What Social Media Platform Do You Use?
With all of the options out there for social media, which one do you use? Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, Flipboard? All of the above? The options seem limitless, but before you make your decision, you need to think about the content that you either want to read or are putting out.
The Boom and Doom of Social Media
In the short amount of time that I have been walking the planet, social media has gone through a ridiculous number of fads and trends. Though my time-line does not cover every single source of media and messaging out there, it helps illustrate my point.
Social media may be changing, but the world is also changing. Many of the younger “Millennials” as people have dubbed them are easily offended for some reason and thanks to them, social media platforms around the world are becoming more censored and “fluffy”.
Users get blocked from Facebook every single day for sometimes apparently no reason. Someone was offended by something you posted and reported you, so you go to jail for a period of time. For some this is funny and easily fixed by having multiple fake accounts, but how long will people really continue to be put in Facebook jail or banned from their Twitter and Instagram accounts because what they posted just so happened to be the sand in some snowflake’s craw.
If you are like me, censorship at any level pisses you off (which is why we actually do like Twitter). I don’t mind the “click here to view protected content” style posts at all. That is not censorship as it gives me the decision as to whether or not I want that content to pass through my eye hole and sear into my brain or not. I am talking about the raw censorship where you can be thrown in time-out or banned for just about anything you post whatsoever.
Anonymity? What is that?
Another drawback to typical social media platforms is that they offer the user no sense of anonymity whatsoever. On some of them, if you don’t use your real name and someone reports you, you get blocked until you change to the name on your government issued I.D. card. With so many people switching over to encrypted messaging systems, it is surprising that there are so many people still using platforms that offer no type of security at all.
On most website forums they allow handles and anonymity. This is especially important with risque topics or interests. It is also important if say, one enjoys gambling but their wife and family is against gambling. On a private website forum they can discuss the topic without fear of their real name or photo being attached to a topic others may not appreciate.
Moderation and Community Control
Moderation can be hit or miss on many major social media platforms and with larger ones like Facebook there is really no way for one to moderate content in a way that works specifically well for one userbase versus another.
With recent rule changes on Facebook in particular in terms of the content users post in a community or group being the direct responsibility of the group admins or owners, regardless of good moderation and control, many large groups have closed.
On website forums, the admins usually appoint teams of moderators that work only for that website and understand the community and subject topics. On social media groups like Facebook, the big brother aspect of Facebook censoring content and holding admins responsible has scared many people off social media and back to forums.
Additional many social media tools, Twitter especially, is overrun with trolls and people only there to disrupt. A well-run website forum with moderation and admin teams aware of the subject matter often set more stringent rules or nice to be nice policies to ensure trolls have no place in their community. This ensures that the community overall is more friendly and helpful.
Archives and Searchable content
Another major drawback of social media is that it is very difficult at times to search groups and pages for information. This results in many topics and questions being repeated time and time again.
Many of the better website forums have much more detailed search options than Facebook or other social media and allows multiple topics to be tagged, pinned and to direct users to.
Searching Facebook groups, in particular, can be frustrating and time consuming compared to a well setup forum.
Although some social media tools, like Pinterest, do a fairly good job at building helpful and close-knit communities many do not. Forums, due to many of the reasons listed above, generally develop closer-knit communities. Well run forums have Meetup groups, conventions, bar crawls, and generally establish closer-knit communities than social media.
Engagement is generally higher in content specific forums as well for a variety of reasons, least of all the extra steps many forums require to become a member. Most forums have ranking structures and status for members which help newer members see who is a valuable member and who isn’t. Facebook and most other social media tools offer very few options to see the number of posts or helpful content a user has made.
Let’s face it, many social media groups and pages are not friendly to newbies. They often face being ostracized or attacked by people simply for making an off-kilter post or not understanding everything. As discussed previously there is no way to see what members are newer and which ones are well-established group members on most social media.
Forums solve this problem. Most forums have tiered content so that newbies don’t get full access to everything until they prove themselves.
Additionally, most well-run website forums have newbie specific forums and experienced members who enjoy helping new folks and giving them advice and tips.
We here at Pattaya Unplugged still use forums, although admittedly we also use most social media. We feel the two are great complements to each other and that anyone who thinks forums have perished has not been on them much lately.
For Pattaya, we suggest to check out www.Pattaya-Addicts.com, the leading website forum for Pattaya with over 160,000 members. It is an especially valuable source for newbies and those learning.