The Forum and Facebook

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DBCohen
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The Forum and Facebook

Post by DBCohen » Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:12 am

Lately it seems that the Forum is facing competition of sorts from Facebook. I don’t have any clear statistics to show that the Forum is suffering from this competition, but there is no doubt that many Forum members are highly active on Facebook, and it seems almost inevitable that some of the energy that used to be invested in the Forum is being siphoned by the rapidly growing “social network”. Further, while many people are active on both, my feeling is that for a few others Facebook has become an alternative, and you no longer see them on the Forum.

I joined Facebook almost reluctantly, and until last month haven’t been very active there. Recently I posted some photos and links, especially following the disaster in Japan, and enjoyed the responses. Still, I don’t find it a very satisfying means of expression. It is certainly not the place for serious discussions of the kind we used to have on the Forum, and recently seem to be lacking. Here I may also blame myself, because having been busy or distracted recently, I failed to contribute to some threads or develop new ones that I had in mind. But my fear is that many people will gradually lose interest in such discussions.

I am also not clear yet about all the correct manners to adopt on Facebook. When someone asks for your “friendship”, it seems impolite to refuse. On the one hand, you don’t really lose anything by adding another “friend” to your list, but on the other hand, what are you gaining by it? Why should I be bothered to review daily input from total strangers? I’m telling myself that when I joined the Forum I didn’t know anybody here either, but since then have made some truly good friends thanks to my participation in it; perhaps the same could happen on Facebook? So I usually say “yes” to Cohenites who I don’t know, and who must have found me through my contacts with other Cohenites (although I must admit, at the risk of sounding intolerant, that I don’t accept “friendship” from people who put LC’s photo as their own Profile picture, a practice I find irritating). So now I watch daily the stream of news coming from several dozen of my friends, or “friends”, but I don’t feel I gain much by it. Yes, it can be fun, but occasionally it can also be a nuisance, on top of the constant dilemma: add more “friends” or limit their number, accept or ignore, comment or forget? So many difficult questions have been added to my daily burden; do I really need all that?

Facebook is here to stay, and will no doubt keep growing until it engulfs most of the glob in its ever-spreading tentacles. We can’t beat them, so we join them, happily or not. Facebook is a “feel-good” medium; everybody smiles there, everybody loads fun photos and links to fine music, everybody supports and “like” each other (although I did hear stories about it being used to ostracize people as well). To express real concerns, to get support for real needs, you need something else, like the Forum; I guess my fear is that at some point no one will be listening anymore; they’ll all be on Facebook.
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Cheshire gal
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Re: The Forum and Facebook

Post by Cheshire gal » Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:38 am

Not me DB I will always stay with the Forum.
'...and here's a man still working for your little smile' -Leonard Cohen
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LisaLCFan
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Re: The Forum and Facebook

Post by LisaLCFan » Tue Apr 19, 2011 7:41 am

Hi DB,

I am also aware of this "competition" of which you speak. When it was first suggested to me by a forum member (at least a year ago) that I go to Facebook for news and discussion about LC (rather than to the LC Forum) I was rather dismayed, since I am very fond of this Forum. Subsequently, numerous forum members have suggested that I join Facebook, and I frequently come across threads mentioning that a dicsussion of said topic is already on-going on Facebook, so it does seem to be a reality. However, I like it here, I have no interest in joining Facebook, and I hope there will be others like us, to keep this forum going, so that when we want news, information, and general discussion about Leonard Cohen and his work, this is where we can find it.

Cheers,
Lisa
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bridger15
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Re: The Forum and Facebook

Post by bridger15 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:00 am

Doron, thank you for starting this thread. Your observation is spot on and so eloquently presented.

I only have time now to comment briefly, and will respond at length later on.

My first commitment for all things "Cohen" is to this wonderful Leonard Cohen Forum.

I will continue to participate in this Forum to the fullest.

---Arlene
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Paula
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Re: The Forum and Facebook

Post by Paula » Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:20 pm

Doron I agree with you totally. I am spending less time on the body of the forum I tend to just go to a couple of well worn threads. It is not because of any lack of interest as such on my part I think when the deluge of people joined the forum when Leonard started touring it changed the equilibrium and a lot of the older members either backed off totally, because of the sheer volume of new posts, or created a couple of threads that they could call their own.

