Here's a question for the new year....

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-26-1999
Here's a question for the new year....
10
Tue, 01-07-2014 - 11:12pm

As former CL, and with the understanding that we haven't had a CL for quite awhile now, I can't help but notice the lack of activity on this board.  Elc and I started the board well over 10 years ago and it was hopping with people seeking support and advice, as well as sharing news about their CSs.  So here is my question (for those active and lurking!) - what do you think is the reason for why people aren't posting much anymore?

I have my thoughts.  Of course, without a leader there isn't anyone to really stimulate conversation.  But I also think that facebook has a lot to do with it.  When I joined iVillage in the late 90's, message boards had just gotten popular.  My sister was particpating in dog communities, I joined iVillage for the parent communities, I know there were other message boards like College Confidential (does that still exist??).  My sister's dog boards pretty much dissolved and most of the members migrated to facebook.  I don't know how many of our parents here are active on facebook but I know I am.  There are "groups" for all kinds of things now and I'm wondering if some of that has taken the place of message boards.

The other thing I wonder that may have impacted the popularity of these boards has to do with the changes to the format in the past couple of years.  It seems the boards were much more user friendly in the past and people just gave up when they had trouble signing in and following posts.

Surely parents of college students still have issues and appreciate getting support and feedback from others with similar experiences, don't you think?  So where are they getting their support?  Or are newer POCS's simply not aware of message boards and unable to find us?  What are your thoughts?

                        Calmama54, from the beautiful


Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Wed, 01-08-2014 - 9:31am

I think it's the whole format thing.  I do have a FB account but spend less than 10 minutes a year on there so it's definitely not the source for me!  I'd much rather still be here.  But every time I go in I have to log in to the iVillage page and THEN I go to the forums I like because otherwise I can't see new vs. old posts and it won't retain my login even if I ask.  I'm sure there'd be more here if it was easier to use and find and navigate like it used to be (ParentsPlace, etc. when at least I was just learning how to use the internet!)..

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 01-08-2014 - 11:55am

I don't think it has to do with Facebook.  I'm on FB to keep in touch w/ my friends and I wouldn't post personal stuff there like I do on an anonymous forum.  If I wanted to talk to someone I knew IRL about a problem, I would do it on the phone or in person.  I noticed that after the format change, the boards everywhere had a huge decrease in activitiy (I also look on the relationship boards) so I really think that killed off most of the IV chat.

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Wed, 01-08-2014 - 1:20pm
I agree that I think its mainly the format, and its not nearly as user friendly as it used to be. I think FB did take away some of the users, I have 2 groups on FB that are the former members of boards from IV that migrated after the format changes 1, because they were tight knit groups that knew each other well and were fine not being as anonymous as they boards were when we all first came onto them, and 2, because it was easier to have conversations on FB then on the boards especially without the chat feature. I do like the anonymity on IV at times, I can comment on things I wouldn't necessarily comment on it was a more open forum. But there are plenty of days I feel like I am talking to myself now, or I don't want to come off as a conversation hog or overly braggy about my kids because well, there isn't anyone else talking...
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Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Wed, 01-08-2014 - 9:28pm

I think its due to the changes that they made back in Oct 2012. This board, and many others, were very busy prior to that. There were so many problems with logging in, viewing threads on mobile devices, etc that I think a lot of people gave up. Even if they checked back after a few weeks or months the issues were not resolved, which would make many people write off the site permanently.  I still have a lot of problems (and I have learned tricks and work-arounds) so I can't help but think that if somebody new or returning encountered the problems they would give up in frustration.

Supposedly FB was taking away some of the users, but IMO its a completely different experience. I belong to one "by invitation only" group there that was started by someone that I met on iV many years ago. Its not a venting or even a parenting type of group so I don't feel a need for anonymity. 

I suspect that some members have moved over to CafeMom, and there may be other similar forums (I haven't looked because I'm not in that phase anymore!); and others decided that they can just deal with their problems without the support of near-strangers. And colleges have more resources for parents now than they did when we started this board. My ds' alma mater now has a FB page for parents of undergrads, with a mod who comments and asks questions to get the parents talking. Beyond that, I don't know where POCS go for advice and support. 

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Wed, 01-08-2014 - 10:06pm

I do agree that many users have gone to Cafemom, and other sites that are not as "nanny-ish", and FB has claimed it's share as well.  And I think the exodus started in the 2012 debacle, because, altho the boards were dying before that, people just didn't bother to find out what else was out there.  With no IV, for SUCH a prolonged time, people got the opportunity to look.  And many never came back. 

