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"social media sites are not an alternative forum for discussion"


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Not only were social media sites not an alternative forum for discussion, social media users were less willing to share their opinions in face-to-face settings.


So says a study conducted by the Pew Research Center and fielded August 7-September 16, 2013 by Princeton Research Associates International.


Over the last few years as activity on these discussion forums has decreased (quite substaintially), I often contemplated why. 


I recognize that social media takes up more of people time, including my own, but I also recgnize that social media is not a perfect subtitue for a forum like this. 


In a forum like this one has the opportunity to see everything that is written.  On social media, unless you actively look, the platform decides what you see. In a forum like this a conversation can span many months, years even.  On social media the conversations are much more fleeting.  On social media you can't share rich media.  You can't even make text bold or italicize it.  Of  course there are many deficiencies, but there are some benefits too.


Social media is very easy use and access.  But perhaps the biggest benefit is actually the reason I derive far less pleasure from social media; you can't have a vigorous, debate on social media.  Debate just does not happen, really.  Social media understands this is not what people really want to do.


People are not likely to express an opinions if they believe other will disagree; it is human nature.  The report I linked to above goes into more detail. 


Traditional forums, like this, are less desirable to most people because you are more likely to encounter someone who may know more about a subject than you do, may feel more strongly about that subject, and may strongly disagree with you.  Most people avoid these situations.  Which is why we always had more readers (lurkers) of these forums than writers who contributed to the conversation. 


Social media has exploited a person's natural desire to be agreed with and liked.  There are people, like me, however, who like to have their opinions tested and like to debate.  But I know, from my personal interactions that I fall into the minority. 


This discussion forum, and other like it, provided a platform for me to express myself the way I could not in public.  I miss the days when I could debate with other more frequently on subjects that I care about.  Sure sometimes the debate devolved in arguments and some folks would not play nice could become abusive, but that happens in the real world too.


Social media does not provide a platform to debate, that would attract far less people, and not be nearly as profitable.


So I find myself biting my tongue as I would in the real world, and the opportunities to express a more complex side of myself ideas and explore those of other is becoming rarer--despite all this technology.

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I somewhat agree with you, but the research is skewed... then again what research isn't? Social media does allow for a lot of debate and it is quite active with people posting links and responding when it is an issue they are passionate about. This is so much the case that I've often hidden people to avoid being drawn into a lengthy back and forth on Facebook with people who are simply ranting and want to be heard, but are not open to a solid debate.


I think your best point is definitely the fact that it is fleeting. This is the problem with social media. It is lightning fast and continues moving along and conversations are eventually lost within a day or two as the next new "like" or "share" is posted. This is why I really liked your suggestions a while back in regard to using Disqus where your responses can be cataloged and supported with stats and you can build an audience through responding.


I think the message board is taking a hit primarily because people don't have the ability to write nuanced or informed long responses. This goes back to your "stupid" post as well. I'm definitely realizing the benefits of actively blogging in regard to building my writing career and with the addition of Disqus and my interaction on various websites, Spreecast, youtube, etc my site is indeed developing a nice amount of traffic. My decision to begin building reviews around my Amazon Associates account is also paying for a tank of gas each month.


I guess ultimately everything runs its course, and the message board is becoming a lost treasure. I do appreciate all of your efforts though and I am making a real effort to participate. I only wish others would do something similar. That would be the difference maker. Those who are already aware help, but there have to be new converts from lurkers to writers.  


Is that a call to arms? Yep... come on lurkers share the page on your blogs and let's rebuild those web chains from the 90s.

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I went back and edited a bit of what I wrote yesterday but the spirit of my message stands.  


Chris why do you say the research report I linked to is skewed?  Here is the link to the actual report.  Good research should not be skewed, outside it is useless.  


Man I really do believe Disqus is blowing an opportunity by not promoting their software as a tool to connect websites and blogs without having to go through a social media platform and having the majority of their readers syphoned off. 


I hope I don't sound like I'm begrudging the lurkers, indeed they are as almost as important as the writers.  All internet properties need readers.  Also, readers are probably more likely to share something they have read here as any writer would, and lurkers always far out numbered readers.  


Even frequent contributors lurk on occasion.


Yes, everything does run its course, but what is left it its place should be superior.  I just think across the board, for Black folks, we are losing more than we are gaining.  


Amazon is not an alternative for a Black owned independent books store or website (even though this is where we buy most of our books)


Twitter is not a substitute news source for an Black news paper or website (even though Black folks use Twiiter at a higher rate than any demographic)


Khan Academy is not a substitute for a school (even though it is promoted as such to poor folks who are provided with failing schools)


and so on...

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I completely agree with everything you've said. In regard to research being skewed it all relates to the NSA and the fact that most people are conspiracy theorists. People tend to avoid things that they "think" can be monitored. Since this is the case they will discuss the most ignorant stuff in the world on Facebook, but very rarely approach serious topics for fear that the "man" can track them. I'm sure you know what I mean. It only stands to reason that if the discussion is an analysis of the Snowden issue, people are not going to talk about it on Facebook. Besides that, it's not sensational enough.


We should definitely be able to benefit from Black points of business, but the reality is we have to go where we think people are shopping. I can only use shoes as a point of reference. As many people that have bought from my Amazon store, I can't get them to buy directly from my site. It's like pulling teeth. People are brainwashed into believing there is safety in Amazon and Ebay as opposed to the individually owned websites. It's crazy. I can have a 300 dollar shoe on my site for 250 with free shipping and people will still buy it from Amazon. 


Hey I'm a lurker so you know you're right in that regard and that Facebook article I wrote proves it. People will share and like things and the only way we know is if we check our stats.

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No Mel, though that would be a good idea.  My thinking with disqus many of the content providers from newspapers to individual bloggers could, in theory create a virtual social network with our own websites.  Many websites already now allow visitors comment on their content using Disqus. 


I have been using it on AALBC.com for a couple for a few years.  


The software allows regular people to keep track of where they comment and if anyone replies.  The benefit is that writers are no longer bound to an individual social media network--the web itself becomes the social media network and individuals control their own space.  It is the ownership versus sharecropping model. 


So no you can use disqus to comment here, but you can use the software to comment elsewhere on the website.  

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Yes, I do - and I really like signing it with disqus for the very reasons you mentioned.  Most times I don't think to check back to the site I've commented on - but when I use my disqus account I see who responded to me.  I also had it for my blogger sites too - but for some reason it is no longer there.     I just logged into my account and I see that I did respond to an aalbc.com blog

through my disqus account.

Geez!  I’m all over the place with accounts… I have to get this under control.  I wish I had one account – one sign in!  Now, that  would be perfect! 

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  • 1 year later...

LMAO.  I can't believe these  words coming from someone whose whole modus operandi is to launch verbal attacks on anybody who doesn't take a back seat to her pontificating.  This is the person who thinks age is a liability and that old people are fair game for her tantrums.  This is someone who is seeking an audience for her lectures, not an open discussion.  Woe to anyone who dares to challenge anything she spouts, and if we are to believe what one of her recent sparring partners observed, she is an angry woman who lies.  I'll testify to how devious she is.  SMH.  

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