It’s no secret that things online move quickly. What is current one month may not be current the following month. Technology in general moves quickly, but web based trends move even quicker. Today we’re going to discuss the “web community” and how this once cornerstone of our web-based activities is quickly dying out only to be replaced by other, less anonymous and information specific alternatives.
Below is a run through of the various ways people have communicated over the past 20 years online and even from this small subset of options you can clearly see how far things have moved on in just a relatively short space of time. Whilst some of these still have their place, it’s clear to see that they’re a dying breed. I can only image where we’ll be and what we’ll be using to communicate with each other in the next 20 years or so.
This is what we used to use in the pass before traditional websites as you know them know came about. You used to dial in to certain computers and once connected that computer would serve you a page of information like you get when you access a website today. These were known as bulletin boards and people used to dial in and leave messages for other people to dial in and pick up. I guess it’s similar to the way a traditional bulletin board works in your office etc. These became forums so to speak and lots of forums carry BB in their name as a result of this. MyBB is one of them.
If you were around in the late 90’s, early 00’s you’ll remember the popularity of online web chats. Personally, I used to spend hours hanging out on the old iChat forums around the web talking to strangers from the other side of the world about nothing in particular. That was the fun of it. Nothing subject specific or too information heavy, just idle chatter to pass the time of day all from the comfort of your living room. Unfortunately people these days don’t have the time (or even want) to spend all day chatting to strangers. Online chat from a personal standpoint these days is limited to friends and family solely it seems.
There is still a place online for the traditional web forum. Software makers such as vBulletin and Xenforo are still doing good business and you’ll still find lots of traditional forums with over 100,000 users a piece. But they’re not as mainstream as they was. No longer are they used just to randomly chat the forums today tend to me more questions/answer based and highly niche specific rather than just “general”. Most people these days however simply Google for whatever they want an answer to and seldom bother posting on a forum and waiting for a response.
Due to the sheer size and popularity of Facebook, user groups are fast becoming the place to go if you want to talk about something specific. Whether you want to chat idly to like minded people or you want an answer to that burning question if you find a facebook group that is relevant you’ll no doubt be able to find someone to cater to your needs.
Whilst its obvious that things are changing and rightly so, it’s also clear that there is still a place for online/web based communities of sorts. They’ve just changed their approach and how they’re operated. People in general do not want to waste hour after hour posting nonsense and talking to strangers anymore. They want to chat with a select group about specific subjects in the quickest and easiest way forward. More people are communicating via the web now more than ever, how it happens though has changed massively over the years.