Imagine a place where everyone is anonymous and says whatever is on their mind without worrying about the social repercussions. These places surprisingly exist, they are called forums, and they have existed since the days of “You’ve got mail”. They contain vast amounts of rich information for both users and companies to gain insight on the way people think when no one is looking.
A few years back I was questioning why forums have lost the limelight lately and I concluded that it was all the big social media giants (Facebook, Myspace, Twitter) that were stealing the show and taking people away from forums in droves! But there is a reason they still survived… Despite the old-school designs and confusing array of information, internet users still love their forums! Why? I believe it’s because it’s one of those few places in the world where you could just say whatever the @##& you wanted to without caring what other people think. Have a question that you don’t want to ask your friends? Or your parents? Or did something crazy happen that if discussed in public, would risk your job or perhaps even life? Want to know the best way to clean your new BMW M3? Forums my friends… You could do all that there and more.
So I started searching into new start ups or old ones that are Web 2.0’ing these forums. I found some such as Boardtracker, Boardreader, Twing (although I can’t find that one anymore!)… And I just stumbled upon this little gem named Tweble.com which seemed to have launched very recently. I personally like the way the direction they are going in.
People need to appreciate the value forums offer, and they need to do it fast because lately I’ve been seeing many forums begging their own community for money to sustain themselves! Internet surfers, go give forums a try!