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Social Networks killing forums?

Facebook building a wall?

     
2:38 am on Jul 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Some of my forums, which have operated 12 years or longer, are experiencing attrition as folks move to Facebook. I have an FB presence though I don't "play", but that presence (and their "friends" to me) also provides solid metrics of those leaving my forums and migrating to FB for the same thing--and getting diluted horribly because of "friends this" and "friends that". Could this be the end of the beginning and social networks ala FB etc becoming the "next big thing?" and killing single topic forums?

These things move glacially, but they do move. Wondering if we forum operators need to punch things up, or throw in the towel? (I'm not doing the latter, but I can see some handwriting on the wall... so to speak!).
5:43 pm on July 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I think communities will need to keep evolving. Blogs, for example, greatly reduced the willingness of forum members to write long, detailed "how to" posts. For years now those kind of posts have mainly ended up on blogs where the opportunity for personal branding and ad revenue is greater.

Twitter has, in turn, dramatically cut the use of blogs for very short posts. In the past, a blogger might post a dozen or two times a day, often with nothing more than a random thought or a cool link to share. Now, those end up mostly on Twitter.

Let me turn the question around, tangor... how do you see independent communities changing, and what thoughts do you have about how to keep them relevant to members?
6:21 pm on July 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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This is a cool topic. I don't manage any forum sites, but I do visit several. WebmasterWorld, specific car sites, music production and a few others. I do not see them going away. I'd bet on forums that offer useful or practical help will remain strong. I suppose forums that talk about generic things will suffer.

I can't comment on twitter or facebook though. I've tried facebook and hate it. I thought it might be a good marketing tool, but it isn't and I hate it. Twitter... I still can't figure out anything useful with twitter or why so many folks embrace it. It's like listening to the radio between two stations. All noise and lot's of it. Even the folks that have good things to talk about are reduced to blathering nonsense when I look them up on twitter.
9:46 am on July 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I agree with edacsac.

The time will come - soon, I hope - when Facebook and Twitter fade away as the vacuous nonsense they ultimately are. Looking for "how to" or open communities, nothing yet beats forums and blogs.
10:02 am on July 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

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facebook and twitter have big advantages over forums in some areas though. if people belong to a php group on facebook or twitter, they can say something and get loads of eyes seeing it within a minute or two... the question goes to them. but if you post something on here, you've got to wait for people to come to the question, either through the users finding it or google picking it up.
12:12 am on July 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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My remarks above indicate the lure of FB's instant response as opposed to purpose built managed forums. I don't see forums disappearing, but I do see they will be second or third choice in the future, and that those who then participate will more likely be the more serious minded. What to change? I'm not changing anything, in fact, I intend to keep things as they are and continue to impose limitations on web2itis (ie, any links allowed must be on topic!), gaining trust via sandbox periods for new members, maintenance of valid opt in procedures... That is not to say that FB cannot set a serious tone, but by it's very nature of inclusive of all... even those without interest, dilutes discussion at FB.
2:28 pm on Aug 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

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This topic is very essential in this day in age. If you look at my profile, you will notice that I had raised this issue long time ago. In fact, I am astonished at the slow to no response from most webmasters to the alarming rate at which FB is growing.

My own site, which has been online since 1998, has suffered a lot from this. A lot of my users spend so much of their time on FB, and very little on my own. I still gets lots of people visiting, but I have to admit, I also have lost a lot. And there is nothing else I can attribue this to, other than to FB. I have seen it, observed it and analyzed it.

The question is, what do you do about it? will you let one network control everything and for tens of thousands of webmasters to just give up and watch their website and income evaporate? For me, I have done many things to stop the bleeding, and innovate with the times:

-Ironially, you have to embrace FB, but not go crazy. I have a Twitter and FB accounts (including a FB group) and I use them both to link to link to important new sections and links on my website. It does help in getting visitors to my website

-At the same time, webmasters should band together and stop sucking up to everything FB.

-Embrace rival technologies such as Twitter and hopefully the new and rumored GoogleMe social network

-Keep your site as up to date as possible. If you have at least 100 friends on your FB network, chances are you always see new stuff when you login. Why would they come to your site instead if your site only gets updated once every few days?

-Encourage your own site users and friends to promote your website on FB. Tell them to share any interesting things they find on your website, back on FB, to attract more visitors.


Unfortunately the FB threat is here to stay for some time. We just have to be ready to both fight and embrace it at the same time.

karter

4:24 pm on Aug 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

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how hard would it be to build a facebook, technically, i suspect someone some where has a script available for sale with similar functionality, bespoke code, probably not an impossible challenge

Thing is, facebook now has the level of media and human interest that drove Google to the heights, using farely mundane tech, yet
5:27 pm on Aug 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Karter, Facebook is winning because of the network effect: that's where your friends are, so that's where you will join. It's not the site design or code.
4:48 pm on Aug 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

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how hard would it be to build a facebook, technically, i suspect someone some where has a script available for sale with similar functionality, bespoke code, probably not an impossible challenge

Thing is, facebook now has the level of media and human interest that drove Google to the heights, using farely mundane tech, yet


It's stupid easy, really. Granted now that facebook has grown it's gets more complicated in an economies of scale sense, but it's still the basic dba and display idea.
4:51 pm on Aug 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I use Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. Forums are still better for focused discussions. How focused of a discussion can you have on Twitter?
1:13 am on Aug 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I wonder if we need to make our forums more compatible with mobile devices or even build apps for them? Seems that so much of Facebook is folks posting from their phones. I'm a bit wary of the quality of content this will invite, but Wired tells we the web is dead.
8:03 am on Aug 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

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but Wired tells we the web is dead


...which is evidence enough that the web is still in rude health ;) They might be interesting but they don't have a good track record of prediction.