- 4 Jun 2021
- 3,875 (4.57/day)
If you're over age 30 and didn't come to motorcycling late in life, you probably remember at least one of those motorcycle forums, even if you didn't belong to one. In the heyday of the internet forum, you could reliably punch almost any make or model of motorcycle into a search bar (AltaVista, anyone?) and someone, somewhere, had started a forum for it. And now, in 2022, that same forum is likely a wasteland. Why is that?
This article written in June talks specifically about motorcycle forums, but the scenario really applies to just about any long form forum like we have here.
It is more or less like this, unfortunately. I think in the first instance, it's the tyranny* of the smartphone / tablet and the physical limitations they bring to the forum experience as explained in the article. It's just too fiddly to make long posts using these devices. The other is basically Facebook and its huge presence in the social internet space.
In the "good old days", about a decade ago, a forum like this would have been a hive of activity without having to even promote it much. Nowadays, it's hard to get going and many die, stuck in the inherent catch-22 situation of no users and no content attracting no new users.
Thankfully, I've had a bit of a break, even though NZ had a rocky start last year, but I refused to quit. I figured that adding my own personal content, effectively treating it like a blog with comments to keep the content updating daily would stop it dying - and it worked. Friends** would criticise me by saying, "all I see is you everywhere, talking to yourself", completely missing the point of Content is King. Just me "talking to myself" is what a blog is, hence the strategy worked.
I keep adding new content nowadays too and am proud to have over 1000 posts to my name on here now in just over a year, with all my efforts. Especially so, as I naturally like sharing stuff on a forum. Due to this effort, I've now got a handful of dedicated forum members who contribute greatly to NZ and to whom I'm very grateful - thankyou, people, you're epic.
*Ok, a bit hyperbolic that, as I use my iPhone all the time and it's fantastically useful, including to access my forum and others, but it really does hinder long form posts and pictures as it's so fiddly to do on a small touchscreen, no matter how good the design of the forum software. I sometimes wait until I get a chance to use my desktop PC before making a longer post, like this one - if I haven't forgotten about it by then. I think smartphones are the bigger reason that forums are dying rather than Facebook which seems to have found a way to capitalise on the small touchscreen format. Real big shame that. Plus, it's got millions to throw at ensuring it remains high in the minds of users compared to the shoestring budget I'm on, so it's not a fair comparison.
**None of them are interested in forums either and don't contribute. Thanks guys.
Nerd level: it's right up there, might need binoculars to see it.