Facebook to me is a useful tool it doesn't replace the warmth and friendship on this forum. The only advantage FB has over this forum is it is a more intense way of knowing a person than the forum so friendships which have been struck on the forum can be honed on FB.

It would be nice if we could get the forum back to the community we had before Leonard toured and perhaps we all need to work on it and rebuild our little community. But in my mind it is not the advent of Facebook it was the suddenly rush of people who joined the forum a couple of years ago so us oldies just need to siddle back to our forum home.
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lizzytysh
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Re: The Forum and Facebook

Post by lizzytysh » Tue Apr 19, 2011 2:09 pm

I agree with you, as well, Doron... and I'll respond with more later. Unfortunately, right now, I've gotta run over to FB :shock: :roll: ;-) ... sorry, couldn't resist; seriously, what I've GOT to do is run and get ready for work and get there on time! Will return later. Interestingly enough, I too heard about FB being used to ostracize and recruiting others to ostracize people ;-) as well... childish, pitiful acts by would-be adults... so, there's playground stuff on FB, too :? ... pointing fingers and whispering from behind locked doors.

Fortunately, there's also some depth there, too... but it seems to take awhile to reach that point. Anyway, more later... WORK, NOT Facebook, calls loudly.

Meanwhile, I appreciate your sentiments.


~ Lizzy
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LisaLCFan
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Re: The Forum and Facebook

Post by LisaLCFan » Tue Apr 19, 2011 7:37 pm

Paula wrote:It would be nice if we could get the forum back to the community we had before Leonard toured and perhaps we all need to work on it and rebuild our little community. But in my mind it is not the advent of Facebook it was the suddenly rush of people who joined the forum a couple of years ago so us oldies just need to siddle back to our forum home.
:cry: I joined only two years ago...
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brightnow
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Re: The Forum and Facebook

Post by brightnow » Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:57 pm

LisaLCFan wrote:
Paula wrote:It would be nice if we could get the forum back to the community we had before Leonard toured and perhaps we all need to work on it and rebuild our little community. But in my mind it is not the advent of Facebook it was the suddenly rush of people who joined the forum a couple of years ago so us oldies just need to siddle back to our forum home.
:cry: I joined only two years ago...
Paula, I've been a fan for 24 years and only joined the forum two years ago. It saddens me to know that you have an issue with that.

But beyond individuals' feeling you might have hurt, your rejection of us "forum newbies", while understandable, is very dangerous to the forum and to the fan community in general. Simply put, a community has only two options: grow or die out. No matter how dedicated, past members will continue to be lost at a steady pace. Some jut lose interest, some become preoccupied with marriage, divorce, loss of a loved one or other major life events, sadly some actually die. The only way for a community to sustain itself is for it to grow, and the only way to grow is to welcome new members.

Over the past two years I've met so many wonderful, welcoming people here, yet the sour sentiment of "we were here first" remains. This is something that will have to be resolved, one way or another, if we are to survive as a community.

Avi
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brightnow
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Re: The Forum and Facebook

Post by brightnow » Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:32 pm

Doron,

I hear the fears that you voice and that others echo, but I believe they are just that -- fears.

Facebook is not some sea monster reaching out with evil tentacles to choke all that you hold dear. It is just a platform for people to use as they see fit. From a Discussion Board's point of view Facebook is not even a competing platform. Social Networks and Discussion Boards are two very different beasts with some very limited overlap, I will try to explain:

Discussion Boards are a very well established platform for online interaction. In fact, online Discussion Boards predate the internet! Back in the 1980s, when modems became commercially available to consumers but internet access wasn't, we used our modems to dial up directly to what was known back then as Bulletin Boards. Bulletin Boards were primitive and text-based, but they worked very much like the modern phpBB platform that we use here today. Bulletin Boards were replaced by internet-based newsgroups and other discussion platforms but the idea remains the same: a platform that allows people to discuss common interests in a public, topic-based and optionally moderated fashion.

Social Networks, on the other hand, are relatively new. They gained significant popularity over the past decade as part of what is know as "Web 2.0" -- a rise in popularity of sites and services that are based on content contributed by users. The main focus of Social Networks is social connections or "friendships", not common interests or in-depth discussion. That's why you will not find me posting pictures of my children here or asking for insights into the Book of Mercy on Facebook. You are right in your observation that the atmosphere on Facebook seems more friendly, that's probably because Facebook allows each user to build their own sphere of people they consider to be their friends. In contrast, a discussion board is open to the entire community.

