We are at a time in internet history when social networks like Facebook and Twitter own the internet. Anyone who is anybody has an account on one of the major social networks. They serve as connections to family members, work colleagues, friends, and all the news and information you could want to read. With social networks taking over, are forums still relevant on the internet as a way for people to connect and communicate? We will explore the issue in detail and give you our best opinion.
Forums are the original social network. They allow people from all over the world to connect via a single platform. The major disadvantage of forums is that there are so many unique ones on virtually every topic imaginable. If a person wanted to join a community about gaming, for example, they could potentially join thousands of different forums about gaming. This is an issue when their friends are part of a different forum. And maybe one forum has better content than the other. With social networks like Facebook, they are so popular that they are considered a standard. Ask your friends and you will see that most of them have a Facebook account. Most of them probably have multiple social network accounts. Since their are very few major social networks, it is easy to be on the popular network that has all your friends and interests.
There are downsides to social networks as well. Forums allow members to post guided discussions in specific categories. The information is organized well, and easily searchable. With social networks, communication is not always organized. Most communication about content happens in the comment system, such as in Facebook. These comments are simply a list, with no specific organization. With the possibility of thousands of comments on a single post, information can get lost in the clutter. Furthermore, with a comment system it is difficult to have a back-and-forth conversation with another member. Forums utilize nested quotes that allow users to interact with one another, even through all the other replies. In the area of communication about specific content, forums have an edge.
Social networks have many options to form communities based on a particular interest, business, or group. But forums have the advantage of member communication. For example on Facebook pages can be created for organizations. But the downside is that communication with members of the group can be difficult. As we have discussed, most social networks use a comment system rather than a discussion forum approach to communication. Forums will always have the advantage of being great platforms for specific discussions between members.
In our best opinion, forums are still relevant and organizations, businesses, and individuals should still continue to look to forums to create vibrant, active communities. Social networks give you the ability to connect with a wide array of people from all over the world. Forums give you the ability to organize communication with other members. It would be in a forum owners best interest to utilize social networks alongside their forums. They may be battling each other, but working together will create an outcome everyone will enjoy.