I know what you mean, Chewy. If this forum seems less active, it's not your imagination. Here's a chart showing the number of yearly posts here (from 2005-2022), and it paints a clear picture:
I know my duties with Zombie Pumpkins have grown over the years, so I have a bit less time to casually chat here. Should I be nurturing discussion more? Even if I post more, I am just one person, and it takes a community to keep the party going.
So what's the reason for the drop-off in forum usage? I could be any (or all of these reasons):
- The members who were initially most active here have moved on to new phrases of life
(new careers, new marriages, new children, new homes, new hobbies).
- Newer and younger site users have less interest in the forum format.
- Social media holds everyone's focus and attention these days
(not as an exact replacement for this experience, but as a preferred experience).
- People spend less time commenting/posting online socially
(it's more about scrolling through feeds and just hitting "like" on posts).
- People spend more time on their mobile devices, and prefer social apps
(which means they are also less likely to type long posts).
Personally, I'm torn on the future of this forum, because it's become so much work for me to moderate, due to a plague of spam. You don't see the spam posts, because I have all posts from new members set to require approval first. Which means I have to spend time deleting dozens of spam posts daily.
And believe me, I've tried so many anti-spam measures, but they always break through eventually. This is just an inherit risk of a website system that allows outsiders to post. Spam and junk will always come.
So let me run something by you (any real people who may be here reading this).
Do any of you use Discord, or would you be willing to give it a try?
If you're not familiar, Discord allows for communities with a similar interest to create a "server" where they can chat. Similar in function to this forum, but a bit more like chat rooms. Conversation would likely be a bit more casual, and real-time.
Each server can be broken up into "channels" to cover different topics. Similar to this forum, we could have a chat channel for costumes, for pumpkin photos, or movie recommendations, for pattern requests, and so on.
Discord runs on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, iPadOS, Linux, and in web browsers. Because you can run it as an app on your phone, it's a lot easier to quickly type a message, or upload photos of what you've been working on.
With the movement to mobile apps and quick chats, I feel like Discord could be our spooky hangout for the future. It's casual, you can view it right on your phone, and it will be easy to share images, reaction gifs, emojis, and all that fun stuff. You can get notifications, @message specific users, and really stay active as a living community.
Here's a screenshot of what the Zombie Pumpkins Discord server would look like.
Are you in? Let me know, and I'll send you an invite.