After a long day at work or in class it’s nice to just kick back and browse the web. For a dental student or professional, there are hundreds of places where like-minded individuals can get together to share ideas and hold discussions. So how do you decide where to go to discuss dentistry? Here are five essential things to look out for when deciding on the best forum or dentistry related website to hang out online.
Check out the Front Page
Look at the front page first to find out whether it’s a forum, online page or group. If it’s a well-established and up-to-date website, you will see the most recent posts at the top of the page. Check out the timeline of posts. An active community will be more likely to be posting things. If there is a five-week difference between posts, then it might be better to look somewhere else.
Don’t Rely on the Popularity of the Parent Website
Everybody might be on Facebook, but you cannot assume it will provide the perfect online group for you. Even the most popular dental groups may not have that many likes. So there will be fewer active conversations taking place. Reddit also has a low number of members in the general dentistry section.
See what the “Stickied” Posts are
Some of the most popular posts or active threads on a forum take permanent pride of place in the top slot on the page and are referred to as ‘’sticky threads’’. The best online communities have sticky threads which are useful for the readers. So check dental forums for the quality of their sticky threads and see if any relate specifically to your interest in the dentistry field.
Are You Enjoying this Conversation?
Assess the quality of the threads carefully. Sometimes many are just people asking boring questions. However, if there are questions, that you have opportunity to answer, then dive in and reply to them. However, steer clear of answering too many personal questions or joining in discussions about which you feel uncomfortable discussions. In other words, stick to casual conversations which give you peace of mind and enjoyment.
Agree to Disagree
On any online community, people agree or disagree. Disagreement need not be an issue if people are careful about handling the debate. Avoid places where everybody starts lashing out at the original post without offering constructive criticism. Sometimes people get too excited about their argument and their desire to solve the problem posed. This can be a red flag, especially if they use abusive language.