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  • Have Facebook, Google and Twitter got it all wrong?

    I know that in theory stuff for vBulletin gets developed because people vote for it. When I started with vB3.x what I wanted (and what I'd still really like) is contribution via email. I've never felt that it was rocket science either because there are lots of websites where you can contribute via email; even with the vBulletin ticket support system which will accept contributions via email. Our view has always been that if we have interesting content people will keep coming back and the more easy it is for users to contribute, the more likely they are to engage, the better our content will be and that would open up other opportunities to generate revenue, e.g. sponsorship or subscription business models. However I understand why many people wouldn't vote for that because lots of people who've run websites historically have had a business model that depended upon advertising measured via page impressions and click throughs. So I get why some would not vote for this...

    Rather than continue whining about this we decided to try and make the most of vB4. So we tried all of its features....CMS, blogs, forum and groups. We never had much success with the groups and from what I understand in vB5 the groups are essentially the same as forums. We have had some success with CMS, calendar and blogs.

    Previous debates on this site have said that not many people use the calendar, that's why nobody bothered to put it back in vB5 yet. That's a huge disappointment to us as its one of the things that since the introduction of the Navbar feature in vB4 we've found easy to keep populated because the Navbar feature made it easy for us to publicise it.

    And here's what I don't understand. Historically software like vBulletin came out of the IT community who were used to working from desktop locations and networking and interacting via computer. But most people who are interested in something aren't just sitting behind a desktop; they interact around events; in business that might be a congress; for a hobby it could be an exhibition. It might be a sports event. Either way they are hooking up with other like-minded people around events. Increasingly with one of the hobbies I pursue the events are showcased on Facebook. You get invited on Facebook, people post about the event on Facebook, they might Tweet about it at the same time and afterwards they might post something about how great it was. For some of the business events I go to they send out pre-reading, after the event there might be proceedings...all content.

    Google isn't as popular for social networking as Facebook but people still network around events on Google. Google calendar is also extremely popular and Joe has produced a work-around showing how google calendar can be integrated into vB5 using the Site Builder tool. That's fine, but vbusers can't log in to one portal, post their events and have them appear under one of the channels as they do in vB4. Now you could still post your event somewhere else and comment on it on a vBulletin site but it's not as easy and you are losing content. I'd rather be able to invite people to the event, write about it, blog about it, and maybe share some of the event content in the articles system, or write press releases about it in the articles system. But I can't do it because it's not presently a feature of vB5.

    As people move away from desktops to mobiles they are less tied to desktops and desks than they were and increasingly they use mobiles to tweet about stuff or post their pictures to Facebook. That's often because they are out and about at events....events that are easier to publicise if they appear on calendars.

    So you would have thought that with an increasingly connected and increasingly mobile global audience that connects directly through physical events there would be a use for a good events calendar in vB5. You can see the evidence for that on Facebook...you can see people tweeting about the events they are at on Twitter...and Google calendar is not exactly unpopular. Having had a look at vB5, being realistic about the fact there are still a few bugs in it, but if you know where they are then you can still use it, I don't think that for us it's a bad product; except that is for the absence of the calendar, which is a pain.

    So is it really just me that wants this? And have Facebook, Twitter and Google got it all wrong?

  • #2
    Not much feedback on this...so maybe it is just me that wants the calendar then. ...maybe I'm the only person on vBulletin.com who occasionally goes places.....

    But "events" do also include webinars. I have lost track of the number of times that I have been invited to a webinar and remembered the date and time, forgotten the "location" to go back to and struggled to find the original email address telling me the URL. Coincidentally this week I was invited to attend a webinar (which I would have signed up for) but the person recommending it to me did not send me the email address in time for me to sign up. This kind of "virtual event" stuff could also be listed on an events calendar. Who knows, maybe somebody else will stumble across this post at some time and get the point so I'll add a bit more for posterity....

