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#15505 - 05/09/11 11:29 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: jchuzi]
freelance Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: London, UK
Ha! This is what I was thinking.

I can only speculate from personal experience, but to address some of the previously mentioned issues:

I came to MacFixIt years ago from a magazine referral. It was listed as one of the best sites for Mac help.

After I found out how to solve the basic and frequent Mac problems (OS 8.5), I gravitated to the Lounge – from curiosity and habit. When the Lounge became uncomfortable, I found other ways to spend my time.

I came to MacFixIt from magazine referrals. Does anyone read a magazine for Mac help anymore? I find the easiest way to solve a Mac problem these days is to search Google. Instant links to discussions of similar problems pop up, as opposed to waiting for someone reply to a post on a tech forum.

The other site I frequent is MacOSXHints. They have more traffic than this site, but it can be real slow, too. They don't seem to have as much (if any) bickering among the regulars. (This is an observation, not a criticism.)

I don't think Twitter/Facebook is the solution, unless the prime movers here are committed Twits/Facebookers. It doesn't seem to me to be a place where I'd go to get my computer fixed.

The main computer magazines have an online presence. Maybe a PR campaign – personal letters to the editors from tacit would help increase the profile here?

To my mind, tacit is famous, an icon. And reliable. And he never got involved in the political aggro, as near as I can recall. He just knows how to fix your computer.

This is this site's USP. Market it (with tacit approval).

And apologies to all the other mainstays of this site. I know that there is plenty of expertise here, but when you read one of tacit's posts, there is a certain clarity and authority that certainly makes an impression.

You need more visibility on the search engines, I my opinion. One-on-one TwitFace referrals are not the solution, I fear. And I have used Facebook (until I got burned). The movie, Social Network, was excellent.

It took a long time to build up that MacFixIt brand. A google search takes you to cnet.
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#15507 - 05/09/11 02:11 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: dkmarsh]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Thanks for that; much of it is beyond the scope of my experience.

Oh, well... It was a thought; I still believe it may have some merit, though.
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#15508 - 05/09/11 02:12 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: roger]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: roger
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.

It does appear to be the most viable immediate option.
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The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

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#15509 - 05/09/11 02:14 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: jchuzi]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
That's been my impression, beginning with Leopard, but I can't separate the possibility from the realities posted by dk.
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The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

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#15510 - 05/09/11 03:24 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: joemikeb]
dboh Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Quote:
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.)


That's not how you'd use Twitter. It would be more to announce your presence or to say "I can help!" when someone Tweets that they wish they could figure out what's wrong their (whatever).

Toss in some keywords at twitter.search.com and see if there are any groups that you think FTM could attract.

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#15511 - 05/09/11 04:35 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: jchuzi]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Originally Posted By: jchuzi
Maybe, as the Mac OS improved, people had fewer problems.

I thought about that, and I think it's true to a certain extent, but in that case, the 76,401 discussions in the Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard community on Apple's support site suggest that there's little correlation between OS maturity and folks' need/desire to discuss it.

(After all, the flawless performance of OS X on your Macs hasn't kept you from participating in a thread or two here and there. wink )

Originally Posted By: freelance
Instant links to discussions of similar problems pop up, as opposed to waiting for someone reply to a post on a tech forum.

Of course, if everyone googled for instant links and no one posted, there'd ultimately be no discussions of similar or indeed any problems at all. (Obviously there are other potential sources of search results, like online articles and blog posts, but neither of those is crowd-sourced and thus offer comparative experiences which are much more limited in scope.)

I use Facebook mostly to keep in touch with friends I don't get a chance to see as often as I'd like, but I honestly can't think of a single instance in which Facebook has figured in the process by which I've arrived at a solution to a problem.

As for Twitter, I think that's a bit like texting, in that you either do it or you don't. I don't, and I don't know too many folks who do, and that's a commentary on my position in the demographic firmament, but it leads to this point, which I haven't seen raised: historically, members of this (MFIF/FTM) community have been older, on average, than those of most other Mac sites I've visited.

I agree with Jerry when he says, "I don't think Twitter/Facebook is the solution, unless the prime movers here are committed Twits/Facebookers." And I don't think they are.
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#15513 - 05/09/11 07:56 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: grelber]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Quote:
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.


Now, mind you, I'm not much of a Facebook user, and I'm not especially fond of Facebook or its ilk, but...

I don't think that's really a fair statement.

Now, throughout history, whenever you give people the chance to say whatever they like, you find that most folks don't really have anything interesting to say. That's not a problem with social networks; that's a problem with people. Facebook has 500,000,000 active users. Given that many people can't find anything more interesting to talk about than what they had for dinner last night, that means a lot of Facebook posts are about what they had for dinner last night. And given that most people are shallow and superficial and form shallow, superficial social connections, that means many folks on Facebook are shallow and superficial and form shallow, superficial social connections. None of that is a problem with social networks so much as a problem with human nature.

