Social Networks V's Forums

Discussion in 'Website Development & Design' started by Fergal, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. Fergal

    Fergal
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    How do you think the rapid growth of social networking sites will affect traditional forum websites, like our very own Business Advice Forum?

    Will people move away from forums and spend more time on social networks?

    What can forums do to meet this challenge?
     
  2. Kay

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    I hope not. I don't like social networks personally very much but enjoy forums. People seem to get closer faster to me at a forum but maybe I'm just not much in tune with how social networks operate and it's more a young person's game. It's too flighty for my liking.

    Forums have the big advantage of having more solid content I think. Social networks are like meeting your buddies down the pub and listening to their day, while forums are more like chatting around the water cooler at work. There's still a level of friendship and companionship there but also more professionalism/formality of structure underpinning it. Not the best of analogies LOL, but you get what I mean I hope. :)

    Social networks to me are just like blogging with a friends list attached. No one's really interested in what everyone else has to say and having genuine discussion. They just want to get out what they want to say and have it appear on everyone else's pages because they're listed as a friend. Of course I could just be an old cynic LOL.

    Forums can meet the challenge by providing a blend of the supposedly social side of social networks for those who like that and build on their added bonus of superior content. Add-ons like adding friends to your forum profile are already incorporated in many forums yet a lot of people don't realize it or don't use it. I think that shows they come to forums for different reasons than they go to social networks.

    If you keep forums looking modern rather than dated with new skins and popular mods, I don't see any reason for them to be superceded for a long time to come. There's room for both.

    That's my tuppence worth anyway. :)
     
  3. Nazreen

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    I do have to agree social networking sites have more appeal than forums especially at the outset. But I have to say that that appeal for social networking sites doesn't last for very long. Well, it doesn't last long for me anyway.

    I have a Multiply and Friendster account but I rarely visit them now. I also have Facebook and for a time, I was so engrossed uploading pics and adding friends and playing games but today, I probably open it only when I receive notifications through email or a new friend to add.

    Forums to me are very good in that you get to say your opinions and also read others opinions too. That's the main draw of forums for me...that and the opportunity to learn something new.

    However, there is one thing that Social Networking sites have that most forums lack and that is innovation. It seems that Social Networking sites are always introducing something new like ability to blog, play new games, post shoutouts, etc.
     
  4. Fergal

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    Thanks for the helpful replies. My experience has been similar. I've received excellent help and detailed advice, from the forums I participate in. Personally I don't get that from Social Networking sites.
     
  5. Kay

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  6. Fergal

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    Thanks for that Kay, I've started following them on Twitter and have sent them an email for further info.

    It's also interesting to note that the new version of VB includes some social networking functionality such as the ability to add friends and leave comments / messages on member profiles.
     
  7. flashgordonweb

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    Personally, I'm a bigger fan of forums. They are easier to follow threads on and seem to foster a better community. Social networks take a lot more time, you have to do a lot of browsing to see what is new or interesting, and seem to be more about the "features" then about networking or anything. I do use some of the ning social networks, and also LinkedIn. But I am not on Facebook, Myspace, or any others.
     
  8. Kay

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    You're welcome, glad it's of help. :)

    Yep, that's what I was talking about when I said about how some forums had social networking type add-ons but people don't seem to either know they're there or don't care to use them. I fall into the latter category. I don't know, it just doesn't seem right to blur the lines between forums and social networks like that or we end up with a hybrid instead of two distinct types of communities. I guess I'm just too used to using a basic forum and am comfortable with that format and how it operates. Once again I'm resisting progress. :rolleyes:
     
  9. silent_thunder

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    I know this debate will come sometime soon.SO I decided to have both a forum and social network and link them both. I was hard at work to linking both these worlds together .I think I succeeded in making it work now I need to promote it.

    Indianbee has everything..well sort of everything
     
  10. Fergal

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    Silent, I'd be very interested in hearing a little bit more on how you accomplished that. Would you mind providing some details and a link?
     
  11. Kay

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    The link's in his sig, Fergal. :)

    I like the layout, it looks nice. I see that's a phpBB board you're using with the Joomla. Does that integrate the membership throughout the site or do they need to sign up for the Joomla side and the forum side separate? The only forum I ever found that worked via one main signup right was Fireboard because it's custom built for Joomla.

