Best Online Communities

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The online world is a vibrant social universe alive with chatter. Many Internet users enjoy serious and satisfying contact with online communities. These are made up of those who share passions, beliefs, hobbies, or lifestyles. The online communities listed below are the best; they have large membership bases and have been around for years.

1. CafeMom.com

CafeMom.com has been online since 2006 and has over a million members. This site offers all sorts of good stuff, from informative articles on parenting to exciting groups and a Q&A. There's also a timely blog that has current events, parenting problems, and current gossip. The groups are user-generated and moderated, which means moms can either find or create a group that meets their needs. LadyPlans.com, a site dedicated to helping women, has chosen CafeMom's online community as one of the 8 top meeting places for moms. If you're a dad, there's also CafeDad.

2. AARP.com

AARP is a nonprofit organization for seniors and Boomers; it has 38 million members. AARP's website is filled with information that individuals need as they age, and it also has a vibrant online community where members discuss a large variety of interesting topics. When you visit the site, you can read all the forums, but to join the discussion you must register. Seniorliving.com says there is no other website as comprehensive as AARP for seniors.

3. Care2.com

Launched in 1998, Care2.com has almost a billion members who are working toward progress, kindness and making a lasting impact. It's an online community that connects people from all over the world who are interested in green living, social activism and animal rights. At Care2 you can browse petitions started by members and nonprofit partners and learn how you can make a difference by joining Care2's Activist University. Rewardexpert.com has rewarded Care2 for being a Worldwide Community for Good.

4. Dogster.com

The Dogster.com is a community where dog lovers come together to share stories about dog behavior, dog health, and even photos of their dogs. At Dogster, you'll find information on training, vets, and breeds, as well as the groups and forums to connect and share with friends. Rave gives Dogster 18.75/20 on its Rave Meter. Of course, if you prefer Cats, there's also Catster. Lifewire.com puts Dogster and Caster at the top of their list of the best social networks for pet lovers.

5. Diet.com

Diet.com helps tailor meal plans, hosts live weekly chats with diet and fitness experts, and there are also message boards, fitness information, workout planners, video exercises, and a buddy system to pairs you with a fellow dieter. Members also have easy access to the staff doctor, and there's a "Coaching Corner" where you can post personalized questions for a same-day response from the doctor. You can get some of this for free, but to get the works costs about $9.99 per month. Tentopreviews.com gives the webstire 9.4/10 stars, saying it's one of the best because of its extensive tools that help facilitate "lasting lifestyle changes."

6. Goodreads.com

If you love reading and discussing books, you'll love Goodreads. It's like an online book club with 65 million members. Launched in 2007, Goodreads.com has become the place to see what your friends are reading, list your favorite books, discuss literature, and form groups. Here you'll discover a variety of discussion group categories, with everything from Friends With Common Interests to Just for Fun. All you need to do to join the community is to sign up.

Though primarily geared toward adults, Common Sense Media also gives it 4/5 saying it's a "safe spot for teens to share their love of books." It's also listed as one of the top places to meet other book lovers online according to AALBC.com and among the top nine sites for book lovers according to Bustle.

7. DeviantArt.com

DeviantArt.com is an online community for artists and art enthusiasts. It's a community that allows aspiring and established artists to show, promote, and share their works in a community dedicated to the arts. Launched in 2000, DeviantArt has 22 million members. Members of DeviantArt can display their art and leave comments and critiques on individual pages. Along with text critique, DeviantArt offers the option to leave a small picture as a comment. Comparakeet gives it a rating of 9.3/10, saying DeviantArt is "a good place to share your artistic creations."

8. Fitocracy.com

Fitocracy.com caters to your competitive side. It grants you points for each workout activity you track, then awards you with badges and props for every milestone. For a more interactive experience, you can also sign up for challenges with friends or join community groups and chat with other members. For a fee of $1 a day, you can even get an online personal trainer. Fitocracy.com is at the top of Henry Ford's Health System's list of five communities that can help you reach your fitness goals.

Best Online Communities