What's the difference between a forum, a community and a social networking site?
My planned site is some combination of the three above, but I can't figure out how to talk about it until I understand the difference in the terms. Any inisights on the differences between a forum, a community and a social networking site would be helpful.
The first distinction is that the are all types of websites:
- Forum - a forum is site like this one (Website Babble), but it can also be called a community, but not a social network. Most people will understand it best if you say a forum. Forums are were people ask and answer questions. Generally, forums have a very narrow funtional focus. They don't try to be a blog or a social network like facebook.
- Online Community - the term community can apply to a lot of differnt types of sites. Blogs are sometimes called communities because they have community features like commenting. Community sort of loosely means where people interact around a shared interest.. This site (website babble) can be referred to as a community, blogs can be called a community, and the main meaning of community is a website where like minded people meet, talk about their interest and connect. When people say online community, the first names that come up to mind are facebook and myspace. There are communities for special interests like books: www.shelfari.com. Generally, communities means any place where people share a similar interest and come to discuss it or connect. People often talk about buiding a community around a blog. I don't really think of blogs as a community, but many others do, and if a blog has a consistent audience there really is a lot of interaction between people through commenting. The interaction of people makes a website a community. The lowest hurdle for having a site be called a online community is having comments.
- Social Network - the terms online community and social network are often used interchangeably, but when I hear social network, I think more about the meeting and networking parts. I don't think about forums or blogs in this case. I think facebook, myspace, orkut, linkedin, but I don't think Website Babble (Called a forum primarily, but can also be called a community). The primary function of a social network is networking, meeting people, sharing updates. The term community is a much looser term and used much more broadly.
Last edited by hipspy; 06-29-2010 at 09:44 PM.
I think that it is the same thing without pictures