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Thread: Why Such Low Forum Membership and Participation?

  1. #1

    Why Such Low Forum Membership and Participation?

    I think I read that there are over 60,000 Masters swimmers in the US. At the same time, however, it seems
    very few, percentage wise, are members of, or participate, in this forum. I can't help but wonder why this is the case.

    Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: Why Such Low Forum Membership and Participation?

    I'm really not sure. I think the new website format frustrated many of "the old guard" but even before that participation was declining.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

  3. #3
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    Re: Why Such Low Forum Membership and Participation?

    Although the Forums can be useful in many ways, I think that many would prefer doing swimming rather than talking about it.

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    Very Active Member JPEnge's Avatar
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    Re: Why Such Low Forum Membership and Participation?

    A few reasons:
    1) As Allen mentioned, the website. When the rolled the new one out, it took awhile for them to connect the forums back up correctly. There may be people that thought the forums went away, or maybe some that are still boycotting the website because of it.

    2) Given the age ranges of Masters swimmers, there are probably quite a few in the upper half of those that aren't quite as "tech savvy."

    3) Forums in general are kind of going away due to the rise of social media. More people are opting to do most of the internet socialization in one place on Facebook or what have you than have multiple different accounts for forums on each hobby. I think this is something that USMS has not done a good job in tapping into. I also participate in CrossFit - their forums used to be buzzing until 3 or 4 years ago when they started transitioning everything to their Facebook feeds. Now those forums are even more dead than USMS, and I can pretty much guarantee you there are more people active in CrossFit than in Masters swimming (I finished 25,692 in the world for men in the CF Open this past year - that was top 10% of men and I would guess at least half of CrossFitters don't even sign up for the Open, so yeah).
    400 IMer/200 backstroker in another life, now sprinter/breaststroker... Yeah, I don't know how that happened either!

  5. #5

    Re: Why Such Low Forum Membership and Participation?

    Great information guys. Thanks. I noticed today that USMS does have a FB page. I'll stop by there on occasion.

    For me, the opportunity to talk about swimming seems pretty limited. There's the pool-side chat before and after workouts but that's kind of the extent of it. I do need to participate in events so that might open things up a bit.
    Last edited by Jacques_Mayol; June 9th, 2018 at 06:24 PM.

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    Very Active Member __steve__'s Avatar
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    Re: Why Such Low Forum Membership and Participation?

    I like how the forum was about 7 years ago. It basically was a chronological record of related knowledge, information, and history. Searching was relatively effective and precise. Correct, about how social MEdia has condensed active membership down to die-hards.

    But still useful, where else can someone basically learn to swim competitively just from posting a video?

  7. #7
    aka Elaine-iaK & Aqua Dog ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: Why Such Low Forum Membership and Participation?

    Quote Originally Posted by __steve__ View Post
    I like how the forum was about 7 years ago.
    It was also a lot more fun back then! I miss Forumites like That Guy, Jaadams1, and Swim Stud who always made me laugh; and, others like pmccoy and swimosaur who always had a lot of great information and insight to contribute.
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    Very Active Member Sumorunner's Avatar
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    Re: Why Such Low Forum Membership and Participation?

    As JPEnge noted, the bulletinboard format has become passe in favor of social media visual styles. I'm truly an internet originalist. As a computer scientist at GE Research before the internet even existed, and on line from the very beginning, I see steep declines in all sites and topics still using vBulletin. I don't know the solution though. I retired too many years ago to know current trends.

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    Re: Why Such Low Forum Membership and Participation?

    Quote Originally Posted by ElaineK View Post
    It was also a lot more fun back then! I miss Forumites like That Guy, Jaadams1, and ...
    Hear, hear!

  10. #10
    Very Active Member JPEnge's Avatar
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    Re: Why Such Low Forum Membership and Participation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sumorunner View Post
    As JPEnge noted, the bulletinboard format has become passe in favor of social media visual styles. I'm truly an internet originalist. As a computer scientist at GE Research before the internet even existed, and on line from the very beginning, I see steep declines in all sites and topics still using vBulletin. I don't know the solution though. I retired too many years ago to know current trends.
    I prefer forums for hobbies. Social media pages are just so... spastic. Things show up and get buried so quickly and half of everything devolves into people taking offense at each other.
    400 IMer/200 backstroker in another life, now sprinter/breaststroker... Yeah, I don't know how that happened either!

