From the very beginnings of the Internet, people needed interaction with other Internet users, and one of the ways was through forums. Forums were there to share users’ impressions and experiences on some topics, mostly because these topics weren’t covered by official Internet pages, websites, and search engines. Forums functioned as a kind of community that would help you with some dilemmas, yet once you open a topic, you do not expect answers immediately. The real question is whether they are still used as before, or they have already become history.
Change of communication
The exchange of information has been accelerated by social networks where you connect and communicate with people daily, and the messages are transmitted faster than on forums. Moreover, social networks categorize profiles of peoples, places, products, so they offer more organized databases than forums. That is the reason people turn to social networks in the first place.
Are they reliable?
The evolution of Internet surfing has taught people to make a difference between reliable and unreliable sources. Since forums just offer strangers’ personal opinions and experiences, they cannot be listed as a reliable source of information. Furthermore, forums do not emphasize the most important issues on certain topics, they only represent the bulky list of users’ impressions. They can be only relevant if you bump upon the similar experience which you have, and to look up for a solution.
Is it difficult to navigate forums nowadays?
Keeping your audience interested in participating in forums is difficult nowadays. People do not have the patience to wait longer than a few minutes for other people’s opinions, and they focus on a faster exchange of information. It also has to do with the way of life which has changed in the last couple of years – we communicate faster, we travel more, we have to respond to the requests immediately. If they happen to visit a forum, it is only because of the specific question or a dilemma they have, and that is temporary.
The forums still making some sense are the supporting groups of famous websites, which you can turn to when you have an issue about using that very site. In other words, popular forums do not exist on their own – their popularity comes from their belonging to a larger site that has a FAQ and supporting community section. Yet, the comments underneath a certain photo or a video still have a forum format, in the case people try to describe their impression on a certain item and influence others to do the same or the opposite.
All things considered, forums in their original format are less and less needed. They can survive online only in some other Internet format that would meet users’ needs. Old-fashioned forums are still present on the Internet, yet very few people use them.