January 23, 2003
Blogs vs Message Boards

Yahoo employee Jeremy Zawodny is having a semi-public discussion with colleagues about the future of centralized message boards versus weblogs (where "weblogs" include the blog tools themselves and trackback and assorted similar/related technologies):

I still see a future for large centralized message boards, but realistically the more sticky, in-depth, hardcore stuff will probably continue to reside in specialized forums and a growing number of weblogs.

This is going to be a very big year for blog growth.

(Jeremy Zawodny: Weblogs vs. Centralized Message Boards)

What i agree with is the fact that serial free-for-all message boards are probably not long for the net. i'm just not quite sure that blogs are going to replace them.

Blogs, from my limited exposure and strong point of view, are basically "This is my opinion" followed by one or more individuals stating "You are an asshole". Ok, so maybe the comments usually are more relevant than that, but in effect successful blogs like Jeremy's are a singular expert's statement followed by random comments. [...]

Another element of blogs is the fact that the discussion is eminently temporal. Discussion on this will last about a day or two until it falls of the top page. Eventually, i'll run short on disk space on my MySQL server and will simply prune out everything older than n number of days.

(jr conlin: Me vs. Us)

Maybe not surprisingly, I tend to go in Jeremy's direction on this one. Blog have come to stay, and what's more; expert blogs gain an audience which does participate and make the blog into an authorative information source on a subject, not necessarily only one author's opinion on the matter. Ben Hammersley's Content Syndication with RSS-blog being an example.

On the other hand, some things are best left to an open forum as long as the forum has strict topic-scoping and in some cases moderation or at least some editor who removes completely off-topic postings (otherwise, who can be bothered going there to read?). My prime examples of highly successful, narrowly topic-focused message board would be webmasterworld for search engine optimization and flyertalk.com where I occationally participate myself too. FT allows frequent flyers (from the occational chocolate pudding coupon collector to hyper-frequent fliers (including myself)) to share experiences with various airlines' and hotels' frequent traveller programs, new ways to earn bonuses and so on. If I posted "Get 1000 HHonors points for free" in my blog, I wouldn't get 1% of the targeted readers of my message compared to if I posted it on FT...

Unless I turned this into a HHonors-blog, for example... There are topic blogs out there (Ben's RSS blog comes to mind again; others, like the Google Blog also exist), and they may and may not take over some of the message board audiences, but never all... There has to be forums where contributors new to the topic can share news and get recognized (e.g. the "Get 1000 HHonors points deal above" would have to be emailed to the HHonors blog author insead of the internet user either posting to a message board or starting his own blog....

Hmm... I can feel I'm drifting off onto a path with no singular ending here... Does anyone else have comments?

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Comments

IMO, blogs serve their existing purposes very well. I *hate* web-based forums though; they're a giant step backwards, IMO. e-mail has all the advantages, and an extra 30 years of development of interaction profiles and useful tools; web-based forums will never catch up with that.

Posted by: Harald Koch on January 23, 2003 04:18 PM

What do you think of the TopicExchange as a meeting point and an entry point for newbies?

http://radio.weblogs.com/0110772/2003/01/14.html#a716

Posted by: Seb on January 24, 2003 07:46 PM

... as you write in the posting you link to above; it can be the "crossover" for group formation I mentioned. Interesting viewpoint indeed :-)

Posted by: andersja on January 24, 2003 09:29 PM

http://www.artshowcasing.com is looking for cool artist blogs to link to....anyone?

Posted by: ArtShowcasing on January 30, 2003 07:20 PM

Check out my website!

Posted by: Super Fun Happy Friend on March 20, 2003 09:51 PM

I'm new to blogs, I plan on making the technology a big part of my site. In fact this is my first blog, (I guess you can say). I find it very fascinating. The question is, "how do I make it functional, useful?" I think of a blog as 'an email that can be read by the public'. You can have public email or you can have private email with blogs. Take it a step further, add some graphics and interactive media, you could have an entire new way of communication. Chat rooms, email, message boards and forums are good for what they are. With blogs comes the opportunity to develop a trend that everyone can share at there own pace. For an example: You send a joke to your email list. They all think it is a funny joke, some of them might want to comment on your email, so they send you one. You are the only one that reads this comment. In a blog you could create a discussion with merely a joke! Pretty cool. I think you know where that goes from there.

Posted by: Rob on March 29, 2003 10:19 AM

I employ both on my blog as its great having feedback/comments, but there are subjects where people want more interaction and conversation so I have a board as well. I also have a 'library' where subjects are further explored with background history and facts for subjects covered in my blog as well as related reading.

Posted by: Verity on June 12, 2003 11:10 AM

apart from the fact that blogs "look good", I fail to understand how they are different from message boards.

Posted by: helen on July 17, 2003 01:49 PM

well i arrived here by searching for blog versus forums. looking for the same answer as helen. on reflection, is it just that only the admin can start a topic and the presentation itself? because i am trying to figure out which one to start out with as the basis of a review site.

Posted by: coldlink on March 11, 2004 11:18 AM

I too came here whilst searching for "Blog vs Board", because I have recently thought about starting a Blog.

For the last year or so, I have tried to start up various Yahoo Groups and message boards about various topics. The problem is, either I eventually lose interest, or the other people do.

My most recent creation is Head In The Clouds. This started out as a place called Eddyland, where I could have all the different topics of my different Yahoo Groups but all in one online place. Then I changed it so that the main focus of it was fun word games, like story games, where you take it in turns to add a word, silly stuff like that.

The problem is, I don't want to do that all the time. Sometimes I feel like I just want to write what's in my head, no matter what it is, without having to conform to some rules I've invented for my board, or think where best it's going to fit in.

Sometimes I just want to write whatever. I've tried private journal writing in the past, but the problem with that is, it stays on my computer. It would be nice to know it's going out there somewhere. Even if not many people read it, and even if I don't write for an audience, just write for myself, there's still something about the concept of it being out there. It's like a release. Even if only one person reads it, it would feel like I've given it to the world.

My idea is to maybe use both. Keep the message board for the fun interactive stuff, such as word games and discussions on interesting topics, but have a private Blog site for when I feel I need to release more intensely, or when I want to just type away without thinking about expectations or limitations.

Posted by: Eddykins on August 13, 2004 08:44 PM

Anders where are you from? I have many ancesters that were named anders. My ancesters are prodominatly from Demark. My last name is Andersen....

Posted by: David on February 10, 2005 06:35 AM
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