If you’ve been by the Virtual Assistant Chamber of Commerce site lately, you’ve seen that we are in the midst of some major updating and site reorganization. One of the things we’ll be working on soon is our new forum platform, and I want to pick your brain about privacy.
The main question is whether the forum should be public (able to be viewed by anyone coming to the site) or whether it should be private (where only members with accounts can view the postings and conversations).
There are pros and cons to both and I honestly can’t decide which way to go.
The benefits of a public forum is that it attracts more users/members. Site visitors can see what’s going on and it’s great for PR and search engine rankings.
On the other hand, it’s not always a good thing that site visitors can see what’s going on. Some of the conversations I’ve seen on some of the public forums are quite embarrassing. If I was a client seeing some of these discussions and the questions asked, I’d be pretty leery about hiring some of these people if the quality of competence and qualification and lack of skill/knowledge was any indications of what I’d be getting.
Hey, I don’t blame anyone for asking questions, but clients and prospects just don’t need to see some of this stuff. Which is one of the benefits of having a private forum. I’ve always felt that VAs need a private sanctuary where members can let their hair down, vent on occasion if need be, and ask those questions and have those conversations without any fear that client eyes will ever see them. And in my experience, when there is a slight barrier to entry, you tend to attract the folks with a higher caliber of skills, competence, qualification and business sensibility.
The con of a private forum, however, is that you may not get the same amount of traffic and interest as you would with a public forum and people tend to lurk longer (which I can’t stand; I hate that feeling of someone looking over your shoulder, but never letting you know who they are).
So what do you think? If a combination of both private and public wasn’t an option, and you had to choose between one or the other, which kind of forum would you prefer? Which would make you feel more comfortable/safer participating in? Please select your choice in the poll below. I would love to hear your two cents and any suggestions you have!