Welcome to ActiveRain!
You have choices to make.
You can quietly lurk. Learn how things work, figure out who the go to people are, the techniques, etc. Find the tips about how to blog and be productive.
Or you can do a full gainer off the diving platform and go headfirst into participating and learn as you go.
For MOST Rainers, I suspect the wallflower approach is more common. And every now and then I see some new members who would have been better off taking the wallflower approach! In particular there seems to be a group of new members wanting to push the "I buy houses and you don't need a real estate agent to sell!!!" business model. And that business model has its place, and IMO that place isn't this community. Someone wanting to come into the Rain and push how worthless real estate agents are is about as welcome as a robber walking into a cop's bar. Things aren't going to end well for the intruder.
And speaking of things ending well, another key choice every new member has to make is Rainer or Rainmaker. Rainer is the free level of account, Rainmaker is paid, and there's a VERY BIG KEY DIFFERENCE.
If you're a Rainer, your blogging is ONLY published to the members of ActiveRain. Your posts do NOT get indexed by Google and they're NOT visible to home buyers and sellers. So you might write a masterpiece about your local market, but your phone will NOT ring because your target audience never had a chance to see the post. However, if you're on a paid Rainmaker account, your work IS indexed and findable by the public.
So depending on your target audience, perhaps you don't need a Rainmaker account. If you're trying to provide a service to real estate agents, Rainer probably gets the job done. If you want to tell the world how they don't need an agent and only have a Rainer account, you're wizzing into a Cat 5 windstorm.
And once you have a Rainmaker account, how much or how little you participate is still up to you. Blog daily, weekly, monthly or never. Comment often or little. Publish 230 market reports a week with comments disabled, maybe that works for you.
Bottom line, the full benefits of this community come from participating. Building relationships, having experts just a click away that can help you with problems or support you through some rough times.
Or you can stay a wallflower. Your choice.
Until next Tuesday, just Ask An Ambassador if you need help,
Bill of Bill & Liz aka BLiz