But if you get 500,000,000 people in the same place, you discover that a lot of those folks DO have interesting things to say.

Quote:
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.


Both of those sound like good ideas to me.

The iPad is a red-hot, game changing gadget. I think having an iPad forum is probably an excellent idea. I don't know that I'd be able to contribute to it, as I don't have an iPad (unless one of you wants to buy me one... wink ) but I think it'd be a great thing to put here.

Similarly, an iOS forum would probably be an excellent idea too.

Quote:
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.


What I see happening is that, particularly for younger users, Facebook is the gateway to the Internet. If folks in the Facebook set have computer problems, they turn to friends for help. If that doesn't work, they don't seem to Google for solutions--they take it in to the Apple Genius bar or something like that. While I would like to think that standalone forums sill have a place, and I definitely agree that they are more appropriate for troubleshooting than Facebook is, the numbers show that standalone forums are dying.

Quote:
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.


That's an excellent idea, and something I plan to work on when I have time.

Quote:
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.


Sure. And like I said, most folks don't really have a whole lot that's interesting going on in there. That's neither here nor there, of course. In any group of half a billion people (and by the way, Facebook's userbase is one-fourteenth of the total human population...how's that for reach?), a lot of folks won't be interesting and some folks will. If we are to survive, we need to go to where the half a billion people are, not wait for them to come to us.

Quote:
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).


I used to think that way, before I started using Twitter.

As it turns out, Twitter is brilliant. Its simplicity and immediacy fills a nice gap between real-time communication and forums like this; it's more immediate than forums, but less immediate than a phone call. That actually works out really well. I've "met" a number of folks who've become close real-world friends on Twitter.

Yep, there is a lot of rubbish. Same rule as Facebook; get tens of millions of people together and most of 'em won't be interesting. The problem isn't with Twitter, though. Find the ones who ARE interesting, and Twitter becomes extraordinarily useful.

Quote:
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.


Yep, that's about how I see it too. To me, an important part of that is the ability not just to redirect Facebook users here, but to let them log in here with their Facebook ID, so they do not have to register again. Sadly, that will have to wait for the next release of UBB.threads.

I also think that in order to be successful, that FB page will have to be updated frequently, perhaps with particularly good troubleshooting threads from here. You know, give folks a taste of the quality of the troubleshooting advice they can find here.

Quote:
You need more visibility on the search engines, I my opinion. One-on-one TwitFace referrals are not the solution, I fear. And I have used Facebook (until I got burned). The movie, Social Network, was excellent.


I see more search engine visibility as a stopgap solution; something that's definitely beneficial, but ultimately I do see a shift away from standalone forums that I think is only going to continue. I'm not quite sure where Facebook fits in that equation--it's the 900-pound gorilla right now, but its forum system is so awful that it can't totally squeeze standalone forums out just yet. However, whatever the next step *after* Facebook is, very well might.

'm looking not just a year down the road (I definitely think we can survive that long), but five years down the road. I see an Internet that will become increasingly aggregated in large sites of some sort, whether they be like Facebook or something else, and increasingly hostile to small, standalone forums.

However, just seeing the shape of the problem doesn't really suggest a solution.
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#15514 - 05/10/11 02:21 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: tacit]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
RE I don't think that's really a fair statement. and
But if you get 500,000,000 people in the same place, you discover that a lot of those folks DO have interesting things to say.

It wasn't meant to be fair; it was a personal assessment.
Somehow, scanning through the musings of 500M individuals to find the pearls of wisdom that might lurk there is a tad daunting and not how I'd like to spend even a millisecond of my time. (But that's just me.)
Quite frankly, I much rather watch, for example, the ants on my rose bushes tend their herd of aphids. (But that's just me.)

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#15529 - 05/11/11 08:58 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: grelber]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Ah yes, Facebook ... flawless friend to the feckless and fatuous ...

Sold Out by Your Favorite Facebook Apps?

Facebook may have leaked your personal information

Yeah, I'll be sure to sign up real soon. tongue

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#15552 - 05/12/11 08:29 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: tacit]
RHV Offline


Registered: 09/19/09
Loc: Winnipeg, Kenora, Palm Springs...
"What I see happening is that, particularly for younger users, Facebook is the gateway to the Internet. If folks in the Facebook set have computer problems, they turn to friends for help. If that doesn't work, they don't seem to Google for solutions--they take it in to the Apple Genius bar or something like that. While I would like to think that standalone forums sill have a place, and I definitely agree that they are more appropriate for troubleshooting than Facebook is, the numbers show that standalone forums are dying."


