How has Social media (FB, T, Insta etc. etc) affect web and forum traffic.

DO you think Social Media has been Positive or Negative for Old School forums?

  • Positive

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 50/50

    Votes: 3 17.6%
  • Negative

    Votes: 14 82.4%

  • Total voters
    17

Blanco

Aspirant
Joined
Apr 8, 2019
Messages
17
This is something that fascinates me as it's a real thing that has caused whole part of the web to suffer, revenues to suffer too for some site admins, beyond more typical events that lead to the demise of a forum.

There appears to be a pattern, that the main social media type platforms, once they got to ta critiacal mass, sucked up so much internet traffic combined with google algo's to sweep all new traffic to their platforms, giving many a sense that this was the internet, to use an analogy it reminds me of the affects first seen in the US and then across the world, as young people matured to younger adult status, they fell out of favour with the local town square full of Mon & Pop stores, lured by the Mega mall down the track, leaving future generations with no experience of the old town square, depriving it of footfall/traffic and thus sealing it's fate to fall into derelictions and so on.

2012 IMHO looks like a topping point in traffic terms, when the social media platforms and Googles algo'saligned to create a massive tractor beam to pull in traffic.

Lastly, the Mega Malls are now in disrepair across the US, might we see the same with the social media giants in the short to medium term? Fb has fallen out of favour but the damage sadly IMHO has been done.

So what do admins think or what have you observed, similar or not, across forums of the net?
 

zappaDPJ

Administrator
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
7,321
Progress or evolution in any area is not unlike a shark. Once it stops moving forward it dies. If forums fail to evolve to meet current expectations they will disappear and die. At the moment I'd say they are hanging on in there but in dire need of modernisation.

[EDIT] This week I had to wait a couple of hours while my car was being serviced along with at least a dozen other people, male and female of all ages. Every single one of them sat for the duration tapping away at their mobile phones.

Anyone who thinks their forum wouldn't benefit from a native app with push should lock themselves away with an abacus. I'll say it again, forums are in dire need of modernisation.
 
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KimmiKat

Adherent
Joined
Mar 21, 2005
Messages
348
And depending on the phone too much too. Other day walking into a store there was a guy there scanning phones and encouraging people to put the store's app on them and follow them on FB. When I went in, has asked "Phone please" and I said I don't have one and one of a few on the marble that don't have a smart phone. He was shocked.

[EDIT] This week I had to wait a couple of hours while my car was being serviced along with at least a dozen other people, male and female of all ages. Every single one of them sat for the duration tapping away at their mobile phones.
 

SaN-DeeP

TechArena.IN
Joined
Jun 30, 2004
Messages
4,236
LIKE HISTORY OF INTERNET, VITAL INFORMATION is MEDIA TODAY
People in business are awarded.. but today social media.

CompuServe will never be and not in anyway part of the Internet. (which created this ....)
ARPANET
USENET
Something very more technical IBM/APPLE/ETC. ETC. HAPPENED..
Bulletin Board Systems (BBSs) since the era, normal people used to offer great influence and approach that we associate tp cuurent approach with social media . (LOL)


EDIT: Some people to increase there functionality that we associate with social media, dont check beyond real past of INTERNET BEHAVIOR .
WHICH when you worked with a 56 KBPs MODEM WITH 40+ PEOPLE.

LOL WE ENJOYED AFTER OFFICE SHUT-DOWN.
 

sbjsbj

Fan
Joined
Feb 9, 2015
Messages
675
Negative or positive? Anyone who says positive is just lying.

Social Media is chit chat, it lives in the moment. Before Social Media, forums filled that role. Now all the chit chat is gone from forums, which means at least 90% of the audience is gone. In a decade ago you had in forums a lot of people visiting the site who didn't have interest in the niche of the forum at all. They were there for the chit chat, to waste time. This obviously brought life to forums even though probably 90% of the topics were outside of the niche. Nobody cared because activity is always a good thing, always, no exception.