Personally, I find both platforms useful in their own way. I post updates on Facebook about things that are important to me and are therefore interesting to my friends, I would not post those here -- to a stranger it would all be quite boring. I post family pictures on Facebook and the fact that I control who gets to see them is important to me. I come here to participate in discussions about the work of Leonard Cohen; there is a much broader audience for it here, and the platform is more suited for discussion. I would not have been able to post this message as a status update on Facebook since it exceeds the 420 character limit. On top of that, some of the more popular threads here have hundreds and even thousands of posts, on Facebook once you hit 20 comments or so on the same subject it becomes very difficult to browse through them all.

There are pitfalls in both platforms as well: con artists, scammers, moochers and all other kinds of mean-spirited people lurk on Facebook, on Discussion Board, and in real life. All one can do is keep a watchful eye.

While it's obvious that some of us are spending time on Facebook, there is not a shred of evidence that this is done at the expense of constructive, meaningful discussion here. If you ask me, it is the "end of tour anti-climax" that caused the recent slump in the forum, and the presence of forum members on Facebook will only help to re-energize the community and eventually drive more traffic to the forum and its associated sites.

Avi

PS: I had just sent you a friend request on Facebook, I hope you accept :)
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friscogrl
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Re: The Forum and Facebook

Post by friscogrl » Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:52 pm

I just reread Paula's post and I don't see where she is judging the new members. She just seems to be saying that the feeling of the forum changed when Leonard started touring which I think is true.
I joined the forum a month before the tour was announced so I am definitely not an old timer. But the forum
Was different before and how could it not be? The community was smaller and pretty well established with members who seemed to know each other well. Also the content was different there were no concerts to talk about, posting videos etc.
Though there was some rumbling of a possible tour and I remember thinking "really" the guy's 73 and his voice now is barely audible. Well we all know how that turned out.
So as the tour went along there was obviously an increase in membership and the personality of the forum did change. The emphasis was primarily the tour which of course was exciting. But with this the forum did change, it had a different feel to it. With that being said not everyone will like changes that occur, that's just human nature.

Marsha
Last edited by friscogrl on Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Cheshire gal
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Re: The Forum and Facebook

Post by Cheshire gal » Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:24 pm

Thanks Avi,

I think you are quite right. Without growth the Forum will slowly die. We 'new' members assume we are welcome, but of course, there are always people who resent change.

I would imagine Leonard is quite happy to have new fans to support his music and concerts. That is what made the tour so successful. ;-)
'...and here's a man still working for your little smile' -Leonard Cohen
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Tony
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Re: The Forum and Facebook

Post by Tony » Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:46 pm

Nothing stands still and one has to accept that what was once the norm exists no longer. Perhaps it is a generation thing? New fans, new ways of communicating, even within an evolving medium such as the internet.
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Paula
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Re: The Forum and Facebook

Post by Paula » Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:36 am

Oh dear I have a knack for offendng even where none was intended. I was not actually saying I resented the newer members I was just saying the reason why I along with quite a few older members no longer post as much. It was not intended as a slight on newer members it was just an observation. Although I am really not too sure how you can read my first post and take from that the assumptions you did.
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anneporter
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Re: The Forum and Facebook

Post by anneporter » Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:48 am

I am a "both/and" kind of person...
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mutti
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Re: The Forum and Facebook

Post by mutti » Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:55 am

Hi everyone
I am on the forum and on facebook. I use them for different things. I joined the forum in 2009 and have been a fan of Leonard's since I was 16 in 1967 living in Canada. I only discovered the forum when the tour started again and have been so grateful to it and to Jarkko and the other moderators.
My life has changed since Leonard started touring again and since I have been involved in this forum.
Anything related to Leonard I come here....I am addicted...
I use facebook for many things.
I am hooked into facebook as well but for completely different reasons and there I also have 'friends' that have nothing to do with my
interest in Leonard and his music and I do have my forum friends. They are 2 different arena's in my opinion.
Here I am with people who understand my devotion to his music. The forum has its own unique depth as do the files...
what to say...I am glad both exist...
Leslie/Mutti
Last edited by mutti on Wed Apr 20, 2011 3:18 am, edited 3 times in total.
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