The resource board is an excellent meeting place for those of us in this industry. Filled with delectable bytes of invaluable information, resource boards are mini libraries and communities. It only takes a few minutes to register, a little longer to choose a cool nick; and, you're ready to greet the entire world. Literally.
The message forums give webmasters a chance to relax when they need a break, but don't want to leave their computers. We go to the boards to see what's going on with our friends, our enemies, and the industry in general. Gems of information are passed from one board to another. Legalities are discussed, marketing techniques. Who shaved? Who's new? Is anyone making money this week? Gossip is always good for a crowd draw, as are pissing contests. Most of the time, webmasters want to connect with other webmasters.
To a new webmaster, message boards can be overwhelming. This wondrous changeling we call the 'net moves very quickly in some ways, at a snail's pace in others. Those of us who have been around for a while just call it Internet Time. Constantly evolving, forever changing its mind. When you're very, very new, there's a sense of urgency surrounding you. So much to learn and a feeling that the Internet's gas tanks will run dry if you don't get 'it' right this minute.
How is a newbie supposed to fit into this world, where the entry rules don't include your former credentials?
It makes no difference who you are or what you look like. Your religious principles or lack thereof have no bearing on acceptance into the world of adult webmasters. We don't work in the same office; yet, we have many similarities. Our company names are different; but, we're all salespeople. We come from everywhere and nowhere. Our commonality is what we do for a living, the fraternity of porn.
Many posters pick out juicy news articles and post them for our convenience. Dropping by to say hello is a great way to connect with the Internet Universe. People from all over the world gather at the boards, the water cooler of the Internet.
You've been lurking and reading for the past few months, as you struggle with the concepts behind marketing and sales and you're afraid to speak. You've visited many boards, where newbies become appetisers. There are boards so tight, it's almost incestuous.
Suddenly, your nick doesn't seem so cool and you've got nothing to say. Feeling stupid, your fingers hover over the keyboard. Seeing the intimacy between people who've known each for a time is enough to keep those fingers frozen. Reading the repartee, feeling the camaraderie. It's enough to make you want to close the browser and go back to whatever you were doing. Every day, you read the boards, making a silent promise to post a hello or an intelligent question. Every day, you leave, without saying a word.
In every social situation, there's always that one awkward moment, where you stick out your neck and say hi, hoping no one ignores you or thinks you're an idiot.
Take the chance.
It's a golden opportunity to meet people who experience similar joys and frustrations. It's hard to talk to people who don't do what we do. There's a real lack of understanding from the outside. I become weary of people telling me all I do is look at porn all day and how kick ass our lives are. They don't see our faces some days, when there hasn't been one single sign up. They don't hear the cursing when our computer connections fail to cooperate. As I write this article, I'm ready to commit murder because my DSL is down. If I were to tell my mainstream friends, they'd cluck in sympathy and continue their conversation about whatever is important in their lives.
Conversely, if I post a message, bemoaning my situation, I'll receive messages of condolence, comprehension, suggestions. Most importantly, someone will crack a joke or segue into something that distracts my attention or be wholly unsympathetic in a humourous way.
After the first flurry of welcomes, you might be ignored for a bit. Webmasters are usually wary of newcomers. It might take a few months to get into the swing of communicating with strangers. Instant acceptance doesn't happen off the Internet. There's no reason to expect it will occur on the web. Follow the rules of netiquette. There are some and most of them are common sense. Lots of articles have been written, covering good board manners. It's not so different than playground rules. Don't steal. Don't lie or cheat. Play nice. Say please and share your peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Nowhere does it say you have to be brilliant or know everything there is to know about everything.
Just be yourself. Leave your angst at the door or confine it to an email off the board. Remember. What you put in writing, you CAN edit on most boards. Since text is how we communicate, say what you mean and mean what you say. Webmasters will go back and search for a particular sentence or post, if they think your credibility is in question.
There are those who go on boards, just to set off firecrackers, attention seekers whose sole purpose is to disrupt. After a while, they are either banned or ignored. Remember to stay far away from them. Like the bully on the playground, there's always one who ruins everybody's good time.
I've seen many a great debate ruined because the discussion degenerated into name calling. There's no compelling reason to get involved in such activities. Start a new thread about something else. Even though these posters get immediate attention, they will quickly find themselves surrounded and hog tied by those who are more experienced. Worse, they'll eventually get a reputation as a whiner and trouble maker and then its exile. The worst punishment inflicted on any webmaster is being ignored and treated as if he or she were invisible or just another pesky fly in the ointment.
I can understand why new webmasters lurk on the fringes of the boards. It seems to be a club with murky boundaries. To you, I say this. The day you decided to become an adult webmaster, you took a risk. You're living on the edge of society's approval. When you've finally decided to step into the world of the message board, you'll be glad you did. There are friends waiting to meet you. There's advice and help in abundance. All it takes is one small hello to get a huge welcoming response.