    We attempting bridging an old SMF one before with a new Joomla install which wasn't easy at all but leaving it as it was was even more hassle. Trying to get people to understand that the new part of the site was Joomla driven and used a different login than their forum based signup was a nightmare. Of course that was a few years back now so things may be much better now. I'd be interested how much that's changed and if it's all a single login now.

    Slightly off topic I know but... Silent, did you make your banner yourself? I've been looking for a bee cartoon along those lines for ages for a site header/logo and couldn't find one I liked. I don't want to pay a fortune for one either though. Maybe you can point me in the direction of a good graphics place to try please? I promise I won't use the same one. :)

    Btw, your right hand column that lists the forum posts should say "Latest Discussions", not "Lastest".
     
    #11 Kay, Jan 26, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2009
  12. Fergal

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    Thanks Kay, so it's Indian Bee?
     
  13. scifi

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    In a way these social networking sites affects the traditional forum websites because people often feels more comfortable while on social networking sites chatting with the ones they know rather than conversing with some strangers on the forums.
    But again there are some pros & cons in each of the cases for eg. you share common interest & happen to make new friends in the traditional forums , a unique combination of interest & friendship which yields fruitful results too...a thing you will not get at social networking site.
     
  14. Nazreen

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    Yes, I think Silent_thunder is referring to the Indian Bee too. There's a forum there and also a Beez Group so it's like a combination of both forum and social networking site.

    Silent_thunder, I think that there's a minor grammatical error in you Forum category: MBA. It should be "..getting the most sought after Postgraduate degrees..".

    Yes, I agree with you on this completely Scifi. It is also only in forums where you can discuss or even debate topics with total strangers. I don't think you can do that in Facebook or Myspace.
     
  15. silent_thunder

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    lolz I think I should hire some ladies for proof reading Awesome work Kay and Nazreen corrected the mistakes thanks:D


    The logo costed me the most int he entire project, jvcreativity is the company that I used to create, john vicino is from the the states you can also hire him he was great, its definitely worth it if you as me.

    The forum and joomla are using a single user database.
     
  16. Nazreen

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    You're very much welcome Silent_thunder. Not too sure if ladies are the only ones who are good at proofreading though. I'd bet that there are also a lot of guys out there who are good at this.
     
  17. scifi

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    I don't want to take the thread off the topic but would like to point out here that the discussion here at forum includes all kinda chats & comments in addition to regular discussion which you will find social networking sites lacking for eg. discussion between Kay, Nazreen & Silent Thunder..their comments about silent ,proof reading etc...:D
     
  18. Swastik

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    Hmm, Rather interesting debate and it's the first one of it's kind I've seen.

    Haven't thought much of this earlier, but the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the topic was - I like forums more, I frequent forums more, Forums have proved to be more beneficial for me. Social networks, there is a lot of hoopla over them, tend to be more of "chit-chat", "just for friends" kind of discussion, at least for me.

    I've an account at Facebook, don't remember the last time I used it. I've an account at Orkut which is operated by my school friends LOL. Only Social network I'm used to is Twitter, and I don't tweet a lot. Don't know why, but I'm not attracted to it. I've used it more to update (irregularly) about what is happening on the Internet.

    On the other hand, forums have contributed a lot to what I know today. In fact, I'd credit all my success to forums which helped me learn a lot with all the replies from people who know much more than me, are more experienced at stuff. It was way more targeted, and using social networks I'd have never learnt what I did.

    And, maybe it's just me, but some social "bookmarking" websites (that can also serve as "networks") are way too manipulated by power users, who can submit a duplicate story and get it 100x more popular than the original submitter. It's all about friends there... It's like the bigger you are.. the bigger you can get. The smaller you are, more the problems. But then, it was just me LOL.
     
  19. Nazreen

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    I'm glad that you also agree with me on that important value of forums which is the chance on learning something, Swastik. There are a lot of forums which are specifically aimed at learning but I have to say that almost all forums are places for learning. In forums, we debate, we argue and we share and we also make sure that we do not impose on others our opinions and that we are right (although others have). And in doing that, we also learn.

    So far, the only thing I've learnt since joining Facebook was to play a word twist game. :)
     

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