The Internet has, because of the widespread access to information it provides, become a popular forum for the presentation of all forms of poetry by amateurs and professionals alike. Online poetry commonly exists in traditional forms, such as haiku, lyric poetry, limerick, and ballad. The structure of websites also allows for multimedia online poetry that involves audio, video, visual, and text elements that could not all be presented through typical print media. Some websites allow anyone to post nearly any poem and allow for others to read the poems and to post comments; others, just like print journals, have strict editorial standards and only accept specific poems.
One of the major benefits of online poetry is that is allows the poet-in-training to post his poetry and receive criticism from a potentially large, global audience. Such amateur poetry is one of the most widespread forms of online poetry. People from diverse backgrounds with different training in poetry and other forms of literature can review and comment on publicly-posted poems written by amateurs. This simulates poetry "workshops" held offline in which people gather to discuss and critique poems written by their peers. The Internet offers people who have neither access to nor time for such workshops a similar resource to use for improving their poetry.
Not all online poetry is written by amateurs or posted for the purpose of receiving criticism. There are many online journals, or "e-zines," that review each submitted poem before displaying them. Such sites often receive hundreds of submissions or more and only choose the best few to display on their sites.
The variety of different types of online poetry is at least as extensive as the variety of poem types in print. Some online poets prefer to adhere to forms with strict rhythm and rhyme structures while others favor less restrictive styles. The themes addressed in online poetry also vary as widely as those in print poetry. Some focus on broad elements of the human condition, such as life, death, and love, while others focus on contemporary issues, such as politics, privacy, and social issues.
Social networking has provided another forum for the posting of online poetry, much of which is uniquely personal and is backed by no professional literary motivation. Poems provide an interesting and emotional way for people to express themselves to their friends on social networking websites. Social networking also provides people with further literary ambitions to publicize their work by showing it to their online social connections.