LemuelSo, as just about everyone has noticed, the forum usage is falling drastically and there are hardly any members online at any given time any more. There is less and less interesting content in the forums, and there are day+ old threads on the first page of just about every forum, which never used to happen.
Now, NS is killing it in social media. 53.3k followers on instagram, well over 1k likes per insta-post (latest has 1908 likes), 19 followers away from 100k on Facebook, and I don't follow twitter. Also the NS snapchat had been popping off for a while.
Why aren't all those followers of social media coming to the site? There are 87 people online right now. I don't want to say that NS is dying, but it is not getting the traffic that it has in the past. I know content is becoming more prevalent than the forums, but still there should be more interesting discussion going on.
How do we get all the people to come back to the site? Contests? Better mobile site? An App?
Food for thought.
OK here we go.... brace for wall of text.
bangarangmulesI think the voting system on reddit is effective for helping to avoid the shitposts that we get on here, but to implement a system like that would kind of kill the "community" aspect that I missed. I never really understood what the point of the up/down vote system on here is beyond cosmetics.
Exactly the reason we implemented voting on here. Gotta lay the infrastructure before the big changes happen.
steezyjibberWebsites across the world are experiencing this. Social media is taking away from their traffic.
However, some sites like Buzzfeed were basically built during the social media age, and really prosper from it.
Bigtime - and its looking at the internet in a new way vs. trying to save the old way.
tomPietrowskiThe way I see it now is the articles I write I'm trying to think about social media more so then getting views just through newschoolers. In general most views for my content comes from clicks outside newschoolers which are presumably mainly from the article being shared around social media.
This approach does bring differnt people to the site but what I think we need to work on is converting these people into members so they can get involved in the conversation.
Perhaps a system of signing up to newschoolers from Facebook like some other apps and sites do. This can make sign up much faster but can also let ns exploit that persons social media a little better.
I dont know, I'm just trying to think of ways to spread my up coming articles much more.
Ok Tom - I'm rolling you into the meta response, but you're spot on.
TL;DR - The internet changed, and we are adapting to it.
Here's the thing - The original concept of newschoolers was a forum. Forums were the original social media, and have for a very long time been how people on the internet gather. Even before the modern internet. there was BBS' (Bulletin Board Systems
) which at the age of 13 I was an absolute afficianado. That was roughly circa 1993 for me, before a large portion of you were even a twinkle in daddy's eye.
The key that forums brought to the world was large-scale asynchronous conversation. You were able to participate in a community-wide discussion that wasn't tailored other than the topic which the debate was on. Newschoolers was born in 1999 and fully embraced this era. For the older members of the site - what you likely consider the 'glory days' was the full-bore success of this part of interconnected computers. All of a sudden you had a place where there was this ongoing discussion loosely based around this whole Newschool skiing thing that you were into. All parts of the site made sense, and even when people were being complete shitheads - at least you knew they were skiing shitheads vs. some other git that you didn't want to associate with.
That part of the internet - at least the way we all knew it - is finished. Mainsteam social media showed up, and offered a custom experience that was tailored to the friends you choose to associate with. If someone on facebook is a complete ass? Block 'em. If your snapchat buddy bores you - fuck 'em... unfriend.
Add to that the meteoric rise of mobile, where many people these days barely even use their computer - and even when they do its only at work or doing school.... so 95% of your recreational computer time is on a phone... and you have a drastically different landscape overall.
Forums for instance are hard on your phone. The core idea of forums is drawn out long-format debate. Even this post I'm writing right now, looking at it on your phone more likely than not you're thinking "TL DR bro, I'm going to read a tweet or check a snap." So the very core of what made these mass discussion platforms popular has evaporated into the wind with the 140 character reality of the modern internet. Long discussions as the mass popularity are dead... hell I saw this post on my phone and had to send an email to myself to respond when I was at a computer.
This is a huge reason that the media side of the site has been so popular, and why we've put so many resources into it. There's a huge amount of kids these days who have never logged into Newschoolers, and who don't have a username. I met them all at camp. They absolutely love us - but their touch point is something like Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook. They may use facebook to just check out cool content, and instead of checking the forums every day or going to our homepage - they just wait for something to come up in their feed. They don't log in, they never make an account - but yet they still love newschoolers.
I had a kid at WIndells come up to me and say "Dude... are you the guy that runs the Newschoolers Snapchat? I'm so psyched to meet you." Never been to the site, no member name, no history with the brand. I told him that I do more than just snapchat... but in the end who really cares?
What buzzfeed did that is brilliant is emphatically believe in the idea that they don't care which platform people interact with them on, as long as they interact with buzzfeed content. They have decided that whether you're on their site or on one of their social platforms, you're still a buzzfeed fan - and that is A-OK.
This all leads me to what the future of Newschoolers is going to look like.
First off, we made the decision a number of years ago to change our focus from a conversation-based community to a content-based community. We will never walk away from our roots as a conversation platform, but there is enormous opportunity in focusing on content. Thinking you should make a thread about how dope your buddies are and they're underrated? Grab a few photos from a local photog, and write an article about them. If your'e truly sick, you'll get voted to the top by this community, and heavily featured across all platforms we distribute on. Same goes for all media types - and we have a massive support system that starts calculating points from your first content piece and walks you all the way through earning money and getting serious opportunities both for jobs at NS and other places in the industry.
Second - less people logging in isn't bad. I mean sure - it would be ideal if we could figure out how to convert every passive, consuming visitor to a member... but our growth of people consuming content on this site (conversation included) has skyrocketed. In our peak month this year, almost a million different people stopped by Newschoolers and checked out what we were doing here. If our logged in community is smaller, then at least its more quality. This is the reason for the NSG purge - there was a few utter pieces of shit that were really ruining the experience for everyone based on their own desire to gain pleasure in others suffering - and it sucked. So fuck them. If we cut down to a small group of ultra-core skiers that actually fucking 'get it' - and our message is amplified across the world - based on a platform where every person involved has the ability to guide that message - then we effectively control our part of the ski industry. This sport is in our hands, and we have successfully managed to purge the fucksticks and take back what is rightfully ours.
Now - the issue at hand in a lot of these disucssions in my mind about "Is NS Dying" - really is about the forums. I'm completely confident in the content systems and their future, but I do have to admit that the discussion platform on this site is hurting.
Here's the thing - Discussion is awesome. Do we need an app and a better mobile experience? Sure. We're working on it. All future development of new features has been shut down, and 100% of our resources are being put towards improving the mobile experience. I know that in order to get better, this site needs to be much more accessible on your phone. That is our job, and we're on it. This site was built for desktop computers, and there's an enormous amount of legacy shit that needs to be changed to adapt to the massive mobile market. We'll solve that - maybe not as quick as we should have - but we will solve it.
However, the real core of making good conversation not only survive but thrive is you.
Every time you want to make a stupid dick joke that isn't funny, every time you want to tell a new member to fuck off because they are 12 - you destroy conversation on the internet one step further. You take that new kid and show them that they should just go back to social media where they can tailor their experience to ignore you.
We need a revolution in good, quality discussion - and good quality content. We need this to be for the people and voted on by the people. Once we really embrace that, we can turn this sport in the direction that we want it to go.
I commit to you that our social channels will be in sync with what is happening here, and will simply be an amplification of what happens in the core community. We have the platform for everyone to see what is going on, we just need to ensure that at the very basic level its good shit. We'll help you get the word out there, we'll help you get exposure, we'll help a few of you make money and we'll help the best out of all of you get jobs leading this industry.
Ok, that got long.