Blogs Vs Bulletin Boards (Forums)
Both can be used to build community, for exploration purposes “forum” refers to
BBs, newsgroups, usergroups, etc.
The characteristics that set a blog apart from other types of websites are that its
information is frequently updated, chronologically arranged, and authored by a
small number of content creators. A bulletin board is also frequently updated, but
its information is arranged not so much chronologically as topically, while its
content tends to be authored by a far greater number of people, with much less
distinction between users and administrators than one finds on a blog.
In light of these differences, the advantages of a blog over a bulletin board for
the purpose of advertising and customer relations are as follows:
• Narrow focus
o Chronological updates ensure that newest article is seen first, whereas
bulletin boards show content from past and present on the same page
• Information Aging
o With linear archiving, oldest content is farthest away from user, while
bulletin-board users can bring old content to the fore merely by
• Content Control
o The limited number of authors eases content filtering and message
shaping, whereas the more democratic nature of a bulletin board
means that users can introduce poorly wrought or controversial
• Ease of use
o Blogs offer a simple interface with little choice besides reading, while
bulletin boards offer many more options – responding, quoting, linking
– that can dilute the message
• Technical Simplicity
o The back end of a blog is easy to install locally or to administer
remotely as a hosted solution, requiring a lower level o computer skills
than a bulletin board
On the other hand, a bulletin board is superior in the following respects:
Advantage: Bulletin Board
• User Involvement
o The interactive nature of a bulletin board means that users can have
their own say, easing two-way interaction and providing an abundant
source of free content
• Dynamic Categoriazation
o In contrast to a blog, which tends to organize information in strict
chronology, a bulletin board can sort articles hierarchically and
topically, so that old but useful material remains persistent and easily
• Market Studies
o A blog is a mouthpiece for the host, but a bulletin board with an active
user base affords an opportunity to observe users giving it a
barometer or laboratory for market research
• Hands-off administration
o In contrast to a blog, which requires constant servicing by a qualified
team of authors, an active bulletin board can eventually assume a life
of its own as its most prolific users become the de fact content
creators, leaving mainly back-end technical service as the host’s
The biggest concerns about phpBB lie in the fact that it has, in the past, been
susceptible to worms. The Santy worm, which used the programs vulnerabilities to
overwrite PHP and HTML pages, was able to deface a large number of web sites
accessed through phpBB.
Questions would include security, ability to support the program as none of the IT
Division can, and sustainability for upgrading and providing ongoing support to the
forum long past the length of SPARK funding.
How Blogs and Forums are Different
• Open Publishing vs Structured Publishing Blogs usually do not require users to
register to read or comment. Some forums may be restricted to write, or
even read. Blogs are a pure publishing vehicle, whereas forums are often
geared around knowledge management or networking. Of course there are
varying degrees of forum control, from completely open, to invite only. 99%
of the time there are guidelines, moderators and rules in forums, where a
blog may often have none
• Forums:Structured Conversation Typically there are social constructs with
forums, content may be limited and moderated by a specific subject group
(often, blogs=decentralized content, forums are centralized content) Forums
often have moderators and referees, whereas blogs do not.
• Forums: Knowledge Management, Collaboration, Discussion, Networking
Forums are more geared towards queries: asking, harvesting, and managing
knowledge. In my experience with forums, many topics may be a stated
opinion, or posed questions requesting response and answers. Blogs may not
always be question or collaborative in nature. Generally speaking, the content
purpose of many blog posts is to inform or persuade rather than ask or seek
• Blogs:Hello World! Blogs are a great way to initiate a conversation into a
target audience, espicially if that audience does not consider you a trusted
source. It's more likely than not, that members of a forum are already part
of a circle of knowledge or trust. Blogs may be the first footstep to
entering that trusted network.
• Blogsare Persuasive and stand out in the noise Blog publishing is limited to a
small group that may have a specific goal or intent for its intended audience.
The author can more easily guide the blog conversation towards a common
strategy and goal. Forums, although usually topic based may involve many
opinions and thoughts versus a single opinion.
• Blogs:Pings and Trackbacks Most blogs automatically ping google/yahoo and
other aggregators to notify sites of updates and editions, some forums may
not have this feature, (however it's rapidly coming around). The key
difference is that blogs currently seek to be aggregated (found), and forums
may or may not be seeking to be aggregated
My Design, My control Bloggers can control their experience,
templates, look and feel, topics, and moderation to provide a more
personalized experience vs forums where design is for the managing
member(s). Blog authors can control the subject, categories, and content of
the blog, this holistic control is not possible in a forum.
Are Blogs a better way to create a community than Forums?
• Eachhas unique features to build community, (one not better than the other)
consider using both in tandem, ultimately it depends on your purpose and
• In general, blogs are great at connecting and bridging to a NEW community.
• Ingeneral, forums are great at harnessing and growing an EXISTING
• Blogs have strength to reach out, build or associate with a community due to
it's ping and trackback features, and publication/persuasive style of writing.
• Forums have strength in harnessing an existing a community.
• Blogsvs Forums may be more effective in different stages of a customer
• Each tool has a specific strength, with varying benefits depending on your
• Consider using blogs to capture community and engage community: Evangelism
and the "Official Stance" of any particular subject. Consider using Blogs as a
guide, a recognized message, or even an "official" point of view.
• Useforums to build and grow communities: Knowledge Management and
• Unlessyou have a specific reason, why use one? There are many tools out
there that can be used in combination, a forum and a blog together can be
symbiotic. Keep in mind there are many other web tools to build community,
such as wikis, tagging, and other tools.