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#15438 - 05/05/11 03:53 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: tacit]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Thanks for you insights and ideas; not that it'll be worth much, but I'll give it some thought.

Off the top of my head, though, it looks like the best way for FTM to achieve immediate, high visibility is to somehow take a piggyback ride on the back Russian organized crime. tongue grin
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#15439 - 05/06/11 12:14 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: tacit]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
In the special forums area, FTM's "Freeware" thread would appear to be a great candidate for a standalone forum; the posts would need more depth than they usually have now...perhaps to be defined by some sort of minimal "content-template."
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#15467 - 05/08/11 05:29 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: artie505]
dboh Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Jeez, more than a few posts here resemble the carping that must have gone on about the coming of the Iron Horse.

Like it or not, social media is the current face of communication. Obviously there are growing pains and unfortunately most of it is being programmed by PC-types (Facebook is far from intuitive), but it remains the place where most people get their information. Plenty of people, companies, etc., misuse it, but whereas advertising and marketing are a one-way broadcasting of something, social media is two-way and is what "communicating" is really all about. Stick to the "old ways" if you must, but like the club room at the Harvard Club, I'd bet the accumulating dust is really becoming annoying.

A Facebook page seems redundant to this forum; maybe you could use Twitter to broadcast your presence to a wider community and to solicit others' opinions and suggestions about how to proceed.

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#15469 - 05/08/11 08:25 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: dboh]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Ah yes, back to back-biting.

As for Facebook and its congeners (the latter term a less tainted version of 'ilk') ...

If the term communication is to have any meaningful content, then by and large it can't be used to define or delineate the inherent fatuity and superciliousness of most Facebook postings (from all I can gather).

However, as Marshall MacLuhan pointed up: The medium is the message.

And if "friending" is any indication of a social network, then I'm happy — nay, ecstatic — to be a troglodyte and recluse.

Not to put too fine a point on it: Social networking is a load of crap which is only social and a network by the most trivial of definitions, primarily used by those who have no real (as opposed to virtual) friends and more and more by those who would do evil — even if a certain subset of interactors use it as legitimate communication.

And now back to regular Sunday programming ....

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#15470 - 05/08/11 11:55 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: tacit]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: tacit
Sites like Myspace and Facebook are lousy from a forum perspective.

Caveat: I don't use any of the social media and I don't tweet. Therefore I accede to the opinions of those with experience although, from what I've read, it seems to me that we do want to get connected to the crowd who live on Facebook or other social media.

I wonder if there's a bit of blue-sky work yet to be done before we connect to one of these sites. What are the questions we should ask and answer to get an idea of what we want to be, or should be?

I think we've already asked and answered the question about connecting. The interface needs to be simple without using a separate login…which is in line with the Mac philosophy of ease of use.

However, what do we need to be once a person gets here? It seems there's a big move to equipment like iPads (Hal's iPad thread got nearly 30,000 views) but, on our site "iPad" is one of five items in one forum. Do we need to have specific forums for iPads and iPhones?

What about the operating systems? We are Mac-computer-centric but maybe we need to have a place where people easily find or search advice about iOS.

I did a bit of looking around and found some iPad sites but they lack something that is a huge advantage on our site. I didn't see the same quality of advice. We have folks who can actually help people through problems rather than some of the guesswork I saw elsewhere.

I don't think we're far from being part of the "all the topics they're interested in" for Facebook users – particularly when our indexing, searchability, categorizing et cetera is combined with the expertise available in our membership. We just want to make sure that when folks visit the first time, their experience tells them this is a place to return to.

ryck


Edited by ryck (05/08/11 11:57 AM)
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#15471 - 05/08/11 12:00 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: grelber]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: grelber
Social networking is a load of crap which is only social and a network by the most trivial of definitions...

I dunno. Neither am I a Facebook user but, when that medium plays a central role in turfing an Egyptian dictator, I have to think something "social" happened and it wasn't too "trivial".

ryck


Edited by ryck (05/08/11 12:02 PM)
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#15474 - 05/08/11 12:25 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: grelber]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Two of the preceding posts illustrate the range of thought on this topic. I quote a salient statement from each of them below, followed by a comment of mine:
Originally Posted By: dboh
Like it or not, social media is the current face of communication.

If this is true (and I believe it's arguably the case), then we'd best be looking how to utilize the new media.

Originally Posted By: grelber
And if "friending" is any indication of a social network, then I'm happy — nay, ecstatic — to be a troglodyte and recluse.

This opinion is fine by me, but not very helpful against the backdrop of the preceding quote and its implications, as it would seem to prefer throwing out the (FTMF) baby with the (despised media) bath water.

