Why have you chosen to stick with internet forums over modern social media?

For the last few years or so, I have become more and more fascinated with forums. I’m 19, so for me, internet forums are not really something that I have grown up with. But over time I have basically given up traditional social media and embraced older internet forums. For what reason have you chosen to stick it out on here and other older forms instead of migrating to modern social media?

Relative anonymity, mostly.

I have a number of facebook accounts, because I worked for a company that created games on FB, and I was unwilling to spam my family/friends with our shit. So I created an “inner circle” of fake accounts that could spam each other without irritating anyone.

Forums are fairly anonymous too, though one minute googling would find my identity via my username.

Social media is more like going through a drive-thru fast food place, whereas forums are more like sitting down in a restaurant to dine.

I’ve been around forums for a long time, and I just find forums are better suited to genuine and interesting conversations and interactions. Also, if you are looking for help or an answer, it’s more likely you are going to get an answer on a forum than in social media with a smaller chance your question will even land in people’s newsfeeds, much less get seen. It’s easier to search for things on forums too.

I’m not a big participant in general “forums”, either, just the SDMB, except for specialized information. Mostly it has to do with the level of discourse. Even if the page owner (or whatever the terminology is) on Facebook or Twitter is literate and well-informed, many of the participants are not. And those sites aren’t really moderated, except by stupid bots (“stupid” in the literal sense of ineffective and often wrong). Whereas the SDMB is curated (“organized”) and well moderated, and populated by people generally worth listening to.

I like being able to have an intellectually stimulating, spirited debate with people I don’t have to get along with. I’m fairly active on Facebook and somewhat active on Instagram (the discrepancy is mainly because of features of Instagram’s format that annoy me), but my presence is more mellow and superficial.

Also, I feel like message boards are better for organizing long discussions of complex ideas, just in terms of keeping track of who said what and whom you’re responding to.

Its like sitting at a bar and just talking too and about anybody and anything that comes up. Sometimes I actually drink while posting, not that anyone can tell. :upside_down_face:

Reposting words and pictures already seen a thousand times for the purpose of accumulating thumbs, hearts and smiley faces just doesn’t do it for me, I guess.

Message boards are good for having discussions. Social media is good for posting an opinion and then moving on to the next opinion.


I’m not on any social media. At all.

Specialized subject forums (cars, niche tech, etc) are (were?) great places of collective knowledge.

Here, it’s all that knowledge, and I can use $20 words and not have to dumb myself down or explain what I mean as happens often in the Nickel Country real world.

Also, 99%+ of posts are spelled correctly and grammatically solid, which is oh, so comfortable to read compared 2 stuff liek this u no?

Social media is like yelling across a crowd. Here, we sit around different tables, but are usually within earshot.

I had a Facebook account, but could never do anything with it. Just couldn’t figure it out.

I use both, for different purposes.

All of the above, for me.

I used to be heavily involved in several message boards for various hobbies of mine (role-playing games, model rocketry, toy collecting, etc.); a number of those boards are either defunct now, or are shells of their former glory.

I’m still around here because I still enjoy the range of different kinds of discussions, and, as already noted, what happens here is actual discussion (at least some of the time). Plus, honestly, there are quite a few people here whom I consider to be friends.

I use social media, as well. I’m not nearly as active on Facebook as I used to be, but I’m on Reddit a fair amount (though, there, I only really am active in a couple of hobby-specific subreddits).

Like many, I was a real online forum buff from around 2000 to 2012. Then the forums dried up, as everybody and their mom switched to social media. At first, I, too, was into the new format, but that didn’t last.

Discussion at the social media sites is ephemeral; the stream never stops, and you’ll only have a chance to make a quick shot (me! me!) at anything, and then watch it flow into oblivion. As a consequence, there is no point in crafting well-thought out, possibly even eloquent pieces, in the futile hope that actual discussion, which takes some time for all involved, would happen.

Forums are completely different in this regard. Since the content is always there to review, long-term discussions and projects are very feasible. It doesn’t matter if something was last discussed six months ago; when new angles and voices emerge, the discussion is right there, ready to add to, and for the discussion to pick up again.

I find that I rarely learn anything meaningful from social media, but I almost never leave a discussion forum without learning something. That’s the motivation right there.

Since around 2020, I have almost left social media, and gone back to the forums with a vengeange. Many of them are completely or almost dead, but not all. Certain niche forums of my ilk are still going strong, and even here, at a much-diminished general discussion forum, there’s always interesting stuff to read.

Many people I know have also started to move back into the forum realm, disillusioned with the social media’s shallowness and flavor of the hour plan.

Here on the SDMB, I find that the discussion is more mature–by that, I mean that a real discussion can be had, back and forth, with points made, and points refuted. I follow another general-interest message board as well, and while it is no SDMB (and we’ll leave it at that), the same thing occurs. People discuss, debate, make fun remarks, laugh, commiserate with each other, and otherwise interact.

I don’t find that elsewhere–Instagram, Tiktok, Twitter, etc.–things come and go so quickly, that no discussion, no meaningful back-and-forth, can occur. At least on message boards, it can.

Despite some epic flame wars on various messageboards, I find this part of the internet less toxic than “social media”.

I, too, value the ability to have a meaningful conversation over time with people who are comfortable using polysyllabic terms.

I like the relative anonymity - discussions here (usually) focus on what’s being discussed, not what the speaker looks like or their accent or other extraneous, irrelevant details.

The moderation is by actual human beings dealing with a small enough forum they can actually do the job properly.

Social media is like my smart phone - I’m on it not because I like it (I don’t) but because it feels like modern society gives me no choice about it.

That too. Moderation on social media is abysmal.

My reasons are as others have already stated above, largely. But to expand on a couple of points:

  • message boards tends to be run by people interested in running a message board. Social media is run by people interested in selling advertising, which manifests in numerous ways, generally highly negative to the participants.

  • social media is generally too popular. This means that having any sort of detailed discussion is like trying to make a complex point at a stadium concert - only those right next to you can hear you, and its too noisy to maintain a conversation even only with them.

  • much social media uses popularity to sort what you see and what you don’t. We semi-regularly have a discussion on the SDMB about whether we should introduce some sort of ranking system and the old hands say “NO!” vociferously and IMHO correctly. I post on reddit regularly. My most downvoted posts are those that expressed said something correct (no one even argued to the contrary) but not what people wanted to hear. It only takes a couple of people to dislike your post and it sinks to oblivion regardless of merit.

Congratulations, you passed the IQ test.

Pretty much yes to all of the above. Especially sane moderation and intelligent discussions.

I use FB for keeping in touch with far away friends, and boards like this (I’m now only on this one an a very small private one) for more broad discussion type things. I don’t use any other social media, they either annoy me (Twitter, Instagram) or I just can’t grok the whole deal (Reddit).

Oddly enough, there’s a good overlap from message boards to FB. A fair chunk of my FB friends are people I’ve known online for years, like 20+ years. Most of the boards dried up (I was part of 4 or 5 at one point) but we still stay connected on FB. A fair few I’ve never actually met IRL, but because of our message board days we’ve become close enough to be truly interested in them as people, not just names on a screen.

On message boards, communication is the product being offered. On social media, I am the product being offered.