Is the Age of Forums Ending?
FaithCommunityNetworks (FCN) partners with Salem, the parent company of Singing News, to provide online forums for their site and numerous other sites in the Salem family. FCN recently announced that they are closing their forums network and transitioning to a forum on Facebook. Forums administrator Fritz Alberti opened his detailed explanation with these thoughts:
It is with sadness that I come to grips with the reality of the online landscape and the place and prominence of Forums. Yes, the age of Forums is waning replaced by something bigger just as itself once did way back when… when… when… when? What did Forums replace? Can anyone remember?
Regardless, people face the decision of where to spend their online time. They are assaulted with the conundrum of choosing between Forum and Facebook. They have family and friends at Facebook and can even friend their Forums friends. This makes it a a win win for them.
What is left? A forums community in decline.
He concluded that FCN/Salem decided to stop fighting Facebook’s rise, and join it instead. (Parenthetically, it remains unclear if Salem/FCN will set up a Southern Gospel folder in the new forum. Personally, it’s a bittersweet moment either way, since my commentary posts there ultimately led to this site’s launch.)
Is FCN right? Most of the posters, who discussed the decision in this thread, say “no”—but, of course, those who have already moved on to Facebook aren’t there to say “yes.”
Is the age of forums ending? Will the notion of an online forum someday occupy the same regions in our memories as the notions of 8-tracks, PDAs, and pagers?
For that matter, is the term “blog” on the same trajectory, albeit a few years behind?