Brad Wardell's site for talking about the customization of Windows.
Published on January 30, 2019 By Frogboy In Personal Computing

It’s no secret forums have seen a serious decline in recent years versus social media. Which is a shame because social media is so impersonal.

I think this year I’m going to focus more time hanging out here.


Comments
on Jan 31, 2019

I hate dealing with social media. I've basically stopped participating on Twitter, and cut facebook down to a couple of times per month. About the only social media I use regularly is Mastodon and Diaspora, mostly because it's not as awful there. 

I'd rather use forums or discord instead of social media.

on Jan 31, 2019

I don't do social media. Tried it once, never again. At least in the forums no one is trying to demonize, disparage or tear down a person for being who he or she is. Respect and dignity actually means something unlike on social media where such things are seriously lacking. 

on Jan 31, 2019

bonusy

This is a natural trend and you can't help it. All the forums are going down, at least a bit in terms of traffic, so don't be surprised.

Especially since this is the one and only comment you have ever left on a Stardock Forum.

But there will always be spam ....

on Jan 31, 2019


But there will always be spam
I prefer potted meat.    [e digicons]:grin:[/e]  

 

I use Facebook mostly to keep up with family, since we live apart. I go there maybe 4 times a week.  Twitter I didn't like at all, tried it twice.  These forums used to be humming all the time, I miss that. 

on Jan 31, 2019

Twitter is a cesspool. Never tweeted, never will, and will never use their "service".

My Facebook is primarily used to keep in touch with family and friends. I may post something new once a month. I would post more but Facebook has become notorious for spying and censorship so I'm mindful of the things I post now. A shame it has come to that, really.

I read forums quite a bit. It is my primary source for many things, especially updates on my favorite games and games I am interested in.

on Jan 31, 2019

I actually prefer forums, but this is the only forum I ever post in. As others have said though, I do use Facebook too, but for friends and family mostly and showing previews of some of my designs I am working on. But I post those things here also.

Good to hear you will be on here more Brad.

on Jan 31, 2019

I don't really "use" social media any longer. I have a facebook account which I haven't posted to in a couple years. I also have a twitter account, which I have never tweeted with, but have used for some direct communications with CS reps throughout the years.

I still participate in quite a few forums. Most recently my heaviest forum usage was probably Steam (4 or 5 games and explorminate group), Rimworld (Ludeon studios), and then Stardock forums, with some other minor forum usage here and there.

Discord is great for immediate answers, but doesn't really help with questions where someone who is currently there doesn't know the answer.

I think that this is still where forum boards shine:
1) much easier to follow specific discussions over a longer time period.
2) threads stick around and are easy to search for future internet searches to find answers
3) just easier to navigate what has and has not been answered - on this line of thought, I really like Steam's feature of letting the original poster of a thread mark one of the posts as the "answer" to the thread.

 

on Jan 31, 2019

Saw this thread and just had to post... I've never used "social media" at all, except for Discord because of GC3 and being a founder. I've never had a use for it and don't see a need to ever use them. The negatives far outweigh the positives, imho... Okay, back to observer mode...

on Apr 01, 2019

This graph is interesting and has been shared around on some CM channels I am on.

on Apr 01, 2019

I'm very invested in a particular niche game for a niche hobby (Dropzone and Dropfleet Commander (tabletop wargaming)).

About 2 years or so ago, the purveryor of the game changed hands from one company to another... (though the creator of the game stayed on board).

This switch over coincided from a stance of "We have a forum, but barely moderate it and we barely engage with social media" to "We don't support or want a forum. We engage through facebook. We promise X amount of updates/etc."

With X being about 30% more than what has actually been given... which considering over-promising is an epidemic... I don't think is too bad.

 

As this occurred there was must hand wringing by the forum-people... and I decided that I would keep up with both. Ultimately though, the community in the forum died off, whilst the community in Facebook has grown or otherwise stayed the same.

In this particular niche group... neither group was more or less negative than the other. The big difference in content though, was images. People could easily post images to facebook whilst they could not in that particular forum and required the tedious process from camera to 3rd party to forum.

So I think in some ways, the nature of the group matters... in a group about painting tiny tanks and such... showing off those tanks and such is the prime activity... if it is easier on one platform vs another... than that is the advantage.

GC however, is a digital game... and ultimately showing off our spaceship designs is probably not the prime activity... debating features is. If showing off ships were... well this forum is well equipped for it (now) but the Steam sharing platform takes precedence. Debate of bugs/strategy/features is something where having a searchable and maintainable record is important...

So a forum makes more sense.

What would really be interesting though, is whether the feedback via forums vs social media differs overall and which user group spends more money on the games. I'd wager the forum goers are generally going to be more "hardcore" and their feedback more in-depth. Whereas social media will give you a greater view-in on your new/potential player base, and their complaints will better represent what your game is doing wrong to keep players invested.

So I guess what I'm saying is... the medium is affected by the nature of the topic and I think a company ought to maintain all of these. Even if you maintain a forum and clearly state "We don't moderate or discuss anything here. Good luck." that still shepherds the forum-style discussion to one place for future analysis without any accountability or responsibility.

on Apr 06, 2019

Forums are more helpful than social media imo. I have never used social media for that purpose.

on Apr 06, 2019

Imo, there are no forums vs. social media. The two are very, very different communication channels. If you think not, you haven't taken time to learn how to use them effectively according to your needs & preference.

on Apr 07, 2019

I agree somewhat with you Ygral but there is more to it than just that even.

This topic of Forums vs Social Media doesn't really account for platforms such as Discord, Reddit or even Steam. In many ways Discord in particular as revived a form of IRC but in a centralised format. This is neither social media (which is very public and unregulated) nor forums (static, highly regulated).

Reddit is also a tricky thing to tackle. Subreddits are often built around a particular community of likeminded individuals (similar to Something Awful) however it's again a huge platform which helps centralised a userbase of millions (similar to Twitter).