    If I had to say how I would wish an "events" calendar to work it wouldn't necessarily have to be that different to the existing vB4 and vB3 calendar; the key features are for the calendar to be easily publicised by the navbar (easy in vB4 and vB5) and for the upcoming events to be easy to place beneath whatever part of your site you would wish to use to publicise the upcoming events. In vB4 presently you can only have upcoming events beneath the forums. Ideally you would be able to place them beneath any of the channels in vB5, or even place them wherever you would wish in a module within site builder; if such a thing were available we would have upgraded and be using vB5 today, despite the bugs in vB5.

    I know that in vB5 Groups are essentially the same as Forums; the out of the box vBulletin site comes with a tab saying "groups" and highlighting the groups...but they are pretty much offering the same features as the forums saving that a group has one "owner" and a forum can have several "moderators", unlike for example LinkedIn or Facebook. So in many respects groups are inferior to forums. We've never had much success with "Groups" and I struggle to envisage a site using both successfully. However, you could envisage a site with forums with events underneath, just as vB4 works now. Or, using a different "channel" you could envisage a sports blog with events underneath; or if you liked groups with individual owners rather than forums, perhaps a hobbyists site, or business site with a variety of specialist "groups" with events underneath. Paid subscription or advertising could give you a revenue stream. The same with the CMS....news with events underneath, or perhaps in a widget to the side.

    The calendar already exists in vB4; what I'm suggesting already works under one of the channels in vB4; some of the calendar settings are still there in vB5 5.1.3; there are already modules in site builder. I can't understand why there is so little interest in this...maybe there just aren't enough real people on vBulletin.com anymore....
    Last edited by jdj; Fri 17th Oct '14, 8:13am.

    Comment


    • jdj
      jdj commented
      Editing a comment
      Since writing this post I have upgraded to vB5: It still doesn't have the calendar. We use Google calendar, but it's problematic.

  • #3
    Google, Facebook and Twitter are not forums.

    You rarely see calendars on forums used to any great effect. They are not functionality that has much demand on forums these days, (which the lack of response to this thread demonstrates), and that is why it's not high on our priority list. I would never say never, but I honestly cannot see it returning any time soon. I'm sorry.
    MARK.B | vBULLETIN SUPPORT

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    • jdj
      jdj commented
      Editing a comment
      I think the lack of response on this is a reflection as much of anything else of the fact that not many people are using vBulletin 5.

  • #4
    I think the difference is between need and want, there are too few who need a calendar to justify including it as a default, many more may want it.

    I've belonged to a number of forums, and can honestly say that I've only ever used the calendar once in 12 months !

    So I don't miss it, but if it is an integral part of a forum then yes you have a need.

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    • #5
      Originally posted by Mark.B View Post
      Google, Facebook and Twitter are not forums.

      You rarely see calendars on forums used to any great effect. They are not functionality that has much demand on forums these days, (which the lack of response to this thread demonstrates), and that is why it's not high on our priority list. I would never say never, but I honestly cannot see it returning any time soon. I'm sorry.
      That could be true...but then the "calendar" was virtually invisible in vB3, it was more of a diary feature, and it only really became easy to publicise in vB4 when the NavBar feature came along. So you wouldn't see that much use for it historically because in vB3 and early vB4 it was never that easy to use.

      If you want to make money from a site and you are doing it with say AdSense, or Skimlinks you're not going to make much unless your site has several hundred thousand users because your business model depends upon either a high number of click-throughs or page impressions, or perhaps a very high number of posts. One of the most successful (commercially) sites that I know of in my sector depends upon a subscription model, and it works because it has a small number (under 1000) very high value users. Probably makes more than most vBulletin installations.

      From the point of view of vBulletin, or Internet Brands if you prefer, IB makes the same amount of money whether the forum has 500 users or 500,000 users. So anything that makes it easier for a large number of smaller sites to function is going to generate greater revenue and thereby the opportunity for more internal investment.

      In a months time I'm going to an "event"; it's a big event at London Olympia, lots of what we call stands or what American colleagues call 'booths'. There are 1000s of those events around the UK. However, I also have a number of hobbies which are basically small 'events' with from 10 to 40 people. Many of these are publicised on Facebook, but they are still 'events'.

