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#15294 - 04/29/11 11:21 AM FTM traffic slumping?
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
The forums I regularly haunt seem to be dropping off in traffic recently. Maybe we need to advertise or something?
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#15295 - 04/29/11 12:08 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: Virtual1]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Let's hope it was because of the holidays. frown
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#15312 - 04/30/11 11:15 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: Virtual1]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
I've noticed a precipitous drop in traffic lately in ALL the forums I read regularly--not just technical forums, but also forums on all the other topics I'm interested in.

One possibility is that the drop is related to the holidays. But that aside, i think long-term we are seeing big changes in the way people use the Internet. It seems like stand-alone, single-topic forums in general are losing popularity, as more and more forums move to places like Facebook--where a person can join a lot f different communities with a lot of different subjects in one place using one logon.

So I suspect that what we're experiencing right now is something like what old dial-up BBS systems started experiencing in the early 1990s...changes in the way people use their computers left most of those systems behind.

What does that mean to FTM? It means that if we're still going to be around five years from now, we're going to have to change. How we change, though, is something I'm not sure of.
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#15319 - 04/30/11 03:08 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: tacit]
roger Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Vermont
are there plans for a Facebook page for FTM? or is there one already and I've missed it? laugh
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#15322 - 04/30/11 04:01 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: roger]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
What would be the point?
The forums ostensibly serve the same function, n'est-ce pas?
Besides Facebook and other such places are sinkholes of doom, IMHO. And many, such as I, refuse to patronize such.

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#15323 - 04/30/11 04:09 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: grelber]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
> And many, such as I, refuse to patronize such.

Hear, hear!!!
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#15324 - 04/30/11 04:27 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: artie505]
roger Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Vermont
well, I happen to enjoy Facebook, and if, as tacit states, that's where a lot of forum (not just FTM) traffic is going, then it would make sense if we are going to continue, to make a presence there.

and might I humbly suggest that Facebook is what the user makes of it, and one might perhaps adopt a less ostrich-like approach. I have found it a wonderful, easy way to stay in touch with my friends around the world, coming as they do, from many internet locations, not to mention my family.
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#15328 - 04/30/11 05:30 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: roger]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: roger
well, I happen to enjoy Facebook, and if, as tacit states, that's where a lot of forum (not just FTM) traffic is going, then it would make sense if we are going to continue, to make a presence there.

and might I humbly suggest that Facebook is what the user makes of it, and one might perhaps adopt a less ostrich-like approach. I have found it a wonderful, easy way to stay in touch with my friends around the world, coming as they do, from many internet locations, not to mention my family.

Your point must be well-taken; if Facebook is where the world is going, FTM's got to be there (although I can't begin to guess in what capacity).

But "ostrich-like approach" is a pretty one-sided, thoroughly non-objective way of characterizing my attitude (and, likely, grelber's).

In my world, social networking is talking to the person on the next barstool, the person on the other end of the phone line...you get the point.

I dig your point about keeping up with friends around the world, but even if I were in such a position I'd do it with Skype.

I don't remember the name of the Asimov book - It may be "Caves of Steel" - in which Lije Bailey and R Daneel Olivaw are sent to investigate a murder on a planet where nobody ever sees anybody else in person...where all social contact is hologrammatic.

But I clearly remember the reaction of one of the characters when told that the pair wanted to see her...along the lines of "But you're seeing me right now," followed by total astonishment when informed that that wasn't the "see" they were talking about.

And while many Americans are heading in that direction, I'm full-tilt in reverse. cool

And, finally, Facebook has an aspect that I dislike intensely: Once you go public on Facebook, everybody out of your whole past somehow finds you, leaving you in the position of having to either accept their "Friend" offers and deal with them or reject their offers and hurt them.

Naaah!
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#15329 - 04/30/11 06:37 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: roger]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
I haven't floated any plans for a Facebook version of FTM. I'm not sure what the best solution for a post-stand-alone-forum world is, but I do suspect that moving FTM to Facebook (and for the record, I use Facebook but I don't especially like it) would damage the sense of community that's one of the things I love about it here.

