Are Forums "Social Media" Sites?

May 2, 2008 • 10:02 am | comments (16) by twitter | Filed Under Social Search Engines & Optimization

Before reading on, would you consider forums "social media?" This is the question that is posed on a High Rankings Forum post.

Many people find that the answer varies. Forums, after all, are inherently social -- they bring people together on common ground. But others disagree. Forums are not "social media" because they don't like the negative connotations of social media (such as being "poked" like on Facebook). In other words, the person finds social media as meaningless but forums are meaningful. Your mileage may vary.

Forums really do predate social media. If I'd give my insights, I think forums are not "social media" per se (the way we social media folks see it), but they certainly were a stepping stone and precursor to "real social media." However, of course, there's the other side of the coin: social media is, after all, the technology that people use to share their opinions and insights, and forums definitely provide that.

Yay or nay? Forum discussion continues at High Rankings Forum.

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05/02/2008 07:47 pm

Frankly, who cares? If they are, then what; if they aren't then what?

Jill Whalen

05/04/2008 02:27 pm

<blockquote><i>I think forums are not "social media" per se (the way we social media folks see it)...</blockquote></i> Tamar, I'm curious what the difference to you is. How do you social media folks see it that forums aren't part of it?

Eric Martindale

05/05/2008 03:59 pm

The whole point of a forum is to be social with other people, I don't know why this is being questioned at all.


05/06/2008 01:16 pm

Forums are social, yes, but "social media" is somewhat of a new phenomenon. I just think that that while forums still have some social aspect to it, it doesn't fit the whole "social media" phenomenon -- not totally, that is. I mean, let's think about it. BBSes are a precursor to today's forum. Do you consider them "social media?" Social, yes, but "social media?" I don't know, it's kind of abstract a concept to me. ;)


06/05/2010 11:39 am

forums are indeed social networking sites as it involves community. _____________________


07/29/2010 07:06 pm

Of course, forums are another way to connect to people, so if it involves community and connecting, then it's Social!

Kenneth Forrest

09/04/2010 11:13 am

Everyone of us assumes that Forum posting is just like a social media. I think that it is accepted but one thing is clear, forum posting is different from social media because there are many restrictions that forums possess. But it is also the same as social media, because we have to deal with a community of people.


10/04/2010 10:09 pm

There is probably a correlation between how much Internet experience someone has and whether or not they consider forums "social media". Self-proclaimed social media gurus who have 50,000 twitter followers and are following 85,000 people will probably laugh and say "forums are not social media". People who have used everything from IRC in the 90s, to forums, to Facebook for their marketing efforts will call all of the above social media. Just because IRC, forums, and guestsbooks pre-date the word "social media" doesn't mean it isn't social media. Also, there isn't a list of features that must be offered for a product to be considered social media.

Andy M.

10/28/2010 09:47 pm

Forums focus on discussion and conversation, which is why you don't always need a username or identity to participate (*chan, for example, is nothing but Anonymous). Engagement on these sites comes from the content that is posted. Social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.) focus on individuals and their activities. Engagement is based on who you follow and the activities they participate in. You build the experience yourself. It's more active than passive. Another way to look at it: Forums are like conference panels. People are talking, you can take notes. You can participate passively (say nothing), or you can get involved (raise your hand and ask questions). Social networks are like the conference after-party. You can stand around by yourself and get no value out of it, or you can mingle and talk to others. Both have value and both are social, but in different ways.

Dallas SEO

02/01/2011 08:51 pm

Forums are forms if Social Media and always has been before the term "Social Media" was ever coined.

Fresh Social Media Resources

08/17/2011 07:54 am

Yes, Forums are also the part of Social Media. Everyone could be there to engage with the community


03/22/2012 12:32 pm

yes forums is the part of SMO


05/11/2012 09:20 pm

You think of Facebook when you think of social media, just as you think of Google when the topic is search engines. This is because they are the most popular. Technically social media is any digital medium which allows users to interact. Interaction with dialogue through the communication of individuals, organizations and businesses.

06/25/2013 06:03 pm

We've been using quite a few forums over the years and we've got some decent refers off them. It just seems that lately many forums sites seem to be dying and don't attract many new members or topics. I suspect a lot is down to the moderators and owners of the forums themselves.


03/02/2014 09:28 pm

I've a question if anyone can help me at all.? What is the best way to stop customers from saying negative things about your business in social networks? Is there a way you can protect yourself or are you just exposed to everyone? Say for example the tax fiasco of Starbuck coffee, you had customers complaining about them and saying bad things about them. If you were in Starbucks' shoes, how would you go about to control or stop what was being said about you. Thanks all.

David John

03/14/2014 11:10 am

You can't stop people saying bad things about you in social media, Tim, and that is exactly the point. It's in human nature always to be dissatisfied and complaining. When a company creates a social account it should be aware of the consequences. Recently, anonymous social networks has launched and I was pretty sure that in there is just hateful speech. I was really surprised, however, when I registered in Duvamis a few days ago and found out that people are just sharing their own experiences and attitudes, not criticizing anyone. Maybe, because, everyone is anonymous, so you don't know who to criticize. As, on the subject of this discussion, I believe, social media is very advanced forum. There are advanced technologies involved and is more interactive.

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