Since SM now that activity is gone, and this hurt forums so much. Many are dead or can't get the huge numbers they once did. On top of that, as said above SM lives in the moment, the static approach of forums (you need to reload pages to get new content) wasn't beneficial either. Out of date technology. People wanted to connect faster and release their daily thoughts instantly. And SM provided that infrastructure aswell. So we lost the war against SM.

But SM killing our traffic was not as bad as the invention of smartphones. THAT was the killshot. Forums due to their nature (discussions) are not suited well for smartphones because of their small screens. That shift killed forums alone. Right now 99.99% of the users are just leechers. They take out their phones and let the content rain down on them. It is tiresome to create content on a phone, which is why everyone is just leeching and absorbing content. Think about why Twitter has a character limit. It would hurt their platform massively if they had no limit, if you would see wall of texts after wall of texts because smartphone users would get tired of seeing very long wall of texts all the time. So, keeping it to the minimum helps the leecher to lurk around as he can absorb content faster like this. Also he can create content more easily. Writing 2-3 lines on a smartphone is not a big deal. Imagine writing this post of myself on a phone...

Same thing is applied to Instagram. Just take a photo and upload it. Easy as that. So the current mainstream is a mirror of the device used, not other way around. A decade ago desktops were ahead of everything, and having a keyboard on hand resulted in long discussions which meant forums were ideal for that. Now anyone is on their smartphone and the limits of that device is the result why SM is so popular.

And of course we are behind current technologies (no standalone apps) so far, that it is not funny anymore. Imagine anything else having apps, and your site doesn't in 2020... You are basically irrelevant at this point as a forum and you will continue to serve only the powerusers of your niche, which will be a very low number.

I think at this point we should learn from reddit and see them as our rolemodels (as they are the biggest forum out there) + we should learn from Wikipedia.

Forums' biggest strength are to serve expertise to the users. As the chit chat is gone, the only thing working for us is the expertise we can distribute in our niche. And sadly forums are still the same bad information saver just like 20 years ago. 0 development in that regard. Good luck finding the valuable information in between millions of posts...
 

Blanco

Aspirant
Joined
Apr 8, 2019
Messages
17
sbjsbj I very much concur with your overview and your excellent insights as I do the previous posts.

It's a dilly of a pickle. :(
 

Blanco

Aspirant
Joined
Apr 8, 2019
Messages
17
I think the new kids on the block like Discourse, NodeBB and Flarum (*what others?) are a new generation of forums that tried to grapple with this problem, but I really solving it from a very technical place, not thinking about user #1 - the admin, and then user #2, the forum/community users who make the admins life super hell! (only joking, sometimes only joking!)

Yes you got to up date to keep up with standards and expectations fo users but there is more to it, but it's more than this in the end.

The change or "kill shot", being the perfection of the new platform, the smartphone - the go anywhere personal computer / personal assistant. Along held dream of the sci-fi, electronics and tech world, has now opened the doors to far more participants, it established the market and user cases in the extreme globally very very very fast.

While it was clear this was going to happen because mobile phones became readily available in advance of the generation shift to smartphone or the touch usurpation.

I don't think you are ever ready for the effects, especially when they are socially revolutionary, even if you have seen them and are not sufficiently insulated form them. The change in the younger generation ability to interact with people in actual, real social encounters is not only depressing, it's now alarming.
 

Joel R

Fan
Joined
Nov 24, 2013
Messages
811
It's important to differentiate between retail vs enterprise communities and how social media is impacting them.

On the retail side, yes we will continue to see a hemorrhaging of legacy forums. That's to be expected and a healthy change to our industry. To be honest, if your forum focuses on general interests, social chit chat, gaming, lifestyle, or low value boards, then there's no reason for you to host an independent forum when there are platforms with tremendously better technology and social features. The only reason why you should launch and maintain an independent community is when you can present unique, compelling content in a manner where you need to control the delivery in some manner.

On the enterprise side, I would argue that businesses, organizations, and solopreneurs are starting to recognize the very real shortfalls of SaaS platforms that they don't control. They don't have control over user data, customization, privacy, branding, or how the community integrates into their workflow. There's actually an explosion of community-centric software that are specialized. Some are designed for in person communities and conference, some are designed for advocate marketing, some are designed for nonprofits and volunteer groups, some are designed with social marketing, some are designed for for venture capital, etc. It's no longer Vbulletin for all, it's now unique and specialized software that can empower businesses for exactly what they want. There will continue to be a proliferation of online communities and software at the professional level. We don't talk about the dozens of those software because our scope is limited at TAZ.

