Anyone who doesn’t understand the ever-growing power and reach of Facebook got another lesson this week, this time courtesy of the United States Bowling Congress.
Here is what USBC posted on its message board for the Open Championships at BOWL.com:
“In the coming weeks, we will be closing the BOWL.com forums and transitioning all discussions to a new Facebook group we have created for the USBC Open and Women's Championships. We encourage you to join our group and continue the discussion over on Facebook. The group is now open and can be found here: http://on.fb.me/QMDxVn “
The full URL is https://www.facebook.com/groups/425884950783804/
Earlier this summer, Bowlweb.com ended its message board in an acknowledgment that Facebook has become the de facto message board of the world.
Madison Bowling Association manager Bill Dennis, who created Bowlweb.com, started a Facebook page for the MBA, and there also is a page for the Madison Area Scratch Tour.
The PBA message boards also are a mere shell of what they once were, in terms of activity, with most of the discussions that used to occur there now on Facebook.
As an online editor at Capital Newspapers in my "real" job, one of my duties is monitoring the comments on our stories. I've long thought we should use a registration system that requires people to use their actual names, which is something I love about using Facebook. The scourge of drivel posted by anonymous message board posters disappears with Facebook and that is a wonderful thing!
Here is the statement USBC's Jason Overstreet sent me Thursday on the change:
I would be glad to share some insight. We see several reasons that this change will better serve bowlers and more efficient operationally.
As you know, message boards are an old technology that predate today’s big social media. Their use is becoming stagnant as the vast majority of people prefer to have interactions on Facebook and Twitter. This is not unique to BOWL.com
We have been soft launching several Facebook Groups as alternatives to message boards with great results. The best example is our Association Leaders Group. In the old BOWL.com message board association section, there are only a handful of posters – it was dead. USBC announced the new Associations Facebook Group right after convention and we currently have more than 500 members engaged in active daily discussion. As I look at the group right now, there is talk about how to file IRS forms, officer training and questions about processing software – a very useful dialogue. We have also launched groups for USBC Certified Coaches and North Pointe Junior Gold Coordinators with similar positive results.
Some people might ask: Why not keep the forums in addition to the new Facebook Groups? There are several business reasons.
The forums are on an older separate platform from the rest of BOWL.com. This requires back-end maintenance resources that could better be used in other areas.
USBC’s call center will deal with fewer calls from people with lost password and login issues.
USBC will no longer need a staff member assigned 7 days a week to approving posts.
As you outlined in your preliminary blog, Facebook discussions tend to be a much more productive environment than anonymous message boards. Our primary Facebook page has more than 114,000 likes, so we know there are a lot of people on the platform interested in USBC. We plan to grow this new group and create a community for people to discuss and learn about USBC events. Our goal here is to introduce the next generation of bowlers to the great experience available at the USBC Open and Women’s Championships.