Forums used to be a bastion of online social communities. Not the first kind of community. You had newsgroups and others before Forums, in the form we see them now, became big. But for several years now, there have been lots of big forums, huge, diverse communities or people discussing various things in various manners. They've been one of the main forms of community on the web, especially since chat rooms began to decline in popularity.
Now that we have this new raft of social community, from the Diggs/Reddits/Techmemes, to the Facebook/Myspaces/Bebos, are forums as we know them, under threat?
So many people now have blogs, especially within the broad web development community, that a lot of people write their musings there, or initiate discussions there. Lots of people are using the Digg/Reddit like sites for finding new links and discussing them, and I think more and more people are starting to use places like Facebook for relatively basic, easily setup communities.
With all this going on, what role does a forum, like this one for instance, have in the evolving social setup?
Do forums need to adapt to the new ways people are connecting and differentiate themselves? Do they needs to pick up on some of the things that other 'web 2.0' social sites are doing? In 3/4 years, are forums likely to have as big a following as they do now? Or will it just be the ones that keep up with the changing ideas of social media and the niche boutiques that keep, or expand, their following?
If you were setting up a new forum now, would the Diggs and Facebook of the world affect how you did it?