Internet forums are becoming an increasingly popular method of open communication and expression. They exist for any and every subject you can think of, ranging from cooking, to healthcare, to extreme sports, to architecture, to events occurring in your local community. It is the dream of most users to become popular on these sites; to become a poster that people look to for advice and internet friendship. Are you just starting out on a forum? Are you having trouble establishing your username across the boards? Read on for important pointers to help you on your quest to forum fame.

Choosing A Forum

The chances are high that you are already a member of a website that offers a forum for user-to-user communication. If you are unsure of this, check popular websites for which you are a member. In the event that you have yet to become a forum member, search for a forum pertaining to one of your hobbies or interests. Generic interests will often have several forums to choose from. Select one that has a decent base of users and a low amount of advertisements. Follow the registration process; often as easy as entering your desired username, password, and e-mail account. After your account is activated, you will be able to utilize the forum.

Identifying Pre-Existing Members of Authority

Do not immediately jump into your attempt at forum fame; take the time to establish who's who already on the forum. After a few days of frequent viewing, you should have an idea of the active posters and their methods of posting. Just because a user pops up in many forum posts does not mean that they are a respected member of the community; they can just as easily be a spammer (in which case, you should do the opposite of what they're doing). Keep in mind you will be in direct competition with the pre-established members for authority, but that is not reason to ignore them or treat them in an unfair way. After all, the golden rule of respect clearly states "treat others the way you want to be treated."

Introduce Yourself

Nearly all forums have a designated "introduction" or "new user" section. This will be the first place you should post. Write a brief introduction of yourself. Speak just as you would if you were meeting a new person or group of people in real life. Do not lie or exaggerate; this would be a costly mistake that will jeopardize your trustworthiness later on. Do not be impatient while waiting for responses to your introduction. The first post will always take the longest, which is true of all sections on any given forum. Once the momentum gets going, you should get a healthy amount of "hello"s from the caring members that take the time to read the introductions of their younger peers.

Answer Questions

Forums are great resources for people that need a quick response to their questions; some users will respond in a matter of minutes, or even seconds. After your introduction has been established, it is time to join the workforce of answering questions on your forum. Search for new topics in need of a quality response. After having assisted quite a few people, you will begin to be recognized as a resourceful member. Do not expect this to take shape in a couple of days; it will often take a month or more of adequate posting to achieve this small level of success. Do not post at an extremely frequent rate; people will view this as spam, especially if your answers are short and vague. Take the time to thoroughly explain whatever it is that you are writing about.

Write Your Own Topics

While you may begin to post your own topics (also called 'threads' on most forum sites) at any point in the process, it will be of the best benefit for you to start at this point. Obviously, you have to have posted one thread by now (your introduction). Now is the time to get a couple of quality threads that have your name attached to them as the author. Take the time to make sure that there are not already threads pertaining to the exact thing you plan on writing about. Duplicate threads can be seen as spam, and aren't looked upon positively by the posting community. Only have a couple threads in your name at one time; if you post too many threads at once, then you will be seen as a spammer that is desperate for attention.

Greet New Members

By now, you will have a small following of posters that check out your threads and look to you for advice. This is all great, and can only improve (so long as you continue applying the previous steps to your writing habits). We once again turn to the introductions forum section, where you originally bestowed upon the forum your own greeting. Now is your chance to snag a following of users from the most vulnerable crowd on the forum. By typing a semi-formal personalized welcome to the site, you are essentially promoting your profile in a polite manner. After the user briefly observes your profile, they will usually continue on to viewing your threads, and seeing what a big asset you've become to the forum. Congratulations, you've just gotten some new members to immediately point you out as an authority figure. You are almost done in your quest for forum fame.

Donate To The Site

Large forum websites take an incredible amount of monthly expense to run. What may have started as a side project for the original administrator may have turned into a full-time chore. As such, inexperienced administrators and experienced administrators alike often have financial shortcomings when running the sites. By this point, a smart administrator will have implemented a simple donation system. Any user who has felt a benefit by participating in the forum will be capable of contributing money to help keep it alive. In return to the generous monetary assistance, forums offer perks for donating members. Ranging from exclusive sections to emoticons, avatars, and ad-blocking features, these are yet another enticement for you to share with the community. Showing this kind of dedication will put you one step closer to becoming a highly-respected forum member.

Become A Moderator or Administrator

More often than not, administrators will feel an increasing burden as their forum expands beyond their expectations. Eventually, the growth will put them in a situation in which they must appoint another person to assist them or even take over their position. It is anyone's guess who will be given such high positions; whether it be a respected member like you, or a friend of the original administrator that doesn't know a thing about web hosting. Of course, you can only hope that it is the former situation, not the latter, that is taking place. If you have showed enough dedication and respect to forum members, and have frequently contributed valuable information for the good of the community, you will be a strong candidate for a moderator or administrator. Keep in mind that once you are given one of these positions, you will have an obligation to enforce the community and its rules, whether it is against your own willing or personal opinion of the situation. Becoming a moderator or administrator will literally set you up as a highly-authoritative member. People will look up to you for questions, to settle arguments, to assist them with forum usage, to politely greet them to the community, and so on. This commitment is to be taken seriously, and is not to be abused (perhaps a good excuse to secure your password better, eh?).

Be Patient, It's A Commitment After All

I must stress that respect is only earned, not bought. Do not give away insanely-high amounts of money with little community contribution to expect to become famous over night. There is not guarantee that you will ever become an important member to your desired forum. You will only be able to appreciate the rewards after you have given your all to establish yourself in the online community. If you have a short attention span, internet fame is not your calling. Most videos don't go viral over night, so it is not expected that you will "go viral" on your forum just as quickly either. I wish you the best of luck, and that you will become a resourceful member of the growing online community; every contribution is appreciated (except spam, of course!).