At a time when most of the country is under a shut-down order (and the rest of it should be), people find themselves having to socialize online instead of in-person. Even after texting, calling, or FaceTiming friends, it’s easy to continue to feel alone. Now is a good time to find online community by joining a group to get more interaction and turn your focus to more enjoyable topics than what’s going on in the news or the state of the world in general. If you’re looking for something like that, here are three sources of online communities to consider.

Facebook Group (YMMV)

The most common way to find an online community is by joining a Facebook group. This can work out well, I’ve made some of my closest internet friends through the platform. But chances are you’ll find at least a few members who are more interested in stirring up drama than having fun conversations. 

Even if you find a group you love, though, things can turn sideways fast. Most Facebook groups are public and there’s no cost to join, so you may see the group infested by trolls. If the group’s moderators are inattentive or overly lenient, they’ll stick around and start to stack up. On multiple occasions, I’ve been invited to private Facebook groups created by other members in hopes of staving off the most toxic parts of the community. Instead of joining a community with an unpredictable future, you may want to consider one of the next two options.

Slack Channels

online community
Slack can prove to be an invaluable asset in finding online community.

Even if you haven’t been invited to any Slack channels in the past, there are plenty of open ones for all kinds of careers and interests. Medium published a lengthy list of 400 Slack Communities. You’re sure to find one focused on an industry or hobby you’re interested in looking through it. Some of the communities are fine with members discussing anything while others only want conversations related to the focus of the Slack Channel. You may or may not make friends on Slack who you’ll communicate with outside of the channel, but the opportunity to (digitally) surround yourself with people you have something important in common with is a great way to avoid feeling alone.

Find Discord Channels through Patreon

online community
Another place to find online community is through Discord channels.

A frequent perk of supporting creators on Patreon is the opportunity to join their Discord channel, a miniature message board where fellow fans can chat about their shared love of the creator’s work or any other topic of conversation. You’re more likely to find a positive community this way because users have to pay for access. That additional barrier to entry fends off trolls, who are largely uninterested in spending money to harass strangers.

online community

Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou offers access to his Discord channel to patrons of Strip Panel Naked at the $5 level, which lets you join conversations with others interested in the craft of making comics. David Harper has a full-out message board for subscribers to SKTCHD. If you’re a fan of video games I recommend MinnMax, a podcast and company about “games, friends, and getting better.” Patrons only have to spend $2 a month to join the MinnMax Discord channel, which is full of friendly folks excited about video games. There are plenty more options to choose from which let you join a cool community and support a content creator in the process.