diamond geezer

 Tuesday, January 18, 2005

A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum

Where are all the people who could be reading blogs? There are millions of people on the net every day, but only a tiny proportion of them are reading blogs. So, where's everybody else? I suspect a large number of world wide webbers are off reading forums or message boards instead. Maybe you're a user yourself.

Message boards are a bit like blogs. They're online portals for amateur publishing with a potential worldwide audience. People write stuff, offer opinions or ask questions on all sorts of diverse topics, then other people write back with their comments. Sometimes there are scores of new comments every day, sometimes nothing gets posted for months. So far so bloglike. But message boards aren't much like blogs. The dialogue is much more two-way, a chance to enter a conversation rather than react to one. Boards may be moderated but there isn't really one person in control - anybody can suggest topics rather than waiting around to see what today's subject is. And boards tend to focus on one small area of interest, rather than being personal viewpoints on the way life is. Boards are more interactive, blogs are more reflective, but both can build supportive online communities.

So, I thought I'd get myself a forum. Here it is. <click here for the diamond geezer forum>

I found a free service from Forumer.com and the whole thing only took a couple of minutes to set up. I divided up my message board into London and non-London sections, set up special categories for London places, London events and London transport, then asked a few questions to start you off. You can pop over there and ask questions, post replies, start threads, make comments and generally interact with one another, if you like. You'll need to sign up to comment (don't worry because I'm not planning on selling your details to the spam merchants) or you can just read for free. Click <here>, OK? (4pm update: 48 posts so far)

I doubt that the diamond geezer forum will take off, though. Most successful forums target a very specific core interest, and mine doesn't really. And, to be honest, there's normally quite enough interaction in the comments boxes on this page without me diluting your thoughts by taking them off-site. In fact I'll be surprised if my forum gets any hits at all after this week, it's not really meant as a long term thing, but it'll be an interesting experiment for the few hours it survives. As an incentive for you to take a look I've set up a special Tea at three forum and I'm inviting you to join me there for a cuppa at 3pm (GMT) (ah, the joys of working from home this afternoon). But I'll see you back here on this page tomorrow - blogs still rule.

35 forums (just a sample)
Science and nature: phenology, weather, Open University, keeping poultry, PC hardware/software
Getting around: UK transport, caravanning, hot air ballooning, scuba diving, rollercoasters
Media: Digital Spy, Radio Mute, TV Forum, Big Brother, Tivo, US TV
Places: London SE1, London, genealogy in Rutland, Alaskan gold, climbing in S Australia
Food and drink: Jamie Oliver, chocolate, allotments, winemaking
Sport: Arseblog, Football365, punters' forum
Other: Chavscum, Web User, BBC Messageboards, freemasonry, left-handers, pure 80s, Popbitch

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