Message Boards: Are They Dead?

I’ve frequented message boards since my early teens. In some ways it allowed me to escape my reality while also connecting with those trying to escape their own. It allowed me to form friendships, something I struggled with in real life, and it gave me the ability to express myself.

Now with the evolution of social media and websites like Facebook where you have the ability to create and maintain groups, message boards are no longer as prevalent. And even if you so happen to find a message board, you’ll notice very little activity as more and more people migrate their lives and posts to the Facebook medium.

Now, Facebook will never truly replace message boards because while it affords the ability to join groups based on a certain interests, unlike a message board where you can easily to go ONE location that covers numerous interests/topics, you’re forced instead to have to join multiple groups, making it harder to keep up with or invest in. Not only that but in my experience, with larger FB groups, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd, though that’s not to say the same isn’t true on message boards. message boards

I suppose the biggest difference between Facebook and a message board is customization and post styles. A message board affords the owners the ability to create themes specific to their members interest, whereas Facebook has a consistent look throughout. Members don’t have the ability to create signatures and the topics they discuss are limited to replies by the friends they have that have similar interests. Generally, this is true of message boards as well, but I’ve found that those who posts on message boards tend to have the same interests, broad or specific, allowing members to more easily connect. In addition, a simple image on Facebook suffices for a post and can generate tons of replies, where as on a message board, an image may not clearly deliver the message intended by the topic creator, more so there’s little value in posting just an image because its likely to generate little or no response.

So does this mean message boards no longer serve a purpose? To an extent, yes. It’s harder to generate interests when their are some many other avenues that people can go to to connect with others, BUT message boards still serve a purpose. If you’re looking for a single site where you can discuss multiple topics or hell, discuss topics that are a subset to an interest, then message boards are the way to go. If you value customization, organization, and the ability to make yourself stand out with signatures and snazzy avatars, then it’s likely you’ll enjoy message boards. Keep in mind, however, that while message boards can ensure diversity, it does come with a simple caveat that many tend to forget, a community is only as good as the members that are active. Unlike, Facebook where the need for activity is not truly necessary, message boards do require a certain commitment by its members.

So are message boards dead?

Overall, I wouldn’t say message boards are dead, I’d just say those who own them or are interested in being a part of them are failing to recognize that interaction is a necessary component. Unlike Facebook, where its members can post statuses that garner no replies, this is not true of a board. Without replies, members lose interest, and the board dies.

So the next time you think of joining a message board, remind yourself that your activity plays a crucial role in its success, because without it, the board is as good as dead.

10 Responses to Message Boards: Are They Dead?

  1. Dez and I were JUST discussing this. The nice thing about message boards is organization. I like categories and hierarchical structure. Facebook just doesn’t have it, and busy groups become MUCH harder to navigate when there are so many threads. Stuff gets buried so much easier and there’s no good way to bookmark threads. I don’t like the update system quite as much, either. As soon as you reply, you always get notifications. Those little red numbers do a number on my anxiety, heh.
    cole recently posted… Little Passports Fundraising For Your School!My Profile

    • I am glad I’m not the only one who can get a bit obsessed over the numbers. My husband is perfectly content with ignoring them and I’m like you HAVE to click it. Make the notifications go away! LMFAO.

      But yes, Facebook has it’s features but I despise how unorganized it can be. Even the search function in groups is lacking and I have a hard time finding things.
      Ang recently posted… Message Boards: Are They Dead?My Profile

  2. I think that message boards are pretty much dead. Whit and I have had this conversation multiple times. I hate that they’re dead though. I don’t find anything personal about facebook groups. I don’t know why. I feel like people have gotten away from communities, and meeting new people and rather stick to their own bubble :/
    Rochelle recently posted… It’s time to get off of this coaster.My Profile

  3. I really miss message boards. Facebook is so incredibly cluttered and in a group it’s almost impossible to find older threads, which makes it hard to get an idea of what the group is about, if it looks interesting, etc. Forum sites also have control over the content and privacy and such, while on Facebook they change the settings every other day, and even if a group is “private” I wouldn’t consider it private because of how the whole Facebook business is being managed.

    Most ‘general’ boards are rather dead, I belong to a few but nobody posts, and if I try to post, it can take months before someone replies. However, there are some good music forums that are very active, specific instrument related forums. But I really miss other kinds of forums to just chit chat about anything and make new friends.
    Susanne recently posted… Plans for the summerMy Profile

  4. The ones on my site are pretty much dead, but I think that’s because I don’t have as many members that I did when I had PHPBB up. Facebook is lacking though with their message boards and it really makes me miss the old Myspace message boards. I think one of the biggest reasons that a lot of the message boards would fail in the past was not the lack of commitment from members, but there were some people who would have 3 or 4 different sites with a message board on it with pretty much all the same topics and such, so people would just stop going, then of course they’d have silly rules like I know one board was be active at least once a week or your account is disabled, why would anyone want to put up with rules like that?
    Sean recently posted… Mortgage Papers CameMy Profile

  5. Aww, I miss the days of engaging with my online friends on message boards and tag boards! :’)

    To be honest, I have been a part of a message board since I left community many years ago, I was an active member over there and made many lasting friendships which are still thriving to this day. :)

    FaceBook has never really appealed to me and I hardly use mine *__*, I’m more of a Twitter user because it feels more ‘real-time’ and personal – a bit like a message board, I suppose! XD
    Kate recently posted… The Liebster AwardMy Profile

  6. Since I don’t know how the private post system works, I’ll comment on the next available post :). Hope you don’t mind~

    I feel you about being able to escape reality in message boards. It’s an easy way to communicate to people whenever you want and it’s nicely organized so you can browse around through it easily. Facebook lets everyone know what people are doing whether it’s liking a post or playing a game. Thankfully, it doesn’t have the same feature that some forums do where it tells you what page the person is looking at.

    What you said about the differences between Facebook and a message board is true. It’s more “acceptable” to post “spam” messages on Facebook than a board such as just a smiley face on its own.

    Message boards these days has to have a really good theme to it, otherwise it will collapse and die out. Some popular boards that exists today mostly have to do with gaming. One of the boards I’m kind of actively involved in is a college forum- but mostly in the specific schools section to see what other applicants have for their grades and their admission status.

    Your summary is on spot. In a message board, contribution from members is the key to success.
    Nancy recently posted… Good News AwaitsMy Profile

  7. I miss message boards even though I know that they’re still kind of around. That being said, I do think they are pretty much dead.

    Message boards are definitely up to the contribution of users, so it’s kind of sad to see a board that has a lot of potential not that active. I remember I used to be a part of this one board which had topics ranging from everything – it even had a reading club, film club and a stamp trading post.

    Ah, those were the days!
    Chynna recently posted… March WantsMy Profile

  8. I have such a hard time navigating the Facebook group posts. And I have a hard time finding things that I saw posted and maybe couldn’t give my full attention to. For example, I love Byte Sized but I feel so lost when I am trying to follow threads or find things I might have seen when I glanced at my phone rather than when I’m sitting at my computer. What I miss about message boards is the organization. I just wish there was a way to add more structure to Facebook groups.
    Christina recently posted… Sick againMy Profile

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