Asociality of social networks or the return of the forum

    Among the many conversations about social networks, communities, blogs, web 2.0, we often forget about such a thing as forums. Although, you know, it's impossible to forget about the forums. They are and they will be. And I can’t even say that mankind has changed priorities; rather, technological progress is imposing new solutions and trends.

    In this article I do not want to engage in necrophilia, or arrange holivor forums against social networks. I will try to conduct a small analysis of social networks and forums, regarding their organization.

    To begin with, the very concept of forums and social networks is rather vague. We can say that under this concept everyone will understand something of their own, or even personal :). The attitude towards them is formed on the basis of personal experience, and given the enormous variety of social networks and the even greater variety of forums, it can hardly be imagined that we can imagine one thing. Therefore, I will talk about my personal experience in communicating on forums and social networks.

    I will not say that I often changed the forums. For the past 4 years I have been talking on the same forum (see the address in the profile), which was originally conceived as a gaming forum, or rather, as a gaming magazine forum. But over time, we talked so much about games that it became a bad manners. Only beginners spoke about games, the entire stable community almost did not play games, but we always had enough for communication. Surprisingly, it just didn’t have to be discussed: religion, history, philosophy, and, of course, politics, questions of love, friendship, and many, many other issues. Moreover, the discussions did not go on the level of "bugog", "lol" but with clearly expressed thoughts, long posts of reflection and discussion, where the moderator, if anything, interrupted all kinds of insults, the transition to personalities and mats. In general, I can say that some of the discussions were rather tough, and cognitive, and probably expanding horizons. In addition, we have formed a very close community, and every week (and more often) we organize meetings.
    This is my personal impression of the forums.

    Now about social networks. I will formulate the thought: “Everyone on a social network owns his own little kingdom.” Here I will notice one fundamental difference between forums and a social network. The forums focus on the topic of discussion, and on the social network - on the person, the author of the blog. It seems to me that these are two very different concepts of organizing information. Despite all the inconveniences of the forums, it seems to me that the organization of the discussion on the topic, and not on the person and time when he published his post, seems to be correct. That is, a number of issues that cannot be tied to the personality of the author, it is better to discuss it in a forum format. After all, on a blog, a dispute with its author may end in a ban, it may close the post, and in fact the author of the blog is a petty dictator. He speaks his opinions to the whole world, and the fact that you read his opinion and went to his journal to comment on him, already means that he has some authority. This "authoritarianism" also depresses me. After all, all questions revolve around the author of the blog, and it is impossible to get rid of this context.

    At the forum, credibility is earned, and mostly rarely when it meets some kind of artificial characteristics. And all users have the opportunity to discuss issues on an equal footing. Of course, with sane moderators and the adequacy of the users themselves. But the main thing is the topic itself! After all, an interesting topic can come up in a year or two after its creation, but all blog posts go into oblivion, blindly submitting to Chronos.

    And the last, and probably the most important difference between forums and social networks. In a social network, a user rarely goes beyond “his circle” in communication. To put it differently, then all discussions take place around friends, and friendly communities. The forum also provokes participants to discuss topics that may be beyond the interests of friends of the first round. And here, on the one hand, there is an opportunity to learn new opinions about a subject that I had little thought of before, and then, form my opinion and express it. For example, this may be a topic in history, having re-read it, you get a lot of new knowledge, moreover, it is not stated in an academicly dry language, namely with the opinions and analysis of real people.

    And you know that it is interesting in this approach that the user will involuntarily become interested in a popular topic, and will probably reread it. Suppose a 15-year-old teenager opens a topic on the same story, and on the basis of his knowledge can lead a discussion, for example, about Mazepa’s personality. (In the 10th grade, they’ve already studied this :)) Would he talk about this on a social network with his “friends”? Here the most interesting thing is that different people converge on the forum, of different worldviews with different thoughts, and the older generation of forum users instills tastes in the younger generation. On a social network, users limit themselves to contacts of friend feeds and live in some closed space of interests.

    Therefore, the spiritual crisis manifests itself in the current structure of social networks, where teenagers and boys are sitting, discussing their photos, new baubles, and love-carrot issues. There is no one in their group who is older in age to tell something completely concrete based on experience about love, or whoever offers something else for discussion. No one forces them to discuss topics that are more global than “how I spent today” and “how I love my cat”. But in the teenage age, just formed priorities, interests, opinions about life. And they are artificially locked from the world by the decentralization of the social network and live in their pink world.

    Therefore, I am sure that it is unlikely that social networks with huge multi-million dollar investments and a large population are unlikely to completely replace the forum. If anyone thinks otherwise, then for sure your personal opinion about the forum does not match mine. And yet, I suggest thinking about how the path that social networks offer is true for humanity. How will people develop by limiting their social circle? Why are there so many “friends” on social networks that will never become friends, and why on the forum you can find both true friends and real enemies who will later become true friends anyway :)

    PS> Sorry for the possibly too subjective look at a problem.

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