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Opinions on Forums vs. Social Media

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Forums have taken a big hit in the past ten+ years, and most of the reason why is because of the rise of "social media"--Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Have you acclimated yourself to these new platforms, and do you still prefer forums?

I know I might be preaching to the choir, but social media does not compare with forums.  Forums are easy to use and seem to bring like-minded people together. 

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I generally avoid social media, I have an old Facebook account I log into a couple times a month and I have some familiarity with Reddit.  Personally I think it is easier to have complex discussions and be a part of a community on forums, though social media is superior for reading headlines and obtaining small bits of knowledge.  The atmosphere on those is pretty toxic as well, though that might be more a result of the times than the format.  I might just be an old-timer though.  I have heard people say that other forms of social media are superior to forums in every way.

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I don't really like to sit on social networks, at most to congratulate someone on the holiday, another thing is forums, here you can talk with like-minded people on any topic, on one of these forums I learned about the Canadian online casino Cookie https://casinocanada.com/casinos/cookie/ where I now spend almost all my free time, here is very convenient payment system, and for beginners there are constant promotions and bonus programs.

Edited by SamuelRichards
misspelling

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What I want to see is a crossover between social media and forum.

Reddit but more social.

Something that was cultivated here was a random connection between strangers and a forum topic setting like reddit. Social media is great for your immediate friend groups and people who live nearby, but you don't have the same shared interests. But if you were served content on a feed, in topic/image/link type formats with the ability to interact socially with an easy to use messenger and interaction between users was a bigger thing... I think that would be the only way forums could ever be partially revitalised.

Nobody cares but could you imagine if Sal's had it's own runescape client with a built in social feed/discord type scenario. Everyone playing runescape is now using wiki's and quick guides or quest helper plugins etc. Guide style sites and forums along side them can never really exist anymore. The internet has come too far. The proliferation of content and knowledge is just so expansive and well documented.

Gotta be said though, i've never found a runescape community outside of this one. I'm not faffing about with reddit.

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I want exactly the opposite of you, in that regard. I think Reddit is great, because you are an anonymous voice and you do not matter whatsoever. On Reddit, it is the community of the subreddit that matters. On a forum, your identity has value, but it makes communities suffer for it because of this. Identities lead to conflict and strife through unnecessary, and disruptive, drama. On a subreddit, identities does not matter, because only a precious few people are recognisable on a given subreddit, as almost no one looks at the names and the people that frequent them are so numerous, it is impossible to keep track of things.

Reddit is great for what it is, and to be fair, Reddit trying to integrate social media in their platform is not going to have a great outcome as they think. Reddit cannot innovate itself, because if they try, they upset the userbase that wants reddit to be what they came to love. If they do not try to innovate, site growth will decline, and they will not be competitive to the new platform that is bound to come within the next 0-20 years. It is the natural law of online communities and platforms to boom, grow, stagnate, and be replaced. There are numerous reasons as to why forums are dead, but the main one is that it is too slow a platform, and requires too much effort. Reddit, and social media, or even discord, does not. They are very instant services of entertainment and discussion, and that is their strength compared to anything else. 

If you want more direct interaction with people, you have Discords for that. That is a far better arena for actually feeling as a part of a smaller community where you can be recognisable, but it does require you to verbally communicate.

 

Oh, and the entire "if Sal's had it's own runescape client" concept is not all that alien to me. We had a few serious offers of integrating our tools/content with clients that allowed you to also integrate with IRC, but.. while the offers were serious, they just ended up being problematic for the site/forum/brand to have. In all fairness, we were smart too, because that entire client got taken down because JaGEx came down hard on them after 6-12 months.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/18/2021 at 8:54 PM, Yuanrang said:

I want exactly the opposite of you, in that regard. I think Reddit is great because you are an anonymous voice and you do not matter whatsoever. On Reddit, it is the community of the subreddit that matters. On a forum, your identity has value, but it makes communities suffer for it because of this. Identities lead to conflict and strife through unnecessary, and disruptive, drama. On a subreddit, identities do not matter, because only a precious few people are recognisable on a given subreddit, as almost no one looks at the names and the people that frequent them are so numerous, it is impossible to keep track of things.

Reddit is great for what it is, and to be fair, Reddit trying to integrate social media in their platform is not going to have a great outcome as they think. Reddit cannot innovate itself, because if they try, they upset the userbase that wants Reddit to be what they came to love. If they do not try to innovate, site growth will decline, and they will not be competitive with the new platform that is bound to come within the next 0-20 years. It is the natural law of online communities and platforms to boom, grow, stagnate, and be replaced. There are numerous reasons as to why forums are dead, but the main one is that it is too slow a platform, and requires too much effort. Reddit, and social media, or even discord, does not. They are very instant services of entertainment and discussion, and that is their strength compared to anything else. 

