On the Origin of (electronic) Species - Split from the West Finals thread


Hall of Famer
I don't think the conversation is really about communication, anyway. It's about commerce and how advances in communication technology have allowed for the monetization of mental real estate starting with newspapers then expanding to radio and television and in our time social media. Social media platforms are the dominant mass media of the present and the proof of that is technology companies out-earning the media conglomerates who dominated the global economy in the previous 4 decades. The role of this technology in facilitating inter-personal communication is ancillary to it's true function, though it is what leads most of us to allow ourselves to be inundated with advertising.

I suspect that the principal reason some of us try to draw a line between what we're doing on this website (and others like it) and what happens on social media platforms is that we have the same need/desire for communication as any other human being but we're trying to distance ourselves from mass media and everything it represents. That is to say, I don't think it's nostalgia or lack of technological literacy which keeps me returning to message boards and avoiding Twitter, I think it's because this still feels like a relatively safe space to communicate without feeding the big-tech juggernaut. Maybe I'm wrong though.

Also... having now perused the rest of this thread, it's clear I'm just circling back to comments which have already been made. You were right in your original post. I'm old enough to remember when the internet was a niche platform with more of a grassroots hand-built feel and I don't particularly enjoy how it has grown up and become exactly like television. Which just shows both my age and my disdain for social media.
I wanted to highlight this part of your sentence because this is what it all boils down to, doesn't it? Yes, most of us are simply strangers over a computer screen but we still want to write or type down our feelings/thoughts about topics and this is a good place to do so. Alternatives are having your own journal. Alternative number two is live like a monk, recluse, samurai or hermit somewhere far away from civilization, technology and the modern era of living.
These days, I like a certain amount of crowbar separation between my individual identity and those I interact with online. Message boards were designed primarily for the facilitation of discussion of niche topics with like-minded users, and the anonymity and distance afforded to those users allows for a comfort level that might not exist if we all interacted in "real world" spaces, or even on social media. For example, I know very few of the proper names of KF.com users. I know even less about what you all look like, what kind of company you keep, where you went to school, where you work, etc. Social media obliterates much of the anonymity that made message boards so appealing to so many once upon an online age. You can be as forthcoming as you like on a message board, but other users don't have access to all of you the way your connections do on social media.

It can be said that social media has infrastructure aplenty to provide the same utility that message boards do, but it does not provide the same experience. Message boards tend to be insular, and long-time users tend to prefer it that way. They are "family affairs," so to speak. Social media serves many purposes for those who use it, but nobody would describe the experience of engaging with social media as insular. It's designed specifically to encourage as much openness as possible, to create as many connections between users as possible, and to remove borders and boundaries between users of all kinds (usually in pursuit of vacuuming up those users' data and selling it to the highest bidder).

Yes, there is a "bubble" phenomenon that occurs on social media, where you are only shown that which you already "like," but that bubble remains large enough to contain within it a great many "likes." Here at KingsFans.com, we talk Kings basketball. We talk NBA basketball, in general. We occasionally talk books, music, movies, etc. And every once in awhile, we might engage with the philosophical, as we see in this thread. But mostly, we're here for discussion of the Sacramento Kings. The bubble never gets so large that this community gets swamped with new users. It's a small community. It's niche. It's insular. In many ways, and for many of us, it feels like family, like an online "home." The virtues of a message board are in the honest-to-goodness spirit of community that social media websites and apps likewise claim but often fail to meaningfully deliver, and it's a shame that the message board format has largely been discarded in favor of "one stop shop" experiences like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok, etc.

I abandoned all social media about eight years ago and I have been a much happier, more well-adjusted individual ever since. Before departing the social media landscape, like many who use those platforms, I fell prey to the "look at me" impulses and the comparison shopping phenomenon and the pile-on toxicity that social media platforms encourage. It was ultimately an easy decision to delete those accounts, but nothing could ever get me to delete my KingsFans.com account. It's the only message board I still belong to, as all the rest I once participated in have gone under or transitioned to... social media platforms.

Mr. S£im Citrus

Doryphore of KingsFans.com
Staff member
... The bubble never gets so large that this community gets swamped with new users. It's a small community. It's niche. It's insular. In many ways, and for many of us, it feels like family, like an online "home."
So much so that some of us want to stick around, even after we stop rooting for the team.