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Member Since 02 Feb 2010
Offline Last Active Dec 08 2019 12:01 AM

#3168 Review - five days in

Posted by stocktrader on 21 October 2011 - 10:34 PM

I thought I was going to miss the 24/7 live chat feature that other sites have, but since those chats never get me anywhere anyway...I don't miss it at all.

That's so true. Having 24/7 support from a typical hosting company is like having a diner right down the street from your house that is open 24 hours, but has really sh*tty food.
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#1658 Forums on the decline

Posted by stocktrader on 02 December 2010 - 09:27 AM

Actually I've thought about this issue before and I don't think forums are on the decline.

Firstly, the perception that forums are on the decline, in my opinion, is based on the fact that the failure rate of forums has increased considerably over the last 7 years or so. These statements might seem contradictory but they are not, because the reason for the increased failure rate is due to the huge number of forums (and web sites in general) that have been created over the last 5-10 years due to:

- cheap hosting
- free MyQL
- free web templates
- the rise of user-created content
- and the monetization of the internet with Google Adsense and affiliate programs.

Even though the demand for forums has grown steadily over this time period, the supply of forums has grown much faster. This is because there have been a ton of newbie webmasters looking to make some easy money online that thought that creating a successful forum would be easy. So the perception of the decline of forums is more due to the disappointment from the forum creators.

With that being said, there are important issues to think about going forward. One of the biggest possible changes for the future on the internet is the possible decline of email use. There has been a shift in people using their Facebook accounts for talking to their friends rather than email because of spam mostly.

Another influence is blogs. With blog readers having the ability to post comments to blog posts, some of the internet conversations shifted to blogs. But this didn't have a serious dent on forums my opinion. Blog posts with comments are not really a group conversation. They are more like a one-to-many conversation (the blog poster to his readers) followed by many one-to-one conversations (each commenter talking back to the blog poster).

Even though your question doesn't pertain to blogs or email in particular, these are important trends to consider because they both have to do with the "conversation domain" - i.e. where are people on the internet talking to each other. Forums, which are probably the most popular conversation domains for strangers who talk on the internet, may be influenced by social media. Maybe they even already have. I am not plugged into the social media world enough to have noticed.

Rather than thinking about the quantity of internet conversation (i.e. are forums on the decline?). I think a more important question to think about would be, "How will those conversations change?" Most web entrepreneurs will be quick to bring up "mobile" as the future, but I personally don't think this is a game changer. Being able to read something that somebody wrote to you while sitting in your car as opposed to your house will not fundamentally change internet conversation.

The most important change in the future, IMO, will be video. I think video would have a profound effect on internet communication. Imagine 10 years from now if forums were strictly video-based. A VBulletin user would create a thread by posting a video and other users would reply to the thread with video replies. This completely changes the dynamics of communication.

Ive always thought that when two people talk in real-life, the two most important dynamics which govern interpersonal communication are: looks and charisma. I think most people would disagree with that statement and try to make the case that other, most virtuous characteristics play a bigger part, like intelligence and courtesy. When you introduce the ability to actually see the people you are talking to this will completely change everything.

The one thing that the Facebook revolution has showed people is that the internet's greatest potential is when people use it for things that they do in real life - like talk to their friends. People initially wrote off social networking as an irrelevant trend initially because MySpace users gave people the impression that social networking was all about posting stupid animated GIFs on people personal pages. But Facebook brought real-life usability. Facebook, in essence, is a "social utility" that allows you to have real-life conversations - similar to your phone company supplying you a phone to talk to people. The revolution in video will be the same. Over the next 20 years there will be tens of billions of dollars made from the potential for video. I'm not just talking about multi-billion dollars companies like Netflix steaming Hollywood movies. I'm talking about more granualr activities.

- Customer service people at e-commerce sites will talk to your via web cam
- Monster.com could conduct job interviews with people from their homes
- Dating sites like Match.com will revive the chat rooms with videos cams (with porn cam filters to keep away spam)
- VBulletin forums will be video-based
- The blogging community will be conquered by video bloggers who are attractive and charismatic while their strictly text-based counterparts will be relegated to the B-list.

The web has started to integrate video into some aspects of the web, like with EHow video tutorials and Amazon video reviews, but these are not person-to-person communication.

I'll write more later. The market is about to open.
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