Esports Crash Course - Building Online Communities
Over the course of the last decade, online communities have exploded in popularity. From the transition from online forums, to Facebook, to Discord, there has always been a place to connect with one another and talk about common interests and hobbies. With gaming and esports, finding an online community can be easy with so many different methods of communication. But how reliable is that community? Is it safe? Those are some of the questions you might bring up when looking to build a community, or parents of youth players can mention when their children say they want to play esports. In this article, you will learn what an online community is, and how to start an online community safely.
An online community is a community whose members interact with each other primarily via the internet. Typically, when people look for an online community, they are looking for people with like-minded ideas and common interests to them so they can build friendships. There are online communities for any hobby, from sports, to reading, to now video games and esports. With esports gaining popularity, people want others to talk about recent updates, upcoming events, or even watch professional matches with one another in a virtual space. Joining a community is one thing. But what about starting your own online community?
There’s many ways to go about starting an online community. Maybe you want to start one for your favorite game. Or maybe you are building an esports league and want players, coaches, and managers to join to get updates for when matches are scheduled and for one another to get in contact with each other.
If you are looking at starting a community for your esports league, it is best to poll your league members to see where they are the most comfortable using. It could be Facebook, Discord, or even Google Chats! Once you figure out which platform would be the best for your community, it’s easy to create. Just follow official instructions provided by your platform of choice on how to create a server, group, or whatever the proper terminology is.
• Official Discord servers for games, like the VALORANT Discord from Riot Games.
• Community-lead Facebook groups for games
• Finding a community on Reddit by using their search function to find a “sub-reddit”
Navigating the space of online communities can be difficult for anyone. Regardless of how long you’ve been using the internet, your knowledge of the hobby, or how invested into the hobby you are, there’s always bound to be road blockers. However, not everything is negatives. The benefits of online communities for many can outweigh any negatives that come along the way. Lets talk about a few:
• Finding like-minded people virtually, which gives you the ability to stay connected as little or often as you’d like.
• In some cases, being able to remain anonymous online. Some folks like that extra layer of protection to be able to enjoy their hobby without webbing in their real-life activities.
• Knowing that there is a permanent home for your hobby online when global conditions can be unpredictable.
• Not always being able to meet up physically with friends you have made through online communities could potentially have a negative impact on friendships.
• With virtual communities, you may not always have direct contact with fellow members. So if someone is offline for longer than usual, you may not be able to reach them outside of your group.
• Online communities can be deleted at any time, and if you have not connected with anyone outside of it, you lost all your friendships.
With those to think about, it is important to know what you want your community to look like, and how long you would like to run it for. If it’s temporary, it is good to inform your members about any potential deletion dates that could come down the line. But the positives in some scenarios outweigh the negatives, and could be meaningful for many.