I don't like the way Facebook forums work. I also don't think that simply jumping ship is the best solution. It seems to me that it might buy time, but eventually something will come along to replace Facebook; rather than simply jumping from one new thing to the next, I think it might be more helpful to try to figure out what the shape of the future is for Net forums and get there ahead of anyone else.

But as to what that might look like, I got nothin'. Anyone?
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#15330 - 04/30/11 11:11 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: tacit]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: tacit
I think it might be more helpful to try to figure out what the shape of the future is for Net forums and get there ahead of anyone else.

But as to what that might look like, I got nothin'. Anyone?

And if anyone can identify the publicly traded corporation that's going to spearhead it, pleeeze... grin
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The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#15331 - 05/01/11 08:19 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: artie505]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
I'm with artie and mostly with tacit, re Facebook (and similar so-called social medial, which I consider to be more accurately described as "antisocial' media, given their virtuality).
I partcularly dislike the lack of privacy and security associated with these places. So, if I have to give up that privacy and security, then I'll be a recluse (and love every antisocial minute of it, if I give it any consideration at all).

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#15341 - 05/01/11 12:36 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: grelber]
roger Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Vermont
well, we obviously have different feelings about it, and that's cool, I just get bothered by the "Facebook is evil" tone that I hear so often. I'm not an FB apologist, but it can, and is, used wisely and to great effect by many. Facebook doesn't have my credit card info, nor are my address and phone number out there for all to see. It is really not much different from a "regular" forum in the level of activity any one person can choose to engage in.

I stay in touch with people that I can't see face-to-face because they live across the ocean, or across the country. We share pictures and stories and reminisce and stay connected in a way that would not be possible if I had to phone or write them all individually. I am closer now to old friends and people that could have been friends when we went to school together but we were caught up in our own other social circles.

I have met physically, and have plans to meet some of the people that I have met through social media. My life is richer because of it.

I would agree with tacit that the FB "Discussion" concept would not work as well as the dedicated forums here, but perhaps a simple Page that could be found when searching for Mac Help on Facebook could end up leading people here.
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#15342 - 05/01/11 01:31 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: roger]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
> "perhaps a simple Page that could be found when searching for Mac Help on Facebook could end up leading people here"[i][/i]

That sounds like a good idea, even if it never goes any further.
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#15390 - 05/02/11 09:50 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: roger]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
A page on FB that leads folks here might be a good idea, though I reckon a lot of folks won't use it if it requires a totally different login. I don't know if there's UBB functionality to log in via Facebook Connect, or if it'd be something that would be desirable if there is--that's something I'd like input from the moderators on.

I do think that within the next few years, standalone forums will be essentially dead. I'd like to explore some options to keep that from happening to us!
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#15391 - 05/03/11 02:27 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: tacit]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
RE standalone forums will be essentially dead

They'll only be dead if their participants are or they no longer care to participate.
In either case ...

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#15394 - 05/03/11 09:49 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: tacit]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
The latest punditry I am seeing on the future of the internet is already predicting the end of the Facebook era.
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#15400 - 05/03/11 12:58 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: joemikeb]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
In the word of Montgomery Burns: Excellent.

And what, pray tell, do assembled punditry say will replace it?

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#15401 - 05/03/11 01:28 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: grelber]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: grelber
In the word of Montgomery Burns: Excellent.

And what, pray tell, do assembled punditry say will replace it?

Coffee klatches would be a capital idea! smile
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#15402 - 05/03/11 02:48 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: grelber]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: grelber
RE standalone forums will be essentially dead

They'll only be dead if their participants are or they no longer care to participate.
In either case ...


I see the same pattern happening to standalone forums that happened to pre-Internet bulletin board systems: the population of users is aging, the influx of new members is slowing, and the overall traffic is spiraling the drain. I think both will happen--new people will no longer participate and the existing people will die or move on.

Sites like Myspace and Facebook are lousy from a forum perspective. There's very little that can really replace a forum like this; compared to this kind of software, the user interface is lousy, the forums aren't searchable, Facebook groups aren't indexed by Google, and keeping topics in separate categories is difficult or impossible. So for a forum like FTM, what we have is head and shoulders above what Facebook can offer.

