I am often asked to explain the difference between a forum and a blog type technology. Although there are some similarities, the differences in functionality and outcome are substantially different. Let’s compare the two and explore some of these differences:
1. Public access
Blogs are open to the public to enable easy and free view of their content. All you have to do is type the web address (URL) and you are able to view its content. Checkout www.sethgodin.typepad.com or www.thechadbarrgroup.com or www.triangleperformance.com/leader/index.php or www.businessweek.com/the_thread/blogspotting/ for some blogs examples. Some forums are open to the public and many require some sort of subscription and approval process. Here is an example of an open view forum that requires registration if you wish to post www.forums.invisionpower.com while this forum www.alansforums.com requires registration, payment and approval before you are able to view the content and interact with its members.
Blogs are designed to enable their owner to easily write content on the web. Visitors are then able to read the content and on some blogs even submit their comment and opinion. Due to the significant increase of Spam, many blog owners have restricted the ability for visitors to enter their comments. The ones that allow such feedback have enable moderation, which means the blog owner is notified when a visitor comment is entered and upon their review and approval, the comment is then posted on their blog. Unlike blogs, forums are designed to enable easy interaction between members, and their design is geared to create a sense of an online community. A registered member can reply to a topic or even start one allowing others to give their feedback. Successful forums not only create an online community that enables members to constantly learn from others wisdom, great friendships are often created online and offline as well as business opportunities.
I find the majority of blogs to be one dimensional. They are in sense similar to reading a book and articles. Once you find a blog that interest you (which may be a challenging task) you then can read the owner and authors’ opinion about topics that are usually in their core interest and expertise. Forums on the other hand due to their community type access, are often richer and much more rewarding intellectually. Not only are you able to raise issues and questions that concern you and get feedback from often smart audience, the greatest benefit is being able to listen (virtually) to issues and concerns raised by other members that you may not have thought about yet. It is this concept that I believe offers the highest potential to increase your learning experience and your own wisdom.
Although there are some minor similarities between blogs and forums, I believe the technology, interaction between people and potential learning experience create substantial differences between these concepts. If you wish to easily write and post your thoughts and knowledge for others to learn from, a blog makes a lot of sense. If on the other hand you want to learn from others, join or create a sense of community to interact with others, a forum is the solution.
See you online,