At the end of the day, if you're a community that offers best in class content, you can source new content that is timely, relevant, and impactful, then you have nothing to worry about. If you're a generic community that focuses on discussion, then ... evolve or die. What worked ten years ago won't work for the next ten years.
 
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Blanco

Aspirant
Joined
Apr 8, 2019
Messages
17
What of googles influence and the algo's. Once I started looking at SEO and found places MOZ to discover the effects of even changes to algo's and traffic hits in the negative, never mind the undue influence big platforms/players may impress upon search results, channels, accounts etc. etc.

The algo's and Ai and all that jazz, in short GOOGLE. :mad:
 

MagicalAzareal

Magical Developer
Joined
Apr 25, 2019
Messages
737
Progress or evolution in any area is not unlike a shark. Once it stops moving forward it dies. If forums fail to evolve to meet current expectations they will disappear and die. At the moment I'd say they are hanging on in there but in dire need of modernisation.

[EDIT] This week I had to wait a couple of hours while my car was being serviced along with at least a dozen other people, male and female of all ages. Every single one of them sat for the duration tapping away at their mobile phones.

Anyone who thinks their forum wouldn't benefit from a native app with push should lock themselves away with an abacus. I'll say it again, forums are in dire need of modernisation.
You don't really need a native app to get push notifications, there are some recent-ish web standards for this. Safari tends to be behind the curve however, so it might be needed for iOS, but this should change before long and it's quite a drama to develop a native app for one specific platform (although, there is always things like React Native around).
 

Douzeper

Aspirant
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Messages
12
I've been doing forums for 30 years or so. Social media is crucifying us, but I have seen a bit of a resurgence lately. I have social media platforms as I have to have them, don't want them and they disgust me, but I have to have them.

For the last few months I have been running IFTTT Applets that automatically post a snippet of new posts to twitter and facebook using my RSS feed which I changed so that it got it's feed from more than one of my categories/Forums. I set that forum so that you can view it five times before you have to register, everyone has to register to view Facebook, so what the hell.

The outcome is that I am getting new members all the time, I am getting loads of traffic and a lot of new content.

My Forum: https://www.motorhomecraic.com/forum/
 

CrazyTech

Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Messages
231
Lots of good stuff in this thread. It illustrates what I would say is the great strength of a forum environment.

I would say that social media is a net negative for forums. I've since gotten off of Facebook, but I do maintain a Twitter account for limited entertainment and information. Twitter is neat in the sense that I've "interacted" with some people I'd probably never otherwise have interacted with, but mostly because they have some standing via other means (scholars, personalities, pundits, etc). So, social media can drive some interesting new connections or even discussions.

Forums did this, although I my interaction was more often with Jane or John Doe who was interested in the same topic (or a similar aspect of the same topic as me). The first forums I went to were gaming oriented, and with playing RTS (real time strategy) games, you found a lot of people interest in history, social studies, etc. So we not only had the games in common, but then we had similar interests and could interact accordingly with many being more knowledgeable than myself in a particular area. In other words, I wasn't necessarily attempting to interact with a recognized expert, but you could gradually assemble a collective group of people who talked similar language and understood one another, even though there were things like diversity of opinions.

Social media can do this, with discipline. The bad thing is, though, that there are unlimited distractions for me and whomever I interact with. This is why social media conversations feel like wandering zombie hordes, with quick, almost mindless discussion (character limits and time!).

I recall some forums jumping ship and relocating to social media. I haven't followed them to see the result, but I can guess.

Bottom line is all of this development and technology has done what Walmart did to those mom-and-pop stores. Facebook and Google now have billboard space on your discussions.

