allows you to follow up and email them in the future with information about your product or service. They won't consider it as spam because they know who you are.
Forums allow you to gain creditability with your websites visitors as you can reply to posts that are looking for help and by doing this you're letting everyone know that you are an expert on the topic of your website. They're much more likely to buy from you if you know what you're talking about!
Building relationships with your visitors is easy with forums. If you post regularly and actively discuss different topics with your forum members then gradually you'll get to know them and more importantly they'll get to know you. People are much more likely to buy a product or service when someone they know sells or recommends it.
Onto the downside of having a forum. Creating successful forums is not by any sense of the word easy, they involve a tremendous amount of work to get them started. Nobody likes to post on an empty forum so you've to actively promote it and create lots of topics for discussion yourself, if these topics are interesting then you should get a few replies. You've to do this self posting on a continuous basis for months, sometimes weeks but mostly months before a steady flow of topics and replies are posted by your forums members.
That's only to get people talking, next you've to administer it or moderate it as it's usually called. This means making sure posts are appropriate and that members are not spamming your forum. This has to be done on a daily basis and if your forum gets busy it's going to be very time consuming. Once again the main disadvantage with forums is the amount of time and effort required to get them started and maintain them.
However don't let that put you off the idea, forums are great for increasing your traffic and increasing the profits you make on your website.
After the initial time involved to start it up and the time it takes to get people to talk you'll start to see the benefits that your forum is bringing and the time needed to maintain it will seem less and less each time you see your traffic and profits going up.

Fulfilment of expectations
Participants may be asked to rate whether their expectations had been met as follows:
  • It has fallen short of my expectations
  • It has met my expectations
  • It has exceeded my expectations
We considered the mechanisms that may underlie two benefits of online forum involvement: well-being (satisfaction with life) and civic engagement in offline settings. First, we found that the factor that best predicted forum identification was the extent to which people felt the forum had met their expectations about forming new relationships (i.e., the social aspect of forum use rather than the instrumental aspect).

Creative Arts Solution foundation does not necessarily endorse, support, or agree with the opinions or statements expressed in an illegal manner. Everyone on this forums are responsible for the opinions and ideas shared on this forum Readers. The author of this forums will not be held responsible for illegal or disruptive posting/shared. Any information placed online is solely the view of those who post it.

By participating, you grant to the unrestricted right to use, reproduce, modify, translate, display, perform, transmit and distribute any material you post to a forum readers in any present or future medium and for any purpose, including commercial purposes.

Users of discussion forums may find themselves with improved well-being and may also find themselves empowered and galvanized to work for the forum cause offline.



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