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Internet and Blogging by
If you've been wondering what I've been up to while my blog has been in a state of neglect the past several days, wonder no more. An idea caught my mind and I decided to follow it up.
To cut a long story short, I decided to re-launch ToonsAndComics, my brother's old forum as well as try and spruce up LiteraryForums.org, to revive it from the dead, so to speak. I'm increasingly convinced that it's fighting an uphill battle. I'm not giving up just yet, but I feel that people over the last 5 years have definitely moved away from online discussion groups to social networking platforms. Sure, there's still the strong presence of well established online forums with hundreds of thousands of members, but those are exceptions.
My point is that, today, it's harder for individuals to start a discussion community or a forum and sustain it in the long run unless it's as a support service for a particular product or service. Social network sites, backed by well established companies and professional staff have offered a whole new platform for people to interact online and the medium is far more democratic than forums. I think that web forums are no longer the "social scene" of the internet.
The deeper issue is that social networking sites aren't merely communities. They're platforms to establish an infinite number and variety of social interactions within them as people sign up "friends" or "followers" and join groups of similar interests. The web's interactivity has changed and the bigger players have stepped up. I'd hate to think that small forum-based communities are dying, but the trend indicates that. Individuals running single forum websites can only offer so much. Online social networks have completely altered the web scene. Individuals come and go, but the platform remains. More than anything these platforms offer something that online forums cannot, namely integrated login and access to any number of services and sub-communities. Google is a prime example. Who would want to sign up on 10 different websites to access 10 services or discuss 10 different subjects? Usenet and mailing lists don't suffer similar drawbacks, being entirely different in their approach. Subscribing and unsubscribing from them is simple and easy as they use the existing platform of e-mail to handle the interactions.
Will online (web-based) forums slowly disappear or will they make a comeback? What do you think?
Posted on Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 17:43 IST (last updated: Fri, Feb 19, 2010 @ 17:43 IST)