What of googles influence and the algo's. Once I started looking at SEO and found places MOZ to discover the effects of even changes to algo's and traffic hits in the negative, never mind the undue influence big platforms/players may impress upon search results, channels, accounts etc. etc.
You're spot on. ~12 years ago I launched my largest forum from scratch. It grew organically, primarily from search - Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc. I found a lot of friends and pretty much grew from that traffic. I've started a few trial runs these days, and if-you-build-it-they-will-come is long gone. This is most noticeable now in the tendency of Google to now answer your queries with their own branded snippet from your web page. Now SEOs are preaching how valuable that first spot really is...

I love technology, live technology, and work in technology. Progress is good, but it never comes without opportunity costs. I'm hopeful we will see some, small pendulum swing and maybe forums are ripe for a little innovation along the way. I think the social media train will eventually lose some steam, and it's already showing signs of just that. It's a brave new world where a company that has not really created anything, but instead made a platform of others' content is now one of the largest and most powerful companies in the world.

There appears to be a pattern, that the main social media type platforms, once they got to ta critiacal mass, sucked up so much internet traffic combined with google algo's to sweep all new traffic to their platforms, giving many a sense that this was the internet, to use an analogy it reminds me of the affects first seen in the US and then across the world, as young people matured to younger adult status, they fell out of favour with the local town square full of Mon & Pop stores, lured by the Mega mall down the track, leaving future generations with no experience of the old town square, depriving it of footfall/traffic and thus sealing it's fate to fall into derelictions and so on.
Indeed. A picture of my hometown from Christmas Eve was disseminated, albeit ironically here, on social media. It showed downtown from the 1950s with every parking spot with a car, bustling stores, the sidewalks lined with well-dressed people busily. The modern equivalent is now all parked at Walmart, Marshalls, and Five Below with the majority flowing back to the family coffers in Bentonville, AR. While the convenience and availability of products is second to none, K-Mart closed a few years back, the Mom-and-Pops never came back, and we're all generally angry when we're making a Walmart run in dealing with employees who just don't care and can't possibly care even if they did because the power rests elsewhere.
 

overcast

Adherent
Joined
Mar 17, 2019
Messages
486
I think social media is too much chaotic. It's hard to channelize and divert the traffic. But that being said, it can be monetized.
 

tonmo

Aspirant
Joined
Jan 21, 2007
Messages
30
Now that Google has given up on Google+, it would be nice (for all of us) if they would bring back the "Discussions" Search Tool. Anyone remember that? It would let the user search for results from forums, only. Very useful.

I think about 15 or so years ago there was a product for vBulletin (I can't recall the name) that tried to be a forum aggregator -- going beyond something like Tapatalk... the idea was a universal forum system with a singular profile and forum owners could cross pollinate content, etc. Never quite worked out; maybe ahead of its time?
 

Kyrie

Fan
Joined
Sep 2, 2009
Messages
997
Now that Google has given up on Google+, it would be nice (for all of us) if they would bring back the "Discussions" Search Tool. Anyone remember that? It would let the user search for results from forums, only. Very useful.

I think about 15 or so years ago there was a product for vBulletin (I can't recall the name) that tried to be a forum aggregator -- going beyond something like Tapatalk... the idea was a universal forum system with a singular profile and forum owners could cross pollinate content, etc. Never quite worked out; maybe ahead of its time?

I remember that but for the life of me cannot remember a name.
 

zappaDPJ

Administrator
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
7,321
I think about 15 or so years ago there was a product for vBulletin (I can't recall the name) that tried to be a forum aggregator -- going beyond something like Tapatalk... the idea was a universal forum system with a singular profile and forum owners could cross pollinate content, etc. Never quite worked out; maybe ahead of its time?
ForumRunner perhaps?
 

tonmo

Aspirant
Joined
Jan 21, 2007
Messages
30
ForumRunner perhaps?
1579704958125.png

:LOL: I'm not sure... I don't think so - this wasn't a mobile app. It was a pretty obscure thing I think, and I believe I was an early adopter, and it may not have ever gotten out of beta. It was an interesting concept, though, and was a hot thing for a few weeks in the vb world. Probably like 2004-05.
 

Kyrie

Fan
Joined
Sep 2, 2009
Messages
997
I'm thinking it was ForumApps?? Which is still around?

This is going to bother me.
 
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