      When you think of this consider the following; we measure the number of big events in 1000s or tens of 1000s. We measure sales of cars, or houses in millions. But there aren't just millions of events going on, there are billions of them.

      And they are being publicised on Facebook and Google calendar...and on Twitter....but not on vBulletin 5....

      Maybe it's just me....

      PS: LinkedIn is just a big forum with extra user profile fields...vB4 and vB5 have blogs on them...Twitter is just a big microblogging site...the difference though between a 'blog' and a 'forum post' is more one of presentation and the minimum number of characters permissible in the posts than anything else.....Facebook has 'posts' just like forums....
      Last edited by jdj; Fri 17th Oct '14, 8:49am.

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      • #6
        Originally posted by Graham Walters View Post
        many more may want it.
        I think it would perhaps be more accurate to say with potential vB site owners that 'many more may not even know about it'.

        But billions of people are attending events....there are large numbers of 'events' sites on the internet...most aren't that great.

        Comment


        • #7
          Originally posted by jdj View Post

          In a months time I'm going to an "event"; it's a big event at London Olympia, lots of what we call stands or what American colleagues call 'booths'. There are 1000s of those events around the UK.
          Coincidentally last night I was at a small "event" to do with one of my hobbies (it happens to be jive, but it doesn't matter, it's the principle that matters). Less than 100 people there probably several hundred that might attend on a regular basis; they're planning a change of venue in a couple of weeks time which they need to communicate to their members. They also have the potential to attract new participants at the new location if they can publicise both the event and the venue.

          Last Friday I was at a local "event" in my local village hall. It was probably at about 70% capacity. Lots of people in the village new about the "event", but perhaps some of the extra seats might have been filled if other people knew about the "event". I was sat next to someone who I didn't know who has just moved to one of the nearby towns. He didn't know what "events" were on in that town and had struggled to find them.

          That's the thing that I find so hard to understand about vBulletin. At a few hundred dollars an installation it depends upon lots of small sites serving small communities of people. Given that there are millions of people all going to a number of "events" It would be difficult to think of a bigger opportunity than "events".

          So given that this is a need that is not that well served, you can see the activity going on on Facebook and that the events calendar is popular how come Internet Brands can't see that?

          PS: I'm guessing the content at this link changes with time but what this link shows is, quote, "Popular Issues shows the number of unresolved issues sorted by number of votes." Today this one

          http://tracker.vbulletin.com/browse/VBV-1247

          which is entitled "Add calendar in the software" is at the top of the list. I'm glad to see it's not just me who gets the potential in this. I wonder how many votes it would need to get to get actioned.
          Last edited by jdj; Wed 22nd Oct '14, 7:38am.

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          • #8
            I just got emailed something from a marketing company for a "Social Editorial Calendar."

            One of the related events on the page you visited if you clicked the link was "The Definitive Guide to Event Marketing". The link talks about tradeshows, webinars, virtual events and promotion via email social and PR. So there are plenty of companies out there who get the commercial potential of calendars and event marketing.

            Not many 'forum' companies out there with calendars built in....

            Comment


            • #9
              I think Mark B ignorance comment reflect the attitude of the company overall. Whoever voted for the calendar including me can never hope it will materialised.
              http://tracker.vbulletin.com/browse/VBV-1247
              http://tracker.vbulletin.com/browse/...arissues-panel

              communication policy is, do not listen to what customer want. :P
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              • #10
                Originally posted by napy8gen View Post
                I think Mark B ignorance comment reflect the attitude of the company overall. Whoever voted for the calendar including me can never hope it will materialised.
                http://tracker.vbulletin.com/browse/VBV-1247
                http://tracker.vbulletin.com/browse/...arissues-panel

                communication policy is, do not listen to what customer want. :P
                Joe put up a helpful article showing you how to place a google calendar on your site but the truth is if you just want your brand somewhere and you don't care if your content is on somebody else's site you don't need a forum at all: You can install a copy of Joomla as a free download, get a Twitter id and a Facebook page, maybe establish a community on Google + and link to it all from your Joomla site; you don't need to install vBulletin to run a 'community' or 'forum' somewhere. You don't even need vBCloud. But if you really want to manage your own content on your own site then 'events' are one of the biggest needs out there as far as I can see. There are billions of 'events' going on, both in the real world and in the virtual world.