While these two points of view seem mutually exclusive, I don't believe it is necessary to choose one over the other at this time. After all, we're still dealing with an 'and-and' option (this forum with 'hooks' in other sites) instead of an 'or-or' one, although that may eventually change. But regardless of what FTM's future format(s) will be, assuming there will be an FTM (let's say 5-10 years from now), I don't think it's smart to exclude anything off the bat.
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#15481 - 05/08/11 02:15 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: tacit]
RHV Offline


Registered: 09/19/09
Loc: Winnipeg, Kenora, Palm Springs...
My guess is that stand alone computer troubleshooting forums do have a future. Computer problems often create a lot anxiety in the user, take a lot of time to fix, and require a good deal of special expertise. I don't think that they will fit easily into multi purpose forums -- and certainly not "personal communication/revelation" forums such as Facebook.

I have an account on Facebook. FineTunedMac is already there in a very minor way. I typed its name into the search box (at the top of all Facebook pages) and I got two links:

http://finetunedmac.com/

http://www.finetunedmac.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=11004

If one types "Mac Help" into that search box one gets lots of Mac entries -- Mac stores, people offering Mac help, etc. Sometimes there's not just Mac information in Facebook but links out of Facebook to Mac web pages.

In addition to opening an account for FTM on Facebook or advertising there or both, I'd somehow try to see to it that Google and Yahoo, etc. turn up FTM more than they do. I do not know how to do this. I hope that it is somehow doable.

Does anybody, such as Macworld, do an evaluation of Mac Help forums. FTM would then get mentioned and ought to rank high.

I wonder whether it would help FTM to advertise itself as having a specialty (in addition to its being a "general all things Mac" help body) -- say a specialty such as helping Windows switchers. There seems to me to be a growing body of switchers nowadays.







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#15482 - 05/08/11 02:51 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: alternaut]
dboh Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Social media is much more than just Facebook, and even so, Facebook is more than some inane fool posting every thought that comes into his head. Any number of start-ups, small businesses, and nonprofits have been able to make themselves known and get word of their product/service/mission out to the community. This kind of thing used to take lots of money. Now it doesn't.

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#15483 - 05/08/11 02:56 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: RHV]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
> My guess is that stand alone computer troubleshooting forums do have a future. Computer problems often create a lot anxiety in the user, take a lot of time to fix, and require a good deal of special expertise.

I've had the same thought, but with no Facebook experience I wasn't certain that it was accurate to say that the expertise available at FTM is not available there.

I wonder if it's maybe time for some sort of "umbrella" organization...a single website to which users in need of help could go and, with a single login, gain access to anywhere from a few to many of the "free-standing" Mac support forums?

True, the scheme would leave each individual forum to sink or swim based on its shortcomings or merits, but that's what competition is all about.

And if it forces some forums to cut their scope and concentrate on the areas at which they are best (or even go out of business), it will, in the end, be in the best interests of those looking for help.
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#15486 - 05/08/11 06:34 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: artie505]
RHV Offline


Registered: 09/19/09
Loc: Winnipeg, Kenora, Palm Springs...
So far as I can tell, Facebook offers no significant expertise on techie computer, smart phone, tablet, etc. problems. Sure there is a little help for Apple newbies. And some links exist there for help beyond Facebook. But Apple troubleshooting matters are a very minor part of Facebook.

As for an umbrella website to help Apple users get help, with a single registration, by accessing any of the various single purpose Apple help sites, it's a nice idea but it requires cooperation from all the Apple websites --doesn't it? And the cost has to be shared, doesn't it? I'm not sure that the cooperation or the willingness to share costs will be there. And I'm not sure that FTM would do that well in that environment. How does FTM stand out? In numbers, no. In talent maybe -- but who knows that? In special treatment of users. Maybe. But who knows that? In special attention to a certain class of users. What class? FTM is a general all purpose help site. It has not gone to any specialization.

I think that FTM has to do a better job by itself of gaining users. And to me that means getting itself mentioned more often (and favourably) on Google and Yahoo and getting itself on some of the social media sites. And it has to explain why it is a good choice compared to its competitors. And that is not an easy task. Word of mouth works, but now there are not enough mouths at FTM to do that work.

Ships can be righted, but it's usually not that clear at the outset how to do it.




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#15487 - 05/08/11 06:58 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: RHV]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
> As for an umbrella website [...], it's a nice idea but it requires cooperation from all the Apple websites --doesn't it? And the cost has to be shared, doesn't it? I'm not sure that the cooperation or the willingness to share costs will be there.

I didn't say I thought it would be easy, although I don't think it would be a terribly expensive proposition, and if, as tacit says, all the stand-alones are experiencing the same downturn FTM has seen, the impetus may be there.

> And I'm not sure that FTM would do that well in that environment. How does FTM stand out? In numbers, no. In talent maybe -- but who knows that? In special treatment of users. Maybe. But who knows that? In special attention to a certain class of users. What class? FTM is a general all purpose help site. It has not gone to any specialization.