So suppose that stand alone forums in general are dying. Is that irrelevant to stand alone techie or Apple oriented forums? What's the evidence that it is relevant?

What we at FTM ought to be interested in is whether Apple oriented stand alone forums are dying or in bad health. And, of course, some will be for particular reasons. And some have died in the past. And FTM is, though not dying, now in bad health in one respect -- in lacking users.

But one must not generalize from stand alone forums in general to computer/techie, or more particularly, Apple oriented forums. Different stand alone forums deal with different subject matters and have users of different degrees of interest/commitment. Generalization across such differences is dubious generalization.

Key Issue: What are the stats at Apple's own forums -- where most Apple users go for help? Do we know that usage is recently down there?

And it has to be WAY down to reasonably suggest dying or even fragile health.

I would say that if I were told that the usage there was 1/4 down, I would be willing to take the view that Apple single purpose forums show signs of bad health -- but not signs of dying. (Claiming dying with 1/4 down would be gross exaggeration.)

I await stats from Tacit re: the Apple forums and the matter of possible recent decreased usage there.

And if we don't possess that data for the Apple forums, we are, of course, using crystal balls when we claim death or ill health for Apple oriented forums. But then others can use their crystal balls as well -- and theirs will point, no doubt, to a different future. We need some quantitative data -- not conjecture or single person impressions.

I am puzzled by Tacit's remark that: What I see happening is that, particularly for younger users, Facebook is the gateway to the Internet. If folks in the Facebook set have computer problems, they turn to friends for help. If that doesn't work, they don't seem to Google for solutions--they take it in to the Apple Genius bar or something like that.

I grant that Facebook is immense for young people. But turning to friends or Apple stores/including in many towns and cities to Apple accredited service stores is what most Apple users, no matter what their age, have done ever since Apple came into existence. It is NOT a new trend!! One needs to feel competent or have time to spare to use Google or any Apple help forums. Many do not feel competent enough or have time enough to spare. So they turn to friends or stores. Is this trend to friends or stores increasing now as a proportion of Apple users? What's the data for that?

The need for Apple help ought to be increasing now based on the fact that many are now switching from Microsoft or buying Apple as their first techie product because of all the favourable Apple/Steve Jobs hype and the Consumer Reports high praise (at last!) for Apple products. (This is speculation by me. But if Tacit can speculate -- and that is what he is doing -- so can I.)

My view is that Tacit has taken a wrong path -- in one respect only. There is no reason, pending quantitative data to the contrary, to think that techie or Apple stand alone forums in general are dying or are now in poor health -- or will be in the short term.

But there is reason to think that FTM is in bad health. But that is not a generic problem. It is a particular problem. And other small Apple oriented forums may share the same problem. For I'll guess that most of the Apple newbies (and there are lots of them now) are going to the Apple forums.

FTM's problem requires a particular/local solution. I hope it can be found. And advertising of some kind has to be part of that solution


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#15565 - 05/13/11 09:11 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: RHV]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: RHV
So suppose that stand alone forums in general are dying. Is that irrelevant to stand alone techie or Apple oriented forums? What's the evidence that it is relevant?


The evidence I have is anecdotal. I belong to several Mac-related tech forums, and I've seen the traffic slumping on all of them lately. I haven't done any sort of statistically significant controlled sampling of tech forums in general, but I'd be very surprised to learn that this is not affecting all of us.

Originally Posted By: RHV
What we at FTM ought to be interested in is whether Apple oriented stand alone forums are dying or in bad health. And, of course, some will be for particular reasons. And some have died in the past. And FTM is, though not dying, now in bad health in one respect -- in lacking users.


Indeed. And it's users who make any forum; we can't long survive if the downward trend continues.

Originally Posted By: RHV
But one must not generalize from stand alone forums in general to computer/techie, or more particularly, Apple oriented forums. Different stand alone forums deal with different subject matters and have users of different degrees of interest/commitment. Generalization across such differences is dubious generalization.


That's true. But technological changes do tend to affect everyone; it happened with the old dial-up BBS systems and again with USENET, regardless of the nature of the specific BBSes or newsgroups involved.

Like I said, anecdotally, tech forums are experiencing the same decrease in usage that other forums are.

Originally Posted By: RHV
Key Issue: What are the stats at Apple's own forums -- where most Apple users go for help? Do we know that usage is recently down there?


For these purposes, I don't really know that I'd consider Apple's own forum a 'standalone forum,' as it has a significant patron willing to spend a great deal of time and energy on it that is also in a position to promote it as a resource (namely, Apple itself). I would not expect that Apple's Web site usage trends would necessarily reflect those of Apple-themed sites not affiliated with Apple itself...
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#15580 - 05/14/11 04:53 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: tacit]
Pendragon Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Georgetown, Texas, USA
I have an 89 year old mother-in-law who is in love with her iPad. While hardly a power user, she is connected to the world.

