Have Facebook/YouTube killed forums?
About 6-8 years ago I was a part of a few songwriting forums. They were very busy places. You'd post your song for critique and turn your back and you were on the second page already.
Now one of them is dead, and the other is a ghost town. This place too used to be rockin', but now I see there are forums where there are posts on the first page going back 6 or 8 months. There are probably 8 names I see all the time and sometimes I think you few are keeping things going.
So what do you think? Is it that people are getting their endorphine fix by click-bait surfing on Facebook?
Or is it that people just search a "how to" video on the topic and spend 3 hours there watching videos on how to be the next rock star, or his engineer, or which mic/DAW/guitar/penis extension to buy?
Or is it both?
Our traffic hasn't changed in years, very consistent to what it was 10 years ago, averaging 2500 to 3500 unique a day. But posts have dropped a lot in the last 5. The newer gen don't post as much as they read and use our excellent search engine. A huge percentage of the original RO are old and done.
Mobile devices are huge. Most people don't have the same recording requirements as the old days as well.
Buy a DAW, a few mics and your average mic pre or two and you are off the the races. What more is there to discuss? People learn from the core members who are all amazing, imho. We have it covered really well.
I'm told many times that people lurk for years and never post.
No doubt Facebook and youtube is a huge distraction or added way to learn as well. The recording business is evolving deeper and deeper ITB.
Other than that, I know what you mean.
I have a FB account, I'm not an every day visitor like I am here, though, and I've never tweeted a message in my life. I use FB to promote gigs, and to stay in touch with friends. If we really took a moment to think about it, I don't think we'd really want RO to be like FB. No one here cares that someone else just drank a smoothie for lunch, or that they are going shoe-shopping, And, in an election year, we don't have to deal with politics, either; where FB becomes a soap box for every concievable political bend and opinion. If we were to switch to an "open" format like FB, where anyone could say anything about any trite subject, it would become so convoluted, disheveled and unorganized - and it would become that very quickly, too - that we'd be done as a recording site within just a few weeks.
Youtube, while it has a comment section, is not really a "forum"... and yes, there are some great videos out there on almost every topic, from how to set up an XY array to how to change the belt in a clothes dryer, but it's not as organized, and it also has its fair share of misinformation, too .... and trolling, with little to no moderation.
RO serves a purpose that these other sites do not. It's specialized in its scope, detailed in its focus, and serves a small but mighty band of audio aficionados who are still passionate about the craft. While it'll never be as popular as those two sites, it still gets a good deal of traffic; and has a membership roster that is knowledgeable, helpful, and perhaps most important, willing to help.
As a moderated and organized site, it serves the internet audio public in a more detail oriented way.
And yes, you're right, there are a handful of people here who seem to keep the ball rolling onward .... but that changes from time to time; and while we like having new members join, and to take part in the discussions, no one can force anyone to post - we do have a lot of lurkers, but that's okay, too, if they are using the site as a research data base, then it's serving its purpose in that capacity, too, and there's nothing wrong with that.
RO an incredible brain trust. We're fortunate to have the roster that we do... some very smart people like hanging out here on a regular basis, so there must be some reason for that, right? .. I consider myself to be a pretty intelligent guy, and experienced in both the craft and the business of recording; but I still learn new things here all the time.
No one is getting paid to be here. So there must be something about this place that intelligent people find attractive and keep coming back to... ;)
To be clear, I wasn't commenting on the effectiveness, uniqueness, or relevance of RO, just that it seems traffic is down significantly on all forums I've visited lately, no matter what field or special interest. When I say traffic, I mean number of posts by people other than moderators, site owners, and maybe 4 or 5 regulars.
I think involving oneself in a forum involves a bit of a commitment-even if it's just to one thread-and I think people are less likely to make that commitment when they can go get a heroin-like fix by clicking on a cat video or top ten list on FB; or if they're actually interested in learning, they will watch videos on YouTube.
I have to admit I'm in the latter category. I subscribe to what I believe are high quality YouTube channels on the topics in which I'm interested, because there's no substitute for a guy putting a mic "here," playing a drum riff, then moving the mic to "there" and letting me hear the difference.
Furthermore I think this thread proves my point entirely. I knew Donny and Chris would answer, and there are two or three other regulars-you know who-that may show up in the next few days to chime in, but we're not going to get 10-12 different posters showing up like we would have in "the old days"(meaning 5 years ago).
I like facebook and check in almost daily. I usually post a couple times a week. I enjoy the humorous memes. Lol I can do without a new pic of my friends baby the girls post daily but, ya know their proud.
Probably if I had to guess, perhaps part of the reason is less controversial posts here? Maybe it's just a coincidence. There were some members who were fairly loose of the tongue and not shy of directly speaking there mind. People shilling too.
I really dunno what it is that's keeping the new member posts low. Like I've said befor RO has evolved from a bar to a coffee shop since I've been here (6years). Particularly the newbie section was a place I hung around as it kept my skills sharp and were really the only questions I had answers for for a while. I think the big part of that is what Chris alluded to. The Daw is becoming just another part of life for hobbyist and mucosa and alike. Garage band has acclimated everyone w an iPhone to recording and editing. So perhaps recoding is just becoming part of culture and the norm as each generation comes to life.
I think rod had a big part to do w the acoustics forum being busy as many questions were directed at him, and he an brein were the two mods back then. I check in daily just about at GS since it slowed (lol I felt like I was cheating on my girlfriend at first) but even over there the 'big dogs' usually only chime in on issues that aren't beat to death or easily searched. Or to shill their acoustic treatment. I chime in a lot because it's good practice for me and I like helping people. I usually learn something or have to double check what I know. I absorb knowledge thru repition and lurking around people who speak the language. I've not had issues getting solid answers and responses from the usual 'big dog' acousticians there for myself personally.
Over here particularly with reguard to the electronics based stuff I think we are on the forefront like as far as two daw systems and that stuff. It's an area I'm learning a lot in, and slowly speaking the language.
Either way RO is an enjoyable place and even with the same usuals, I find the discussions to be fresh, with new insights, and perspectives.