FTM stands out from the crowd as the successor to MFIF... "FTM is the home-in-exile of the responders you knew, respected, and have missed since the demise of MFIF." That, I think, is FTM's major selling point, because it imparts instant credibility!


Edited by artie505 (05/08/11 07:22 PM)
Edit Reason: posters-->responders
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

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#15488 - 05/08/11 07:30 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: RHV]
RHV Offline


Registered: 09/19/09
Loc: Winnipeg, Kenora, Palm Springs...
"FTM stands out from the crowd as the successor to MFIF... "FTM is the home-in-exile of the posters you knew, respected, and have missed since the demise of MFIF." That, I think, is FTM's major selling point, because it imparts instant credibility!"

But in your proposed umbrella website, most of the readers won't know about the old MacFixIt. And most of those who do haven't returned to it -- hence the current problem for FTM. I think that helpers at the old MacFixIt and the current FTM are great -- but since most of the users of the old MaxFixIt have not returned to FTM, you have to suppose that they were not that impressed -- or just don't know that FTM is the old MacFixIt. In the latter case, better advertising will help.

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#15489 - 05/08/11 10:50 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: RHV]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: RHV
But in your proposed umbrella website, most of the readers won't know about the old MacFixIt. And most of those who do haven't returned to it -- hence the current problem for FTM. I think that helpers at the old MacFixIt and the current FTM are great -- but since most of the users of the old MaxFixIt have not returned to FTM, you have to suppose that they were not that impressed -- or just don't know that FTM is the old MacFixIt. In the latter case, better advertising will help.

I'm inclined to believe that there are still many, many people who remember MFIF fondly...that the dearth of posters at FTM results not from lack of interest or from its failure to have made an impression, but from people's, including most former MFIF posters, not knowing it exists.

True, there was a "get out the word" campaign (mostly in the form of sigs, though, which probably escaped the notice of many) during MFIF's twilight days, but that only reached a small percentage of posters, and the early Google hits that mentioned FTM and MFIF in the same sentence have long since sunk to the bottom of the page.

Also true that there was some early "unrest" at FTM that probably alienated some people, but that's ancient history, and I have to think that FTM's still being around after two years will prompt those people to give it another shot and discover that it's survived its birth/growing pains...that it's a much friendlier, happier place than it was waaay back then.

That said, what better, and less expensive, way can you propose to get necessary exposure than to be affiliated with a website whose entire audience is FTM's target audience?

Advertising is expensive, and an umbrella website seems to me to be the cheapest access route to the largest target audience, particularly in view of tacit's assertion that all the free-standing forums are losing business (and [extrapolating here], therefore, could, presumably, use and would, presumably, benefit from the exposure).
_________________________
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#15490 - 05/09/11 01:12 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: dboh]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
RE Facebook is more than some inane fool posting every thought that comes into his head.

No argument except to say that there are legions of the effete who do.

RE Any number of start-ups, small businesses, and nonprofits have been able to make themselves known and get word of their product/service/mission out to the community. This kind of thing used to take lots of money. Now it doesn't.

I cannot conceive of ever using such a site to acquire business or product information; it'd be like responding to the Nigerian scam. {shudder}

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#15491 - 05/09/11 01:36 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: grelber]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
> RE Facebook is more than some inane fool posting every thought that comes into his head.

I wonder if that's maybe a reference to Twitter, which, although it apparently does have some limited usefulness, basically meets the criterion (as well as makes me shudder at the thought of it).

And, from my limited experience, my impression is that Facebook is a faaar better site/experience than Twitter...simply put, much better content.
_________________________
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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#15492 - 05/09/11 01:58 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: artie505]
dboh Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
No, it's not a reference to Twitter.

Again, I don't think Facebook is the answer. You're looking to "advertise" your presence. Short of paying for advertising, Facebook can't really offer you much in the way of that.

Something like Twitter, where you can find an already established, like-minded audience, would be more effective. Also, working on search engine optimization to get more notice on Google would also seem more effective. I'm not familiar with the particulars, but if you're seriously interested, I can point you to a couple sites that specialize in this and seem more reputable than others.

Seriously, Nigerian scam? I've got a sister-in-law -- who doubled her business by inviting her friends (and their friends) to visit her booth at a holiday gift show which benefited her local historical association -- who would seriously disagree (if not be offended) by that remark.

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#15493 - 05/09/11 02:12 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: dboh]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
> No, it's not a reference to Twitter.

Kinda sounded like one, though.

I've already given this matter what I think is likely my best shot, and I'm totally out of my league when it comes to dealing with your ideas/suggestions, but thanks for your thoughts. I'm sure tacit will see them and take them under advisement.
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#15494 - 05/09/11 02:16 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: dboh]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
RE I've got a sister-in-law -- who doubled her business by inviting her friends (and their friends) to visit her booth at a holiday gift show which benefited her local historical association ...

