Are Forums Dying, And Why?

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deathmetal

Lifer
Jul 21, 2015
7,714
32
georged expressed something interesting:
In the meantime, threaded forums all over the Net are dying because, 1) mobile-oriented social media doesn't handle the format well; and 2) [bad threads].
It seems to me that what killed internet forums was social media. People prefer to go chat it up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Grindr or Reddit.
Although we are hearing a lot about how dominant mobile computing is, check this out:
In the US Analytics site, which summarizes DAP's data, you will find desktop Linux, as usual, hanging out in "other" at 1.5 percent. Windows, as always, is on top with 45.9 percent, followed by Apple iOS, at 25.5 percent, Android at 18.6 percent, and macOS at 8.5 percent.
https://linux.slashdot.org/story/17/11/05/202232/no-the-linux-desktop-hasnt-jumped-in-popularity
Windows is basically not present on mobile, so we have 44.1% of the market being mobile and the rest desktop.
On the other hand mobile computing seems to be rising:
Today, by contrast, we spend around 70% of our time on the internet on phones, based on estimates and forecasts for more than 50 countries covering two-thirds of the world's population. By 2019, Zenith says this will rise to close to 80%.
https://mobile.slashdot.org/story/17/11/02/0548202/the-mobile-internet-is-the-internet
Based on my experience, there is going to be a separation of userbase: there will be people on mobile who use it mostly for entertainment, but your more serious audience is going to be mostly using desktops/laptops. Sort of like how there are people now who refuse to have Facebook accounts.

 

nevadablue

Lifer
Jun 5, 2017
1,192
4
So far, I have been able to find a forum for my chosen interest. Sometimes finding one that is still 'alive' is an issue. Mostly I think the death of specialized forums like this one is caused by the off-topic crap. It ALWAYS causes hard feelings and eventually people just give up trying to wade through the mess.

I have about 25000 posts on a forum I helped moderate for a few years. It had some problems and then a couple of the guys took it over and just don't allow ANY nonsense. We see a forum as an extension of the owner's house. His rules, or don't visit. Discipline is a good thing.

'Social Media' has a place, but not for me. I see who uses it.

 
No, the bicycle forums and metallurgy forums that I belong to are still going strong. I visit forums every now and then for information about various specific things like from getting a chord right on my ukulele to fixing my truck. I see forums thriving, and I don't even own a computer. *I have been using my iProducts exclusively for a few years now.

I would challenge that notion. What may be happening is that THIS forum is so great that all of the other pipe forums suck in comparison. :puffy:

Also, social media replaces what some of the early forums used to exist for. But, some very specialized forums are still thriving, IMO. Just looking for a forum to talk about a new movie or find like minded Vulcan Jedi warriors may be on the decline, but I think specialized forums like this are still doing very well. It would probably be better if we could post pictures. :puffy:

 

bluegrassbrian

Your Mom's Favorite Pipe Smoker
Aug 27, 2016
6,324
57,860
41
Louisville
I grew up on the cusp of the internet revolution, so forums (and the chat room, RIP) were integral for me. I still find forums to be the #1 choice for me regarding hobbies.
That said, I barely ever use my windows based laptop.

Most of my browsing is done on my Android tablet. Ive found most of the forums i use to be formatted just fine for the OS.
In regards to Facebook.. I've been on it since it's inception, and still use it today (although I miss the versions of yore). Hobby specific Facebook groups have certainly grown in popularity, but I still prefer the forum.

 

hawky454

Lifer
Feb 11, 2016
5,338
10,223
Austin, TX
I visit most frequently from my iPhone but I must say that this site sucks for phone viewing. Just to read each thread I have to move the screen back and forth and it’s just annoying and really unnecessary. I would be much more active on here if it were compatible with Tapatalk or just coded properly for all viewing sources. I think forums are dying because the owners are old school and refuse to update their software. Change is the only constant!

 

georged

Lifer
Mar 7, 2013
5,625
14,714
The numbers:
https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&q=forums
The analysis:
https://www.newstatesman.com/science-tech/internet/2017/02/someone-would-always-answer-sad-death-internet-message-board

 

hawky454

Lifer
Feb 11, 2016
5,338
10,223
Austin, TX
I’m using a 7+ too. If I hold it sideways it is okay but have you ever noticed how awesome smokingpipes.com website is on your phone compared to this site? This site is not set up to be viewed on a phone. We are viewing it in its crude form, it could be so much better. I’m not just ragging on the owner of this site... all of the forums that I view are outdated as well, although most of them are at least comparable with Tapatalk.

 
Yeh, I don't want my family, friends, and customers to see what I am posting about pipes and smoking. That's what forums and instagram are for.

I meant to say that I don't want my friends, family, and customers on Facebook to see my pipe posts. Like politics, sometimes it's just none of some people's business what I think about certain things.
Yep, this site works great from my phone and tablet. I'm not sure how it could be better... except when posting pics.

 

Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
43,795
111,231
I'm just using an android with a 6 inch screen, and haven't found any internet viewing issues.

 
Yeh, I think early on, before social media people used yahoo forums more for what can be done more easily on other forms of social media. So, all of those social pages are definitely dying. But, for lifestyle forums (like this) and industry related forums, they are still growing. For the same reason, I don't many customers to see my posts about smoking, I also don't want them to see my discussions about metallurgy, temperatures for annealing their grandmother's wedding ring, so I can go to a private forum of all of the world's best metallurgists and talk openly without fear of someone freaking out about how we coat old diamonds with fluxes and heat them with torches when doing prong work. Even the Ganoksin metalsmith forum is still growing. And, the bicycle forum is almost too large. Sometimes after a post, I would get hundreds of responses in under 10 minutes. This one is, of course, way better moderated though. :puffy:
But, yeh, social media has killed off all of those meet and greet forums.

 

Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
43,795
111,231
You do know that if anyone googles cosmicfolklore, everything about you pops up right? :)

 

mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
41,210
60,500
Somewhere recently I heard an ageist joke to the effect that some old geezer texted in complete sentences. That says it all (well some of it). Forums are, to a degree, a writers medium. Complete sentences are welcome if not required. Tweeting and texting are conceived as short forms and quickly adapt to short form acronyms and coded idioms (or whatever you want to call them). i wouldn't have thought of devices being an obstacle, but then I wouldn't. It may be that a slightly anachronistic interest like tobacco pipes might be especially well suited to a forum, even if many participants are themselves young. It's part of the culture and aura of the subject. Welcome to the land of (sometimes) complete sentences. Nothing wrong with that.

 

deathmetal

Lifer
Jul 21, 2015
7,714
32
Change is the only constant!
The problem is that most of it is erroneous.
Look at the advice the "experts" were giving about designing mobile sites in 2007-2011, 2012-2015 and today.
Three redesigns, ouch! Each one proven "wrong" after only a few years, ouch!

 
You do know that if anyone googles cosmicfolklore, everything about you pops up right?

Yeh, but it's not putting it directly in front of their eyes. I'm not ashamed of smoking a pipe. It's in my mouth all of the time. I just don't want to post on FB forums, because then it ends up directly in their feed. There's a difference. Plus, FB pipe forums end up being political or other forms of idiotic that turns me off.

 
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