Writing is often a lonely occupation and I’m sorry to say, social media groups are rarely a substitute for tangible interaction and even Twitter is impossible to handle once followers grow. I thought about it for a while and decided that forums for writers were worth exploring a little more.
On social media, we’re all too worried about our personal or business brand and much of what happens there is of little benefit. We’re reluctant to mention bad experiences in case of being sued or perhaps we’re afraid to ask questions in case we are trolled by those who attack others to hide their own failings and insecurities.
The Benefits of Forums
These advantages of forums include but are not limited to:
- With forums, you are yourself, without pretensions.
- If you wish, you can hide your name behind a username and newly created email. There is no identity verification involved, other than a valid email. What matters is the interaction between users.
- Unlike the global social media giants, user activity is not tracked, logged or shared elsewhere on my forums.
- Trolls and general bullshit artists are promptly banned in forums.
- Users of forums for writers get to know each other, bound by a common interest i.e. writing.
- A truly global experience is possible as users come from all over.
- We can share experiences, both positive and negative so that others can learn from them, either by avoiding certain companies and methods or by presenting something you haven’t thought of before.
- Real-time chat is possible and all users can provide contact info in their profiles (such as Skype info, for example).
- You can use it as little or as much as you like, all without reminder emails. Compare that with Facebook’s “it’s been fucking ages since … and a lot has happened.”
- No ads.
Drawbacks of Forums for Writers (and everyone else)
These include but are not limited to:
- A little closed off compared to social media, which I think is a good thing.
- Fake users are sometimes a problem, at least until they are banned.
- Excessive moderation and banning can sour the user experience.
Despite any possible drawbacks. Forums for writers (and anyone else interested) are available. You MUST register by email. A verification email is sent to eliminate spam bots and then you’re in. Guest access is not allowed.
I used MyBB, an open source self-hosted solution for my forums. You are very welcome to join up. Let’s solve some problems. New forums for writers and other topics are added according to user interaction and requirements. If interaction doesn’t happen, the forum subdomain will remain as is, given that I won’t write for an audience of one (myself).