Again, I have no argument with like-minded people interacting in this fashion; it's not the same as strangers doing so.
My point is that I would never respond to such an offer unless it was a personalized (and I mean really personal) contact from a trusted source.

And I will forever remain leery about the seamy qua destructive side of "social media". Caveat emptor. Caveat lector. Caveat utor.


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#15495 - 05/09/11 03:48 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: artie505]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

There may be many, many people who remember MFIF fondly, but I think the lion's share of them remember a much earlier version, and were already long gone by the time MFIF was shut down, driven away by a combination of factors which arose more or less contemporaneously with Ted's sale of MFI to TechTracker:
  • the spread of acrimony, notably in the Mac OS X Talk forum, and in the Lounge's political threads in the aftermath of 9/11;
  • a severe, more or less ongoing set of technical problems (hardware server troubles, database troubles, ad server troubles, and the constant reduction of engineering cycles to deal with any of the above), whose end result was a chronic interminable wait for pages to load;
  • the (two week?) emergency shutdown in the spring of 2008 to update the forums to new software, which was likely the final straw for many who'd managed to weather the day-by-day access issues of yore; and ultimately,
  • a dramatic diminution in the quality of help offered, due in large part, no doubt, to the tangible reduction in both depth and breadth of knowledge represented by the diminishing population of regulars.
This steady erosion of traffic may not have been that noticeable to some of those regulars who remained throughout, since even toward the end, there was enough traffic to provide new interest on a more or less daily basis; but to those of us tasked with managing the content side of the site, the dropoff in business over the years was staggering.

When I became a moderator in 2003, a typical day saw around 300 new posts, and that itself was down significantly from the first couple years of the millennium. By the end, we were down below 100 posts a day.
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#15497 - 05/09/11 05:35 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: dkmarsh]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

A perusal of the Internet Archive reveals this falloff in activity at MFIF:

Code:
Date			Threads in combined OS X system forums active within previous 24 hours

10/26/00						34*
4/07/03							30
7/27/07							17
7/23/08							 6

*There were 43 active OS 9 threads and 17 active pre-OS 9 threads on this date as well.
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#15498 - 05/09/11 05:45 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: dkmarsh]
jchuzi Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: New York State
Maybe, as the Mac OS improved, people had fewer problems. cool
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OS 10.15.3, iMac Retina 5K 27-inch, late 2014, 3.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 1 TB fusion drive, 16 GB RAM, Epson SureColor P600, Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC, MS Office 365

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#15500 - 05/09/11 07:44 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: dkmarsh]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
RE ... I think the lion's share of them remember a much earlier version, and were already long gone by the time MFIF was shut down, driven away by a combination of factors which arose more or less contemporaneously with Ted's sale of MFI to TechTracker ....

Yes indeed. And as much as the participants (especially in the Lounge) then formed a motley and friendly crowd, eager to share, the bonhommie broke down and the family broke up, with the ship-jumpers finding a new island of solace. As much as I liked helping out the cat-wranglers who left, I chose to remain behind. Loyalty rarely makes me uncomfortable.

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#15502 - 05/09/11 09:25 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: grelber]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
I do a limited amount of Facebook and I find it a convenient means of keeping up with distant friends, the current news about our local minor league baseball team, specials at local establishments, meeting notices for organizations I am a member of. Only occassionally will I pick up recommendations from my "friends". Note that these are almost all people or organizations I already knew about. As far as I know, the few new "likes"/"friends"/"pages" I was not prevously aware of came from existing "friends" and those new likes"/"friends"/"pages" are very few and far between.

My wife, on the other hand, often posts a request for recommendations to her many Facebook friends and often gets some very good feedback on different stores/products/etc.

I have talked to some local merchants about their Facebook pages and they all agree it is a great way to keep in touch with their existing customers and they do pull in some new customers from existing customer's "Likes".

Personally I cannot envision an FTM troubleshooting Facebook page. What I can envision is a page that would be a portal to the FTM site and an option on FTM to "Like" the FTM Facebook page. If all of the FTM users "like" the Facebook page, that would show up in their Facebook profiles and might entice other Mac users to find and join FTM.

I don't Twitter but it occurs that might be used in the same way. (Can you imagine describing a problem on the Mac in less than 140 characters? I can't.)
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#15504 - 05/09/11 10:38 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: joemikeb]
roger Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Vermont
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
What I can envision is a page that would be a portal to the FTM site and an option on FTM to "Like" the FTM Facebook page. If all of the FTM users "like" the Facebook page, that would show up in their Facebook profiles and might entice other Mac users to find and join FTM.


exactly.
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