Is Facebook killing forums? That was an essay topic on the Admin Zone forums. My opinion is that forums have survived the onslaught of all sorts of “threats” over the years, which turned out to be minor blips on the radar. As the Facebooks over the years have come and gone, forums have survived. We’ve survived instant messaging, Twitter, MySpace and other so far. Forums are more focused, and group members are more single-minded in the topic at hand. Facebook is more generalized, simpler and more user-friendly in many aspects; we’re comparing apples and oranges.
Forum software itself has grown rather stagnant, however. phpBB3 was a long-overdue update to phpBB2 that caused many forum owners such as myself to look elsewhere since the software sat undeveloped for about five years. SMF’s latest version looked promising but there, the development staff has splintered and development has ceased, despite what they are claiming publicly. vBulletin had a major update with the release of 4.0, but many forum administrators (present company included) found it to be a bit nicer looking, but also a bit slower and rather devoid of any really new thinking in the area of forum software. How did such a major and influential product lose its way?