But one of the biggest things, for me, is how poorly the boards perform on mobile devices.  On my desktop, I have trouble signing in, or attaching data, about 50% of the time.  On my Kindlefire, it's about 75%.  On my Samsung, faggedabouit.  Younger people have nothing BUT mobile devices.  Very few people in general,  are still shackled to a desktop.  So if you are on break, sitting on the commuter train, or at the dr's office, and can't sign in to reply, or it refuses to acknowlegde that your upload exists, or it wipes out what you've just typed, you will NOT persist.  And the next time you have a break, you will NOT repeat that frustrating experience.  On top of that, people today have a short attention span.  Surf around the boards a couple time, nothing interesting, gone.  Most of the people who still come, are those with an emotional attachment.  And we are older, and fewer, every day. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-26-1999
Wed, 01-08-2014 - 10:46pm

Interesting responses.  First of all, for whatever strange reason, I don't currently have problems signing in, either on my desk top or on my iPad.  I can't get rid of my "half-siggy", which is annoying but doesn't really have to do with posting.  As far as the other site, cafemom - well, I never heard of it.   I googled "message boards for parents" and its ad was the first one that came up.  So yes, maybe those members that had trouble with the new format went looking for a new place and found a new community.  On the other hand, I googled "message boards for parent of college students" and the first  one listed was ours. 

I don't use facebook for support like I used iVillage back when I needed it, but I suppose if there was a close community already established, they could have bailed and started their own closed group on facebook.  Or - maybe it's just that times have changed.  Like sabr said, people, especially those under 40, use their mobile devices more than anything else.  And I personally don't do well with typing long messages on my iPad or iPhone.  I will generally keep my typing - or texting - to short  messages.  If I have a lot more to say I will either call or write an email on my desk top.

I think it's kind of a shame, but change happens.  I'm just grateful these boards were here when I needed them most.  The ladies here saved me a lot of therapy bills!

                        Calmama54, from the beautiful


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2000
Thu, 01-09-2014 - 12:42pm

I'm in the same boat you are, Cal. Although I didn't found the PoTeens board I was cl there from the time my boys were probably 11 and 14 until my youngest turned 20. That was almost 4 years ago and they haven't had a cl since. I still go there every day (as I do here even though I no longer have a CS). I think as sabr said the boards were dying even before the 2012 fiasco but that kind of drove the final nail in the coffin. I do think other social media played a part in the initial loss of board activity. I LOVE Facebook and have reconnected with so many people from my past, both IRL and some of the 'old' Ivillage people. But it has a different 'feel' and as much as I love it - I really loved these boards and the friends I made here. Of course there were the occasional 'trolls'. Anyone remember anonyjohn (his username was something like that). He absolutely drove me nuts! I've not gone to the other boards here at Ivillage - the playgroups and such - have all of them pretty much died?

Pam
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-23-2003
Fri, 01-10-2014 - 10:49pm
I do think FB has some part in the drop off. It's more accessible than this site, at least for me. Also I have had a problem logging in for weeks at a time, as have others. I used to visit CM pretty regularly, but sometimes it didn't take much to set a thread off on a hostile track. Even there, some of the boards, were slow like this one too. I really don't have an answer. I'm disappointed that there isn't more activity here. I have enjoyed learning, commiserating and celebrating our CKs experiences, as well as our journeys with them. I do hope it picks up.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2004
Fri, 01-10-2014 - 11:38pm
For me, the difficulty logging in is still an issue. It usually takes me 2 or 3 times trying. For the life of me, I can't figure out how to stay logged in. I always enjoy when someone posts a roll call or a general question for all to answer. I think maybe parents who are new to the college scene might be relying on Facebook groups set up by their student's schools.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-26-1999
Sat, 01-11-2014 - 3:16pm

Well, camom - we now have 10 posts, LOL!

It seems to me the common thread here is the difficulties signing in.  Plus, I think missing a CL has a lot to do with it.  I've also noticed that there seems to be less involvement as well at the higher levels, i.e. less CM input and involvement.  I don't know if they have even tried to find a new leader for this board, or any of the others that don't have one. 

The other thing that seems to contribute is the lack of publicity.  I found iVillage many years ago after hearing it advertised on TV.  I think that may be how a lot of people found the boards.  I just don't think the powers above really put the effort into it that they did in the past.  If there is no publicity how will people even know we're here?  I think the only way we can keep the board hopping...or limping!...is for all of us to post thoughtful questions once in awhile.  I don't have CSs anymore but I still feel connected to the board and the people - hopefully those who have been around awhile feel the same way.

                        Calmama54, from the beautiful