But when she has iPad questions, she only calls moi, and unfortunately, my help is limited as I do not have an iPad.

What this is getting to, is that I see a growing need for a forum geared to seniors.

Your thoughts...

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27" i7 iMac (10.13.6), iPhone Xs Max (12.1)

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#15581 - 05/14/11 04:56 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: Pendragon]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: Pendragon
I have an 89 year old mother-in-law who is in love with her iPad. While hardly a power user, she is connected to the world.

But when she has iPad questions, she only calls moi, and unfortunately, my help is limited as I do not have an iPad.

What this is getting to, is that I see a growing need for a forum geared to seniors.

Your thoughts...

In post #15511 in this very thread, dkmarsh said

Quote:
[...] but it leads to this point, which I haven't seen raised: historically, members of this (MFIF/FTM) community have been older, on average, than those of most other Mac sites I've visited.

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#15582 - 05/14/11 08:38 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: artie505]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
You're right with your observation about the 'older' demographic, but perhaps not specific enough, as this group (arbitrarily set here at > 60 years of age) may encompass a third or more of the entire population. Pendragon's mother-in-law belongs to an age group a generation beyond the group DK is referring to (let's equally arbitrarily say 55-70 years old).

For various reasons, this oldest group is not exactly known for embracing the digital age, and therein lies the rub with Pendragon's suggestion for a group geared to seniors: you'll have to be somewhat familiar with the internet and forums to go look for specific forums like the ones suggested. This doesn't disqualify the suggestion, but points at specific issues associated with the target group.

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#15583 - 05/14/11 11:51 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: alternaut]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Thanks for the clarification.

I didn't really think dk was referring to people as old as Harv's mother-in-law, but his observation was on target, if not on the mark, as respects the comment.

Maybe we can link with AARP?
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The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

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#15591 - 05/15/11 03:00 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: artie505]
dboh Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Don't be swayed by age group. It's about the individual. A friend's mother blogged practically up until she died at age 92. I occasionally helped her out with her Mac, and she was always interested in understanding how I was doing what I was doing.

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#15593 - 05/15/11 03:11 PM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: dboh]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: dboh
Don't be swayed by age group. It's about the individual. A friend's mother blogged practically up until she died at age 92. I occasionally helped her out with her Mac, and she was always interested in understanding how I was doing what I was doing.

Swayed? Huh?

There are exceptions to all rules, and your friend's mother sounds very much like one of them.

I mentioned AARP because I believe its magazine has got the largest circulation of any publication in America; if FTM could finagle even a mention, the exposure would be enormous.
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

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#15612 - 05/16/11 10:50 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: Pendragon]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: Pendragon
I have an 89 year old mother-in-law who is in love with her iPad. While hardly a power user, she is connected to the world.

But when she has iPad questions, she only calls moi, and unfortunately, my help is limited as I do not have an iPad.


The solution is obvious. buy an ipad.
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#15625 - 05/19/11 09:22 AM Re: FTM traffic slumping? [Re: grelber]
Hal Itosis Offline


Registered: 09/03/09
Loc: 10.6.8 (build 10K549)
Originally Posted By: grelber
It wasn't meant to be fair; it was a personal assessment.
Somehow, scanning through the musings of 500M individuals to find the pearls of wisdom that might lurk there is a tad daunting and not how I'd like to spend even a millisecond of my time.

You're not understanding how it works (at all). What appears in one's "news feed" is limited to only those people (or entities) which one has "friended" (or "Liked"). There actually is no way to go wading through a generic feed coming from every existing user simultaneously (AFAIK). One could click through on people's names and go off inspecting the walls (and/or info pages) of "friends of friends" ad nauseam... or run randon searches, i suppose -- but most savvy users have their privacy settings adjusted so that strangers only see what they're allowed to see.

Sometimes (given your attitude), i'm surprised you're even online at all. smirk



Originally Posted By: grelber
Ah yes, Facebook ... flawless friend to the feckless and fatuous ...

Sold Out by Your Favorite Facebook Apps?

Facebook may have leaked your personal information

Yeah, I'll be sure to sign up real soon. tongue

And that's mostly FUD. The only 'real' info one need supply is an email address. (most folks provide their actual names, but you can create an account with a totally fake name).

True, facebook's default privacy settings stink. So change them (to 'Only Friends' or 'Only Me'). True, the apps that people get engrossed with are both silly and sneaky. So block them.

http://sophos.com/security/best-practice/facebook/



Edited by Hal Itosis (05/19/11 09:41 AM)

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