The Loss of Group Conversation

I love a good forum – if that forum emails me when there are posts. I liked being able to post something of value, and get conversation about it. And I liked that the conversation was there, and searchable. I liked being able to ask a question, or brainstorm something, and get responses.

Ryze was one of the best venues to find forums like that – they call them “networks”. But Ryze is dying. It hasn’t been sudden, more of a trickle of attrition.

None of the new big networking sites can come close – their group conversation tools stink. And before you say, “what about Twitter?”, let me clarify – I’m talking REAL conversation, where you can make a comment of more than 140 characters, and where the comment lasts longer than the time it takes to scroll off the bottom of the stream of inanities that flood in.

Blogs don’t cut it either.

FaceBook has “groups”, and “pages”, but there is no notification on either the wall, or forum activity for those. It is like you join a group, and then it NEVER reaches out to you. The only way a group can tap you on the shoulder and get your attention is if the owner does a mass mail to the group. Too many of those, and people drop the group. So on FaceBook, groups really aren’t groups at all – they are just lists of people who never participate because there is nothing to remind them to take time from their busy lives to check in.

Statistically, forums that require you to check in to see if there has been any activity are failures. Stupidly, FaceBook has never figured this out.

But then, neither did FastPitch, LinkedIn, or any of the other major platforms that I checked out. I think they like transience. It takes smaller databases.

So group conversations that are meaningful have all but disappeared.

Sad, really.

And sadder… We downgraded our Ryze memberships today. With a sense of loss as we did so. We closed our own network there, and unsubscribed from some that have become either nothing more than questions about why there are no posts, or mostly ads – and one that has degenerated into mostly a commentary on Twitter (If I wanted Twitter, I’d be THERE, not somewhere else reading about it). The last people to go are the spammers, and a few die-hards who want to try to doggedly MAKE it what it once was.

Our profile is still there – it could come back. I don’t think it will. I give Ryze 6 months before they are forced to close their doors. And it is because they did not listen. They offer something nobody else does, and it has been successful, and is still valuable, but not without additional tools to entice people in to begin with, and to keep them there. And implementing the tools should not be difficult, the technology is readily available. Heck, I can do it using Open Source software! They could still pull out a spectacular recovery. But I think they won’t.

And the loss is more than just a venue… It seems the loss of what they did that no one else has had the intelligence to implement in a smart way.

2 Responses to The Loss of Group Conversation

  • I think you’re right about Ryze. Unfortunately.

    It was, and still is my favorite networking place, but it’s definitely going downhill. And I’m sorry I didn’t do more to keep your group going.

    I keep hoping that Ryze will rise again, but I don’t think it will since all the best folks seem to be powering down, and the management doesn’t seem to be inclined to do anything about it.

    Oh well…

  • Laura says:

    It is nobody’s “fault” that the groups are dying on Ryze – I mean, the management bears some blame for not moving forward and promoting better. But for those of us who hung in there and tried to get things going, it isn’t our fault that the venue was being populated by spammers and not good new people at the time. This has been going on for probably the last year, at least. Prior to that, the networks worked, and the venue was a good place to meet and gather.

    The only people coming in to Ryze now, are those who are referred by members who are stubbornly hanging on, or those who are just going through a big long list of networking venues that they have found somewhere in their “how to spam” instructions (which, of course, are never called that, but rather, “internet marketing secrets” books and websites).

    Since I dropped out, I’ve seen many other big players do so also. I’ve also seen one network owner TRY to recover, but it isn’t working – the network is now nothing more than ads, no value at all.

    Right now, Ryze has the feel of a neglected hobby business – something that was profitable in it’s day, but which now feels like the owners have moved on to other things so they no longer CARE whether it is profitable or not.

    I just find it all very sad.

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