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  • Future of Forums and Aquatic Information

    There is no doubt that forums are on the way down, and has been for years. With the advent of Youtube, Facebook and more recently Instagram, I feel there has been a slow down, but don't have access to any data however.

    What are your feelings about this?

    Does anyone have any data?

    Would you rather just FB it....

  • #2
    Data would be interesting to see, not sure if this would be available to anyone on here or not though...

    My guess for why the forums are on their way down in traffic has a lot to do with how quickly someone can get a "live" answer on social media compared to a forum. How often do we visit forums vs social media usage. Just how society has become accustomed ot using socia media in extreme amounts of time. If you follow some of hte major groups on facebook for example, you'll see the same general questions being posted for the most part with people getting "live" answers quickly and that post disappearing shortly after never to be seen again.

    Forums are more ideal for information storage, etc. You can always search for information prior to posting, its going to show up on google, etc. Facebook, not so much to either of these. I doubt very many people are using the search functionality on facebook these days. Its unfortunate that social media has taken over forum activity, I remember our forum here used to be absolutely cranking with new posts daily in the past!
    "The stuff I buy is a bit pricey however it is as dry as a nuns nasty" - BigDaddyAdo

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    • #3
      Agree with your @indir. Ironic that the @ comes from the social media. :P

      The live aspect can be addictive and so efficient as well. I can almost get live instructions (forget DISCORD servers) on FB when I am troubleshooting a quadbuild.

      All the big names are on Youtube - George Farmer, DIY fish guy etc etc

      Do you see forums still being popular in 10 years for example?

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      • #4
        Actually @ has been part of BB3 forums for a while bro Haha.

        Yeah the live aspect is what makes it so easy/quick for people to get what htey need, and is why social media is becoming more and more popular over forums, etc.

        All the YouTubers are on facebook nowadays too Haha.

        10 years down the line, i doubt we'll be popular on forums. Hell even social media will change in that time frame. 10 years is too long for technology to guess anything haha.

        Personally I prefer forums over facebook, its easier to follow threads you want/need. Facebook is okay with its notifications etc, but half the time there is too many comments that it makes it painful to follow the popular threads and eventually they get lost in my notifications and/or the page itself.

        Though I must admit, I started an apistograma australia facebook group recently and I feel it was an awesome idea. There is quite a few active members who have or are chasing some quite rare fish. So it makes following who has what quite good, but this is a niche group with a few hundred poeple not 1000's I guess... That makes the difference for me. Specialised groups make a bit more sense on social media compared to generalised groups (aka Forum style groups).
        "The stuff I buy is a bit pricey however it is as dry as a nuns nasty" - BigDaddyAdo

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        • #5
          Fish clubs are down as well as forums. People use live media like facebook (fb) and either get hundreds of useless responses or none. At least on forums they can get more informative responses.

          I have seen it happen a number of times, someone on fb asks about their fish and every Tom, Dick and Harry throws in a one sentence response and none of them are useful. It's a bit like going to the doctor and saying "doc, i have a rash", then walking out before the doctor can look at it and give a response.

          Quite frankly, live media is useless when it comes to helping with identifying fish (and other animal) health issues.

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          • #6
            @Colin_T - I somewhat agree with you there. There is more one liners than proper explanations, etc. But that is the nature of the beast, everything on social media is "live" and "fast fast fast" which causes this issue.

            However, I find this to be the case mostly in large generalised fish groups compared to niche groups. I am for example in a killifish only group and an apistogramma only group and these groups are much much more informative (albeit there is less posts due to the smaller group size and niche).
            "The stuff I buy is a bit pricey however it is as dry as a nuns nasty" - BigDaddyAdo

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            • #7
              Personally I think Forums still have their places amongst social media platforms. Especially for the more enthusiast demographics. Forums offer a considerable advantage in depth when it comes to specialized content and this is not easily replicated on Youtube for the simple fact that producing an informative and visually appealing video would take dozens of hours providing you have the equipment and knowhow. Yes one can shoot a very knowledgeable video with his cellphone and post it on youtube without much editing but this often means the video will be way down on the search algorithm. Forum posts on the other hand take much less effort and is documented in an easy to search format. All this translate to a more rewarding experience for both contributors and readers.

              For someone like myself (in my 30s) the typical priority of looking for online content goes like this: Google -> webpage answers + Youtube -> Forums / Quora. Experience tells me that Forums are usually the pinnacle of specialise knowledge online.

              Facebook is having its own decline right now as newer platforms are out-niching this ‘Legacy’ social media format. Its survival hinges on whether it can acquire key emerging platforms and turn FB into a Mother-of-All comprehensive social media platform, similar to what WeChat has done.

              Forums do still have their challenges. I feel like forums need to integrate much better with Youtube and other platforms to appeal to a broader audience without becoming pseudo marketing playgrounds that Youtube and Facebook are increasingly turning into.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Orcustus View Post
                Personally I think Forums still have their places amongst social media platforms. Especially for the more enthusiast demographics. Forums offer a considerable advantage in depth when it comes to specialized content and this is not easily replicated on Youtube for the simple fact that producing an informative and visually appealing video would take dozens of hours providing you have the equipment and knowhow. Yes one can shoot a very knowledgeable video with his cellphone and post it on youtube without much editing but this often means the video will be way down on the search algorithm. Forum posts on the other hand take much less effort and is documented in an easy to search format. All this translate to a more rewarding experience for both contributors and readers.

                For someone like myself (in my 30s) the typical priority of looking for online content goes like this: Google -> webpage answers + Youtube -> Forums / Quora. Experience tells me that Forums are usually the pinnacle of specialise knowledge online.

