On Forums

I feel more comfortable writing on forums than I do on social media. Replies come naturally, starting topics second nature. Those same activities on social media, however, trip me up.

I wonder whether this is more personal preference than anything – others could just as easily say the opposite. The term “lurker” originated with online forums. Then again, it's a posture that equally describes my participation on social media.

Another part of me, however, wonders whether the structure of forums offers something that gives one more license to contribute than on social media. I know users on a forum differently than I know those who I follow on social media. I don't “follow” others on a forum, yet there's greater context by which I understand them and their role on the forum as a whole.

If social media is a bustling city block, perhaps a forum is like a small town square.

Is there something about a smaller user base and topic-based structure that creates different conversations?