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IP.Board & The Forum Will Be Dead Within 5 Years

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I agree that facebook was mostly social talk. But not anymore. Facebook is changing and they are improving their groups step by step. Their groups are now turned into social groups with many features and on topic discussion. Facebook is pushing members to join their groups, by allowing anyone to add others to groups. It does not beat forums in discussion functionality yet, but it surely will get there.



Quite the opposite actually. We've been approached by at least two heavy Facebook brands who have or want to switch to IPB because they've outgrown their Facebook page. They cite that it's hard to interact directly with fans and that it's impossible to search for content or look at older content.

I expect this trend to continue as companies use Facebook to build a brand and then look to expand it outside of Facebook.

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Further, Facebook has a habit of changing their implementation quite frequently. With the latest "Timeline" feature, for instance, I know of some fan pages that are finding it harder and harder to use Facebook for their brand because they can't control it as well as they want to.

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Dated today :

LinkedIn launched its first iPad app this evening, and it brings a brand new look and feel to the social network.

Screenshots :

http://www.businessinsider.com/linkedin-launches-new-ipad-app-2012-4#heres-the-login-screen-enter-your-email-address-and-password-to-get-started-1

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Steve Jobs was asked about PC vs. tablet. He said that early in automotive history, lots of people had trucks. Once America became urbanized, cars became dominant and trucks were used only by those who needed them.

He felt PCs would be the same way - creators would use them and most people would have tablets.

One could say the same of forums vs. Facebook.

I throw this out, even though I completely disagree with Jobs. Of course, he was a billionaire and I am not :smile: I think information technology is very different that trucks and there are far more creators.

anyway...just musing.

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I discussed this very topic recently with a friend. Not just this software but generally. I have 754 members in an army forum but most of them chat via facebook. Very annoying conssidering the work I have put into the forum over the years.

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Having used Facebook Pages and Facebook Groups from both a consumer and a site owner perspective I think they have nothing to compare with a forum. I say this because whenever I have had issues with say a product for instance I don't think of going on that products facebook page and posting my issue, instead I will go and see if that product/service has a forum. Forums are, as others have mentioned, much more searchable, with a popular facebook page things disappear off the bottom all too quickly and people forget about them. On the flipside it is a very good advertising and marketing opportunity. But if you want to support a product or a service then it is not great or well suited at all.

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Has this topic devolved into Cryptic vague statements now then?
Can you not... elaborate, provide a point to your argument rather than stating your personal perceptions in generally ambiguous statements?
You want better share links(OP being re-read here... whole start of this oddness).... well guess what, you can edit the skin, there's even a share links template.... :unsure:

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We actually started buying a lottery ticket for our site and invited all our members to "like" us on Facebook to be included in any win - from over 4,000 members on our site we had around 100 likes. Some members actually told me they don't have a Facebook because they couldn't be bothered with it at all .. which, if I'm honest, surprised me - others told me although they had one they rarely used it!! Kinda says it all in regards to this argument :)

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Some members actually told me they don't have a Facebook because they couldn't be bothered with it at all .. which, if I'm honest, surprised me - others told me although they had one they rarely used it!! Kinda says it all in regards to this argument :smile:



Well this is from Alexa about your site. Kinda says it all in regards to your argument against the original argument.

Based on internet averages, frxxxxxxbb.com is visited more frequently by males who are over 65 years old, have no children and received some college education.


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forums will never die, facebook or not, because forums are different to facebook. Facebook is full of people saying nothing or spamming.. Forums are not like that, and there comes a time when people get fed up of talking, but saying nothing, and this is where (if they are that way inclined) hunt out a forum to discuss stuff in depth..
what worries me the most is our future traffic thinking long term because people have changed now from what they want from a forum, the older end (over 30) are content with discusing something but the younger end want to share stuff, even as they grow older its still part of their culture and net upbringing, they want more than simple forums, they want something like a Ning setup and i do hope that in the future IPS will grow into that sort of output...
i think what we will find in years to come is the simple structure will start to vanish for more dedicated facebook like sites that we ourselves run that is geared towards our subject rather than that mismash that facebook is.
that to me is the only way to survive in the furture,

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I don't know if anyone has posted this yet, but some hard evidence rather than an opinion:

http://www.google.com/trends/?q=forum

Of course, this doesn't take into account other meanings of the word "forum", but I don't see those changing in popularity too much, so it seems like this would be pretty accurate.




Not really, I don't call any of my IP.Board's forums... that's just an insult to what a wonderful content management system it is... Try using trends (as they call them) like IPB or IP.Board or Invision, You'll find out much better results then for forum...



You continue listening to what Alexa tells you, and I'll continue to be here, in the "real" world :smile:




Haha, finally, someone who lives in the real world!

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The thing is that most people don't realize that message forums have existed far before Facebook came along and they'll continue to exist long after Facebook and social media are gone. What most don't realize is that before the "web browsing" version of the internet came along, the bulletin board experience started it all out. The thing is, the message forum experience continues to evolve. I remember when I first started with the bulletin board experience and it was with the ISCABBS system, which was a text based bulletin board system.. Then, it evolved into the more familiar "graphic or image-laden" message forum system that we're familiar with with software like vBulletin and IPB.

I just don't see the forum experience disappearing anytime soon and I'm actually seeing it evolve into something of a more "virtual" experience, sort of like a message forum version of IMVU. But, I don't see the message forum experience disappearing anytime soon.