                Facebook is having its own decline right now as newer platforms are out-niching this ‘Legacy’ social media format. Its survival hinges on whether it can acquire key emerging platforms and turn FB into a Mother-of-All comprehensive social media platform, similar to what WeChat has done.

                Forums do still have their challenges. I feel like forums need to integrate much better with Youtube and other platforms to appeal to a broader audience without becoming pseudo marketing playgrounds that Youtube and Facebook are increasingly turning into.
                Agree with the marketing comment and the point that you need highly polished videos on Youtube which means that you need to get paid for them.

                With forums, it is considerable effort to post images easily IMHO. This can also reduce participation.

                The hobby is highly dependent on visual forms so video etc can nicely complement the learning.

                What I have found is that I met the experts in the forums and contact them via messenger for instant replies!!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by indir View Post
                  However, I find this to be the case mostly in large generalised fish groups compared to niche groups. I am for example in a killifish only group and an apistogramma only group and these groups are much much more informative (albeit there is less posts due to the smaller group size and niche).
                  @Indir,, do you predict that forums will still survive the next 10 years? Perhaps for specialised groups, it may??


                  @Colin, our aquarium club in Canberra is growing! We hardly have enough space in the meeting room some nights. One night we had 130 auction lots!!!

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                  • #10
                    In my opinion forums are still the best place for reliable information. Main reason being, posts on forums tend to be more formulated and designed. I mean, hot takes are still around, but in most cases there are more thought processes in each writing, so I still think of them as more reliable.

                    The other advantage is how similar information can be clustered together, much easier to find. When you're searching for information on your aquarium, certain articles are good for general knowledge, however in the end different aquariums have its own unique characteristics that no article will be able to cover all of them. In forums, at least (hopefully) there are people who have gone through similar enough experiences / challenges in the same area.

                    For appreciations, market and tradings, showing off videos and photos, other social media is better due to the range of audiences and how quick you can send and get these information out. But when you're doing extensive research and need a proper gathering of sources, nothing better than forums that I can think of.

                    As personal experiences go, I'm the only one around my group of friends who own a planted tank, so starting out is incredibly difficult for me since I don't have anyone I'm comfortable with to come visit my house and ask advice on these things. Since forums not only allows you to receive direct reply and advise to your situation but allows you to also, if you so choose, look into the history of their own journey, I am able to some extent trust the judgment of advices being done in this very forum.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Colin_T View Post
                      Fish clubs are down as well as forums. People use live media like facebook (fb) and either get hundreds of useless responses or none. At least on forums they can get more informative responses.

                      I have seen it happen a number of times, someone on fb asks about their fish and every Tom, Dick and Harry throws in a one sentence response and none of them are useful. It's a bit like going to the doctor and saying "doc, i have a rash", then walking out before the doctor can look at it and give a response.

                      Quite frankly, live media is useless when it comes to helping with identifying fish (and other animal) health issues.
                      See, I feel like I have to trawl through many posts of " Look how wonderful my beautiful aquascape is" and " how wonderful is your aquascape" before I read things that are interesting for me here. Saying that I get a lot of joy out of both this forum and more specialised facebook pages. If posting pictures here was less complex it would be easier from a selling/swapping point of view. Generally the forum feels safer. Sometimes people are randomly attacked for voicing an opinion on fb.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by TheCasualist View Post
                        In my opinion forums are still the best place for reliable information. Main reason being, posts on forums tend to be more formulated and designed. I mean, hot takes are still around, but in most cases there are more thought processes in each writing, so I still think of them as more reliable.

                        The other advantage is how similar information can be clustered together, much easier to find. When you're searching for information on your aquarium, certain articles are good for general knowledge, however in the end different aquariums have its own unique characteristics that no article will be able to cover all of them. In forums, at least (hopefully) there are people who have gone through similar enough experiences / challenges in the same area.

                        For appreciations, market and tradings, showing off videos and photos, other social media is better due to the range of audiences and how quick you can send and get these information out. But when you're doing extensive research and need a proper gathering of sources, nothing better than forums that I can think of.

                        As personal experiences go, I'm the only one around my group of friends who own a planted tank, so starting out is incredibly difficult for me since I don't have anyone I'm comfortable with to come visit my house and ask advice on these things. Since forums not only allows you to receive direct reply and advise to your situation but allows you to also, if you so choose, look into the history of their own journey, I am able to some extent trust the judgment of advices being done in this very forum.
                        I agree to this completely. I used to be on a number of facebook aquarium groups and you always have to do a heap of scrolling and searching for answers but in groups like this it is nicely setup and easy to find anything you want

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by belveder View Post
                          I agree to this completely. I used to be on a number of facebook aquarium groups and you always have to do a heap of scrolling and searching for answers but in groups like this it is nicely setup and easy to find anything you want
                          I do wonder whether a simple change to FB (organised threads) could render the forums useless in that case!

                          I agree that I am hopeless at finding stuff in FB. If I hit "back", it gives me different posts that it has selected for me!!!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Rebel View Post
                            I agree that I am hopeless at finding stuff in FB.
                            I dont think its just you Rebel. I agree the ephemerality of FB is probably why forums persist as they do but its a tenuous existance. The sheer wealth of achived information that is publically avaialble via web-searches is the strength of forums. The fact that the information is not under the control of a single company and available "outside the club" is important (though some might argue Google controls the flow of content anyhow).

                            My plan is to stay ahead of the curve for the inevitable decline of vacuous social media

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                            • #15
                              Everything on Facebook is too short-lived. Can't keep track of any post in particular, and 9/10 it's something I wouldn't look twice or spare a second thought for. Only a select few groups actually pique my interest, and even then they usually consist of stuff to look at rather than thoughtful discussion.
                              I still prefer a forum to social media, but this is the only one that I frequent.

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