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    • I've been planning on writing this post for a long time now, originally titled "What alternatives are there to Facebook Groups?". Twitter has forced me to slightly tweak my approach now, as the company has announced that it will soon be unleashing its own community-based tool, aptly named "Communities".

      Before we get into Twitter's take on communities though, let's look at some other alternatives to Facebook Groups first, as I originally intended for this conversation.

      Discord

      Discord has been gaining in popularity recently, as the social network built around communities itself has cemented its place among gaming, music, and tech communities worldwide. As the central pillar of Discord is communities, rather than individuals, it is a natural and perhaps better place for groups compared to Facebook. Users join Discord with the sole purpose of joining a community, not to establish an individual presence. With text, voice, and even video chats supported, Discord allows for all types of communications between community members, which is why it's as popular as it it.

      Email

      Probably the oldest form of electronic communication, emails are still widely used today especially in professional settings. Though great for information dissemination, emails are not really great for group conversations. You can have mailing lists which are kind of like communities, but needing to be added to a list by the administrator makes it less convenient compared to social media communities that you can simply join. I don't think emails will ever be used in a social context, as it will forever be considered as a "formal" communication tool that people will always use for work.

      Forums

      Alongside emails, forums are probably one of the oldest forms of electronic communication still around today. I remember being very active in online forums back when I was in university, even before Facebook and Twitter started becoming mainstream. Forums are probably a better community tool than emails, and like Discord, people join forums specifically to be part of a community. Though with only text as a means of communication, it is slightly less flexible compared to Discord. Reddit is the biggest forum on the internet, and with the recent GameStop stock fiasco still fresh in our minds, I don't need to tell you how wide and effective the influence of forums (Reddit in particular) can be.

      Messaging apps

      Messaging apps like Telegram and WhatsApp have long offered group chats as a means for groups of people to communicate. I'm sure we're all part of at least one chat group. Telegram groups in my mind are far superior to WhatsApp groups, with many more powerful and useful features like polls, message pinning, and more granular admin controls. However, chat groups to me seem more suitable for smaller, more intimate groups, not massive communities like we can find online. And if you're talking about WhatsApp groups, your phone number will be visible to everyone in the group, which some may not like (this isn't a problem in Telegram). Still, I don't think messaging apps are the right alternative to Facebook Groups.

      Twitter Communities

      Though the newest alternative (which hasn't actually launched yet), Twitter Communities is probably the most poised to take on Facebook Groups due to its massive global reach and well established user base. We don't fully know yet how Communities will work, though we can expect that it won't stray far from how Twitter currently works. I'll be keeping an eye on Communities when it launches, and I might even start one of my own.

      What online communities/groups are you a member of? Do you think Twitter's Communities will take off? Are you on Facebook just because of the Groups you have joined? Leave a comment and get the conversation rolling.

    • I don’t really use Facebook/Twitter as much for the community group aspect. Though I think they have value. I don’t see this as Twitter’s way to take over the market, but rather as a way for them to get some skin in the game and keep up with the Joneses, so to speak. Every platform seems to have some form of community feature and it’s smart of Twitter to create their own version to satisfy that niche. If that makes sense.

    • Keep us posted on the launch and evolution of the twitter (and other) communities, curious to hear more. I don't really use twitter so it's helpful to hear about it.

    • Interesting perspective @JazliAziz , especially on forums.

      Our founder here on Cake @Chris has this 'small' forum some reading along may not have heard of, AdvRider.com . Quite probably one of the larger powersport-based forums on the internet today.

      To me, and many others, that very community perspective is what truly makes that place unique, if you are a fan of any type & style of motorcycle riding.

      It seems that the sense of community is what's really driving all of the larger social media platforms to include this wrinkle of a community perspective.

      Now, there's corporate interests in maintaining what's already there with respect to forums. VerticalScope (company out of Canada) owns & operates well over 200 powersport, motorsport and other forums that are quite unique. Quite a few were purchased from hobbyist owner/operators that grew and nourished those very communities. VS does some sneaky, shaky stuff once they procure a forum. Yet, it seems they have a base of Baby Boomer users that keep those on-line interests separate from the things they may do on FB or other general social media platforms.

      Not many decades ago, those communities were still there - in what we used as modem-accessed bulletin board systems (BBS) and at the same time, Usenet.

      "Lightning in a bottle." Did FB catch it first, or are these other platforms that you mentioned - and perhaps others - managing to hang onto it?