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Possibly. Or will a new entity that's comprised of a mish mash of all elements rise from the sump pit.



This

lads got the right idea. IP.Board should be incorporating almost each and every feature that gives rise to these websites successes.



The success of a product is not done by copying other products, but innovating and creating features that those products don't offer.

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Not really, I don't call any of my IP.Board's forums... that's just an insult to what a wonderful content management system it is... Try using trends (as they call them) like IPB or IP.Board or Invision, You'll find out much better results then for forum...




~50% of people would call the IP.Board section of their website a "forum" though, with the rest mostly calling it "boards", and then a few saying other things. You can cover a majority of forums by looking up the trend for forum/forums, so this gives us a good idea of how popular forums are over time.

IPB, IP.Board and Invision are all terrible trends to look up if you're trying to determine how popular forums are for the general public. IPB is an acronym which would be used be a lot of stuff, same goes for Invision-- it would mostly bring up results using the dictionary word. None of them are really suitable though, because even ignoring that, who calls the IP.Board section of their website "IPB" / IP.Board / "Invision"? You don't do that, you call it Forums/Community/Boards/Discussion or w/e.

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On the one hand, forums have largely died or are dying because most websites now cater for twitter/facebook style commenting. Most blogs use it, many games are built on social media platforms and then of course there is the social media aspect itself of using Facebook, etc.

People don't actively LOOK for communities any more because their are a couple or so that has nearly 80% of everyone they know on them and they can get live updates from companies and firms rather than go to a forum and discuss it. Some of the biggest forums out on the internet have seen a 50% or more drop in the activity of their users from 2006 and now! They are continually having to evolve and develop new ways to engage their users and have many "forums" have now become their own fully blown websites offering so much more that the forum side of it is just an after-thought, a place for those that use the site to offer their feedback.

Forums will never fully die much the same as old game consoles never die (they grow old, rarely used much and then become retro again) but they will never in their current format become a huge success again as what was once a "bedroom project" for many companies in the late 90's starting up forum software, has now become "social media" that is run by multi-billion £££ companies who are continually pushing and shaping the world we live in for more market share.

A great example of how forums are struggling to engage our older users is actually shown recently with the launch of the iOS app...... a great deal of people now access their favourite forums via their mobile phone. Some other nameless forum softwares are not catering for this and therefore are losing a lot of audience. People are using their smartphones to engage with entire communities away from the laptop/desktop through twitter, facebook, google+ and then on to apps like Kik and Whatsapp and BBM without needing to register and use the old forum format. These apps and social networks are much less fiddly and fussy to use and engage with the people that matter than forums.

On the other hand tho, I believe IPB are the market leaders when it comes to developing out side of the box. The way they are focusing more and more away from just a forum, and into online shopping (nexus), Content Management (IPContent) and chat which can be done via the mobile phone (IPChat) is why IPB has still a lot of life within it and why it can outlast some of the other forum softwares.
They are constantly adding more additions to their suite that works alongside the social networks rather than compete against them, and they are working towards keeping the forum alive.

What they need to consider is somehow fulling intergrating with the social media networks much more such as Facebook comments that can be imported and exported into posts in real-time. For example.....

I go to XXXX Forum...... I see a topic I really like and I share it on my Facebook profile.

Then one of my friends makes a comment to that Facebook status.... but not only does it show the comment on my profile page but it also adds that same "comment" as a reply to the forums topic too. If the person is a registered member it appears as that username, if they have yet to register to the forum it appears as a guest post (with their Facebook username as their guest username).

Now the same can be done with Twitter..... Google+ too...

At the moment you have a forum producing great topics that can be shared across social networks.....

but what if they could keep working after they are shared, to collect all the comments and replies from across the networks and bring them all back to the Forum. And suddenly your community is incredibly active because your registered members are now engaging in real-time with Twitter users, Facebook users, etc, and those users are not having to register to engage in the discussion. In effect, IPB becomes a cross-platform social network of its own.

It is this kind of development that is needed to keep forums alive, and something I believe IPB can do very well if it keeps its eye on the ball.

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I find the discussions regarding Google trends a little funny TBH. As a typical user, I don't go to google and search "forum" or "forums". I search "ford mustang" or "fun things to do in new york city" and then click through results. I am more likely to contribute on a forum if I reach one, simply because that is its purpose (compared to a blog where you may be able to comment, but your comment isn't part of an ongoing discussion for example) and because I can ask customized questions and get the answers I'm after.

Using google trends to gauge forum popularity seems misguided. It might be useful to gauge new forum startup interest, but not whether forums are "alive" or "dead" IMHO.

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People are using their smartphones to engage with entire communities away from the laptop/desktop



This is why I really want rid of the mobile skin. It looks bland and uninviting. People get an impression on what the forum is based on the mobile skin and it's detrimental.

But I've tried several times to disable it, yet when I visit the site the mobile skin still pops up. The average user won't be clicking 'full version'.

Edit - Oh, cos the truth is most smart phones can handle the standard skin now..... and when 4G becomes more widespread I can't see the mobile skins serving much purpose.

What would be more practical in the long run is just a thinner version of the standard. Virtually the same but without a user having to zoom in.

Edit 2 - The above would require a lot of thought obviously.

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