Back in the days when Dev Hardware was known as OC Addiction, what we might now call social networking happened on online forums. These often-anonymous places where visitors could ask questions or help newcomers with everything from choosing a video card to building their first water-cooled rig thrived for years. But are they still relevant with sites like Facebook and Pinterest growing in popularity?
That's the question asked by one of our Dev Hardware forum members, drumz0rz. An active contributor to the forum for the past eight years, he started a thread in which he asked other members where forums stand now that there are so many social networking sites. “Message boards form part of the spine of the world wide web. Before there were graphical web pages, there were plain text message boards. Message boards have evolved little in the past decades while the rest of the web changes over and over around them. We now live in an age dominated by the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Pinterest. I feel like because of the growth of social networking and social media, people have shifted away from traditional message board forums...Despite this, I think forums are still extremely useful and have their place,” he writes, pointing out that Google searches for help often turn up forum threads as the top answers.
A number of our regular Dev Hardware members responded to this thread by stating that their activity on forums IS what they do for social networking. And it's very different from what they get when they participate on Facebook. Long-time Dev Hardware bball4ever39 pointed out that such sites “don't have...topical discussion, it's just not really the same thing.”
There are other aspects of interacting on forums that some members find valuable. Another Dev Hardware member, cody_e, pointed out that on forums, “if people want to, they can remain anonymous. There's value in being able to remain anonymous and yet getting a social outlet. I think there might be a resurgence as people burn out from Facebook.”
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