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Are Message Boards a Thing of the Past?

Several years ago, Yahoo’s Jeremy Zawodny made a prediction that set some people off. He (brilliantly) stated that forums and message boards would fade away and blogs would be the new form of online community. If you look at the thread on his Weblogs vs. Centralized Message Boards blog post, you will see that some people thought he was crazy to even suggest that blogs would replace message boards.

I believe the argument can be made that forums and message boards are a thing of the past in that they are often clunky (not user friendly), and usually require logins which people often forget – limiting the ability to participate. Blogs, on the other hand, are very easy to interact with, create community just as well, are very search engine and Social Media friendly, and have become a form of journalism with bloggers gaining national attention and big time press (and getting arrested) based on their work.

What are your thoughts?







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10 Responses to “Are Message Boards a Thing of the Past?”

  • You need a spot for “both.” Forums (message boards) and blogs serve two sets of purposes, some of which overlap.

    I think it’s easier for a forum to become a community, and non rock star wannababes may get more of their community-related needs met in a forum.

    On the other hand, you can’t beat a blog for self expression. :)

  • I used to think the same thing. But message boards are a booming thing in some of the less technical “clicks”. I do agree that they’re a bit clunky and not the most user friendly. Not many people doing UX work on old technology.

  • oldschool:

    @ Elizabeth – I do agree that there are some industries that cater more to message boards. I am sure it’s obvious, but I should have clarified that I was referring to open forums and boards, and not boards that would be exclusive to like a paid membership.

    @ Chris – Do you have any examples. To say that aren’t dying is one thing, but to say they are “booming” seems like a stretch to me.

  • In some industries both are prevalent. In aviation, I still give the edge to forums which allow pilots, flight attendants, and mechanics to exchange information. Flightinfo.com is an excellent example of a well run and popular message board community.

  • oldschool:

    @ Matt – I agree, some industries may be more inclined to use message boards, but I guess I would question whether those boards server the community, or foster community growth. I am probably not forming my question well, but then again, I am a techie at heart, what can I say :-)

  • I still find that message boards serve a purpose. If there’s a specific question you need answered urgently, you can’t exactly use a blog to get an answer (unless you can find a post that addresses your specific issue). Many forums have formed tight-knit communities over the years and continue to thrive because of this. I still use forums to get some of my questions answered in a relatively short period of time.

  • If logins are what differentiate between message boards and blogs, blogs too can be private with logins !!! Its like saying only publicly expressed thoughts and not so secure will remain, not private ones. It is a classic debate which is not going to leave us so easy for sometime. Both the forms will remain in one form or another as long as Internet exists.

  • oldschool:

    @ Kari – I agree, people seem more likely to search a message board than a blog.

    @ Murty – I understand a blog can be made private. Truly, I think that people who do that do not understand community because if you post and don’t want feedback, it’s like standing on a street corner with a megaphone and earplugs. I do agree that both will exist and have there place, but I find fewer and fewer message boards and more of them converting to blog formats for the purpose of taking advantage of Social Media.

  • Bill:

    Blogs are great for people who just like to randomly comment, and tell stories. I would compare blogging to facbook while as a forum is almost like a slowed down version of instant messenger. Forums wont ever die!

  • oldschool:

    @ Bill – I am convinced that forums won’t die but you have to give blogs more credit than that. There are more popular blogs than forums and they have a true following (community), not just random commenters.

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