If you want more direct interaction with people, you have Discords for that. That is a far better arena for actually feeling like a part of a smaller community where you can be recognisable, but it does require you to verbally communicate.

Oh, and the entire "if Sal's had its own Runescape client" concept is not all that alien to me. We had a few serious offers of integrating our tools/content with clients that allowed you to also integrate with IRC, but.. while the offers were serious, they just ended up being problematic for the site/forum/brand to have. In all fairness, we were smart too, because that entire client got taken down. After all, Jagex came down hard on them after 6-12 months.

It's an interesting topic. If anything, I want to be as far away from social media integration as possible. But that's where the market has unfortunately gone. That's what gets the eyeballs.

I agree that Reddit is going to have more problems the more social media is integrated.

The thing I don't like about Reddit is that as that anonymous voice you are just part of a community within a community. You can post in a smaller subreddit and your stuff might be seen, but not by a large audience. Or you post into a larger subreddit and you get completely ignored.

Also, it's not like you can go to a specific forum within a subreddit. If I want to ask a question about something, I've got to find a different subreddit with a different set of rules and get ignored there instead.

Forums are too slow. I agree with that, something that I think developers should have been quicker on is loading content almost in real-time. That's where social media thrives, serving content as it's posted. They are also too involved and separated from the main product. For instance, Sal's Realm for a small number of people was this community. But they forget that the behemoth behind it was the archive of Runescape data. You have to want to engage if you find a forum.

The whole client thing, I just think that's the only way you could operate a successful 'fansite' in 2021.

Realistically you can't ask people playing Runescape especially to stick around in a forum whilst they play the game when they have everything offered from a website inside a client. The only things missing from that client is the community aspect.

We have clients like Runelite that have approval from Jagex, they use open-source code and offer a decent amount of benefits that Jagex admits they just can't develop in the same timescale.

To be honest, you hit the nail on the head with Discord. You can set up different chats for different topics, it's easy to communicate in, it's fast and it has the social VoIP/private messaging side. It's got less structure to it, but that's a benefit to its useability.

You can already get discord integration within third-party clients as well.

Ironically, there is a discord plugin for the Invision community as well, but I can't see why you'd want to split a forum between the two. Your forum members would just jump to Discord. I was reading a topic about that, they didn't know whether to shut down their discord because their paid forum was dying to it.

EDIT: WE HAVE A DISCORD, Well now i know.

Edited by Fatalysm

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I have briefly read what yuan and fatalysm have said - not due to interest but just my own personal lack of commitment to any piece of prose that's longer than a headline.

I think the closest we have to that forum feel is facebook groups. I like my cars and the dedicated facebook groups have that 'community' feel to them, unlike reddit - sure, you can post a question and it gets answered by someone, but its just not the same as seeing the same faces pop up. These groups also host local car meets and things like that so you get to start putting a face to the....  digital face.

I'm sure there's runescape groups that act the same on Facebook, I've visited the reddit and pay no attention to who the actual users are commenting or making threads.

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Posted (edited)

Forums seem to have more of a closed and private atmosphere. Fatalysm raises a good point in the sense that there is a sweet spot between forums and social media where a good niche could be obtained, I agree with that. Most of my experience exists with Facebook.

Edited by Sajoh

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Posted (edited)

Honestly, I think the moment you start introducing social media features into a particular form of community, it will continue to pull in that direction. Social media can best be summed up to have moved on from its origin of networking and communication, to be more about promotion of ideas, agendas or personalities. I think if you integrate it with a We-perspective, it might work out, but then users will start to argue for change towards a Me-perspective.

People want validation, and one of the more common traits among online community users, is that a lot of them have validation issues in "real" life. They want to be the most popular, the most appreciated or the most famous.
 

Validation is important, but when you become desperate, it tends to be gained at the cost of someone else's happiness. Communities, and forums, tend to work better when we work towards a common goal, and have fun together in the process. In a sense, that is why I think IRC was such a great thing to have alongside RuneScape or even forums, because that was still We-based (even if people wanted to make it Me-based). Something like Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat or Instagram are purely "Me-based", and that is just... the wrong way to go.

Edited by Yuanrang
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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, Yuanrang said:

People want validation, and one of the more common traits among online community users, is that a lot of them have validation issues in "real" life.

Ha, I believe it of all of us.

14 hours ago, Yuanrang said:

Honestly, I think the moment you start introducing social media features into a particular form of community, it will continue to pull in that direction. Social media can best be summed up to have moved on from its origin of networking and communication, to be more about promotion of ideas, agendas or personalities. I think if you integrate it with a We-perspective, it might work out, but then users will start to argue for change towards a Me-perspective.

I suppose that is why smaller communities dedicated to a single pastime are more reliable for avoiding that problem of "me-perspective". Think of comparing a forum like this to a more widespread gaming forum, the way the atmosphere and perspectives change just based on the formatting and audience size.

Edited by Sajoh

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