I presume hard copy magazines must still be big players despite the net. They are still going and magazine production ain’t cheap and publishers need profits. How long that will continue is another matter. But for now I can only assume they remain a serious part of the mix.
After that it looks Balkanised to me.
I am not on Facebook so have only the haziest view of volumes. I do visit open sites when directed there occasionally but find the format irritating and the effort rarely worth the insights delivered. There may be gold behind the membership walls, but I doubt it and I’m not prepared to jump through the hoops required to find out.
When all is said and done you are flitting from one niche bubble to the next, unless and until one particular page becomes essential for a period, game or interest. If it has, I have so far managed to live without it.
I used to frequent Yahoo Groups a lot, less so now, but still occasionally – again they are one interest groups and keeping a check on several is time consuming and a tad irritating, but the format is less ennervating than Facebook.
Blogs, yes, but I don’t get ‘news’, I get thoughtful pieces about all sorts of things, analysis (Whirlwind’s ‘Heretical Gaming’ has been a great find thanks to his posts here) and entertainment.
Forums/fora(?) I pop into several but I spend most time here on TWW. Yes I get ‘news’, by which I take it we mean who is selling what new items, here. I also get much of what I used to get through the hard copy magazines which I rarely buy these days (and feel immensely guilty about admitting for some reason) but with more interaction and faster feedback, which I guess is one of the selling points. The tone here is a major selling point. I am happy to pay for it.
I have enjoyed and been active on several manufacturers’ forums, some now almost moribund, some still going, but they obviously tend to be focused on their products and again this splinters attention and subjects. You can obviously talk about ECW, ACW, Napoleonic and Ancients on a manufacturers site if they produce those figures but it is harder to turn around and say, ‘actually there is a better way of doing this campaign than using X Y or Z scale figuers’ if those are what they produce. I’ve seen it done, I’ve seen people get snotty about it.
I don’t think there is ONE killer ‘portal’ any more, if ever there was (Military Modelling c 1970?). Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Depends who you are and what you want. It’s harder work keeping up and probably harder work keeping a site/magazine/forum going profitably, but communication overload and dwindling attention spans are probably not going to make it any more unified or easier in the near future. I wonder if hard copy will die or will digital subscriptions keep them going a while longer? I find the Facebook v forums debate difficult because I am not a social media person and reading the majority of Facebook posts is as baffling to me as the need to keep texting and sending pictures of lattes to each other. Baffling not because of their complexity but because of their banality. So I find it difficult to imagine Facebook killing forums but then I couldn’t see why anyone would want to be continually at the beck and call of the world with a mobile phone. Put your shirt on Facebook