                The thing I find odd about policy on the calendar (apart from yes, the fact that people are voting for it) is that there are other good publishing platforms out there; Wordpress, Xenforo, other forum software packages, some of which are free. They don't have calendars, the calendar is one of the things that differentiates vBulletin from other products and offers the potential of revenue generation.

                And with respect to vBulletin I do understand that in project management and managing IT projects there is risk. I read once that if there is greater than 10% innovation in a project there is a high degree of risk that it will fail. But it's not exactly 90% innovation for vBulletin is it? Vbulletin already has a calendar in vB3 and vB4....it's one of the things that makes it different.

                Comment


                • #11
                  Originally posted by napy8gen View Post
                  I think Mark B ignorance comment reflect the attitude of the company overall. Whoever voted for the calendar including me can never hope it will materialised.
                  http://tracker.vbulletin.com/browse/VBV-1247
                  http://tracker.vbulletin.com/browse/...arissues-panel

                  communication policy is, do not listen to what customer want. :P
                  Yes, obviously I'm ignorant, having run online communities for fourteen years and been involved in the vBulletin "scene" for thirteen of those.

                  I know calendars are important to some people. However in the grand scheme of the many customers we have, it isn't actually all that many. Compare that to, for instance, the CMS, which wasn't in the first releases of vB5 and was heavily requested. hence, it was brought back in 5.1.0 (although in fairness this was always the plan).

                  I'm not saying a calendar won't happen, I'm just giving realistic input into the timeframe. I doubt it will happen any time soon. Such decisions are not mine. It'll be a substantial piece of work to add it back in properly, as with all companies there are limited resources and stuff has to be prioritised.
                  MARK.B | vBULLETIN SUPPORT

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                  • #12
                    Originally posted by Mark.B View Post

                    Yes, obviously I'm ignorant, having run online communities for fourteen years and been involved in the vBulletin "scene" for thirteen of those.

                    I know calendars are important to some people. However in the grand scheme of the many customers we have, it isn't actually all that many. Compare that to, for instance, the CMS, which wasn't in the first releases of vB5 and was heavily requested. hence, it was brought back in 5.1.0 (although in fairness this was always the plan).

                    I'm not saying a calendar won't happen, I'm just giving realistic input into the timeframe. I doubt it will happen any time soon. Such decisions are not mine. It'll be a substantial piece of work to add it back in properly, as with all companies there are limited resources and stuff has to be prioritised.
                    Perhaps the way in which the post was phrased detracts from the fact that napy8gen made an important point. People voted for this...and it's not happening...any time soon. Such decisions are not yours so it's a reasonable question to ask whose decisions they are and on what basis they make them. If the decision not to add the calendar back sooner rather than later is based on historical usage in vB3 and vB4 then that's a very short-sighted view....

                    Google calendar is popular.....

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                    • #13
                      I just got invited to another event on Facebook....

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                      • #14
                        Originally posted by jdj View Post
                        I just got invited to another event on Facebook....
                        If you get invited to events on Facebook, ask Facebook to provide you with a calendar, why expect VB to provide it.

                        Personally I get invited to a lot of events via Facebook, 99.9% I wont attend for one reason or another, those that I do want to attend I enter them into my diary, and into the Calendar on my phone, places where they are more likely to be seen and remembered.

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                        • #15
                          Originally posted by Graham Walters View Post

                          If you get invited to events on Facebook, ask Facebook to provide you with a calendar, why expect VB to provide it.
                          If you stick your content on Facebook you're building Mark Zuckerberg's business. If you stick your content on Google via google calendar you're building Google's business.

                          There's a massive unmet need out there...and it's not something new for vBulletin. The calendar exists in vB3 and vB4.

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