  11. #11
    Very Active Member gdanner's Avatar
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    Re: Why Such Low Forum Membership and Participation?

    Just a sign of the times and shift in tech. In the early 2000's, I was a member of a dozen or more forums that were very lively. Almost all of them are shut down or out of use today. I've seen a thread like this in all of them, except it was ten or more years ago!
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  12. #12
    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: Why Such Low Forum Membership and Participation?

    Quote Originally Posted by JPEnge View Post
    I prefer forums for hobbies. Social media pages are just so... spastic. Things show up and get buried so quickly and half of everything devolves into people taking offense at each other.
    I agree. discussion forums are still the best platforms for actual discussion and it's too bad their popularity seems to be fading. I'm a member of a few that are still going strong, but it's pretty clear the demographic frequenting them is getting older. Discussion forums aren't seeming to attract a lot of new, younger members.

  13. #13
    aka Elaine-iaK & Aqua Dog ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: Why Such Low Forum Membership and Participation?

    Quote Originally Posted by knelson View Post
    I agree. discussion forums are still the best platforms for actual discussion and it's too bad their popularity seems to be fading. I'm a member of a few that are still going strong, but it's pretty clear the demographic frequenting them is getting older. Discussion forums aren't seeming to attract a lot of new, younger members.
    Well, I guess we'll all grow old together here as Forumites!
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    Re: Why Such Low Forum Membership and Participation?

    Quote Originally Posted by knelson View Post
    I agree. discussion forums are still the best platforms for actual discussion and it's too bad their popularity seems to be fading. I'm a member of a few that are still going strong, but it's pretty clear the demographic frequenting them is getting older. Discussion forums aren't seeming to attract a lot of new, younger members.
    The forum archive is such a treasure trove of information about swimming, and searchable. No way social media pages can be serve as that kind of resource.

  15. #15
    Very Active Member kristilynn's Avatar
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    Re: Why Such Low Forum Membership and Participation?

    Has anyone else noticed that the link to USMS member blogs hasn't worked since the "new" site was launched? I keep checking back to see if it has been linked, but no luck. I can still access other's blogs if I go into mine first, but the direct link is a no go.

  16. #16
    USMS Member since 2003 gull's Avatar
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    Re: Why Such Low Forum Membership and Participation?

    I trace the beginning of the decline to the day when the photo of Speedo Man was banned by the moderators.

  17. #17

    Re: Why Such Low Forum Membership and Participation?

    That's pretty funny. I haven't seen it but it must have been kind of "disturbing"

  18. #18
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    Re: Why Such Low Forum Membership and Participation?

    Oh it's nice to be back in here!!! The reason some of us quit coming in here is that we got banned (usually more than once) for various reasons, some deserved and some questionable. Really nice to see a lot of the same names in here.

  19. #19
    Very Active Member aztimm's Avatar
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    Re: Why Such Low Forum Membership and Participation?

    As noted, these forums were quite active back 10-15 years ago. There were days when we'd have 15+ people actively posting blog entries, almost daily.

    The recent website design was definitely a major blow to the forums. As noted, it was tough even finding the forums or blogs.

    Over the past few years, I've become a member of several swimming groups on Facebook, and all of those are quite active. Its funny how people still keep track of their YTD mileage; after the redesign a few people were wondering when it would finally update. Perhaps USMS needs to start a few Facebook groups?
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  20. #20
    Very Active Member JPEnge's Avatar
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    Re: Why Such Low Forum Membership and Participation?

    Quote Originally Posted by aztimm View Post
    Perhaps USMS needs to start a few Facebook groups?
    That would be a decent idea, I think. FB's search algorithm is woefully inadequate for me to find good Masters swimming FB groups otherwise.
    400 IMer/200 backstroker in another life, now sprinter/breaststroker... Yeah, I don't know how that happened either!

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