On the other hand, for a lot of people, especially people relatively new to the Internet, Facebook might as well *be* the Internet. Folks like it because in just one place they have all their friends and all the topics they're interested in, plus games and apps and most of the rest of what they do online. It makes coming to a standalone Web site forum seem positively archaic.

So here's the million-dollar question: What would it look like to combine the size and socially connected accessibility of Facebook with the user interface, searchability, and indexability of forum software like this? I suspect there's a lot of money for whoever answers that question.

Some of the ideas I have in the back of my mind include:

- The ability to log in here with Facebook Connect, which would let Facebook users use FTM without creating a whole separate login.
- A Facebook page that redirects to FTM.
- A standalone app that allows users to use, post, and search FTM from their desktop without firing up a Web browser.
- Some kind of app or plugin for Facebook (I don't know anything about Facebook app development) that gives Facebook a group system that doesn't suck, and/or makes FTM available to users from within Facebook. I don't know if that's possible or not; I've never investigated FB's programming API.
- A whole new platform that does for forums what Facebook does for social networking. I'm not sure of a forum-specific platform would be a good idea or not. At the very least, it would be massive amounts of work for something that might fizzle. (Ning.com tried doing a social networking platform to compete with Facebook. It failed spectacularly.)
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#15403 - 05/03/11 03:04 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: tacit]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Great post!

Thanks for your insights and thoughts. smile
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#15405 - 05/03/11 05:52 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: tacit]
roger Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Vermont
I was thinking of your first two choices. even driving a little traffic here would be a good thing, no?
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stuff I'm interested in
iPhone 4s 7.0.2

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#15408 - 05/03/11 10:54 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: tacit]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Considering user sloth as a new "given," I think "The ability to log in here with Facebook Connect, which would let Facebook users use FTM without creating a whole separate login." stands head and shoulders above any of your other ideas.

" A Facebook page that redirects to FTM." is a good alternative, but a distant second.
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#15409 - 05/03/11 11:22 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: tacit]
freelance Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: London, UK
I typed "Mac help forum" into Google and FTM got no mention. So, that might be a start: get a better presence on the search engines?
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#15410 - 05/03/11 11:56 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: freelance]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: freelance
I typed "Mac help forum" into Google and FTM got no mention. So, that might be a start: get a better presence on the search engines?

I tried a few search terms, and "macintosh forum(s)" shows FTM not too far from the top of the page, but other search terms yield no hits.

Curious, no?

tacit... Can you make any guesses?

Edit: The link is to FTM's home page, so is it fair to say that some language change on that page may be helpful?

Edit 2: "Macintosh help forum(s)" does not hit FTM.


Edited by artie505 (05/04/11 03:05 AM)
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#15433 - 05/04/11 06:45 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: artie505]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
I's definitely true that some fine-tuning of the site's front page might help Google visibility. I plan to start doing that as soon as I get a chance--might have to wait 'til next week.

According to the UBB.threads programmer on the UBB support forum, there is no plugin or module to allow login with Facebook Connect in version 7, or planned for version 7. They are working on this for UBB.threads version 8, which is not yet released. When it is released, it will not be a free upgrade; I don't know yet how much money it will cost to move FTM from version 7 to version 8, or when version 8 will be available. If they stick with past pricing plans, it'll likely be a couple hundred dollars to upgrade.

Making a Facebook page that redirects here likely won't do nearly as much for traffic as integrating FTM with Facebook Connect, but the advantage it has is that it's free and can be done right now. However, any FTM page on Facebook probably won't succeed unless someone is willing to work on it regularly, both promoting it and adding new content to it (perhaps a Mac tech question of the week? Something like that?). At the moment, I don't have the time to commit to doing a Facebook page that way.

Other random ideas off the top of my head:

- Creating special forums that piggyback off of other popular, high-visibility trends. A Word of Warcraft on the Mac forum, perhaps? Or a forum that hilights outstanding programs on the Mac OS App store?

- More aggressive promoting--not only in Google, but also on other forums (forum signatures are a good way to do this), in blogs, and so on. I plan to put more visible links to FTM from my other Web sites, by way of one example.
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