A Forum for Discussions among Voyagers and Others related to the 38th Voyage of the Charles W. Morgan
From: Frank Reed
Date: 2014 Jul 21, 15:17 -0700
You suggested: "why don't we create an invite-only Facebook group where we can continue these discussions for free in perpetuity?"
Uh-oh! I did not mean to create the impression that 38Talk was in any danger of vanishing. That is not even remotely the case. I've been managing online communities since the mid-1990s. Most recently, I have been managing the NavList community under the same conditions and systems as the present 38Talk for the past nine years. There are very few communities on the Internet that have been around for nine years. Even Facebook (astronomically larger, of course) has been open to the public for a bit less time than that.
Facebook groups are great for what they are. But they tend to be light, or rather lite. Serious discussions never work on Facebook. I've watched this for many years. It's a great place to "like" a photo of a sunset or to "like" a video of sails in the wind, but that's where it usually ends. It's no place for discussions beyond one or two sentence replies. In addition, Facebook discussions are not quite free since FB drops advertising on every page, and the algorithms used to populate those ad blocks are driven by content you post in your group. As for Facebook being around for "perpetuity", yes, the company and its basic social media operations will undoubtedly be around for years and probably decades. But any single feature, including any group you may imagine, can be removed, re-arranged, re-targeted in any fashion that Facebook management sees fit, and you as group members have no recourse whatsoever. I use Facebook myself (friend me up!), but it is a commercial operation with a voracious appetite for growth and little regard for its members personal needs or desires, apart from the generation of advertising revenues.
Finally, why "invite-only"? I say, invite everyone who may be interested. That's one small way to guarantee lasting value for the 38th Voyage. Don't shut the public out; invite them in! And incidentally, Google is already indexing these 38Talk messages.
The huge advantage of a community like 38Talk compared to a Facebook group is that you have someone to complain to. If it's offline or if you're not receiving messages the way you want to, you contact me. And I fix it right away. Good luck finding anyone, anywhere on the staff of Facebook who will pay attention to individual concerns.
You also wrote:
"Plus, your inbox won't be flooded with emails (unless you really want it to) but you can check the group homepage whenever you need a dose of maritime nerdiness."
Just to clarify, 38Talk offers the option of receiving messages by email, but it is by no means the only way to follow the group. If your inbox is "flooded", then you may have missed some previous messages. You can check the homepage for 38Talk anytime you want, right here. And you can turn off emails or adjust your settings, perhaps switching to daily digests easily (instructions here).
And you concluded:
"And Frank won't be out more money."
Asking for donations is always risky. But that's all it was... Wikipedia regularly asks for donations, thus saving us from more advertisements. And that's the model for 38Talk. Donations help, but they're not essential. If you can't make a donation or simply don't feel like it, that's no problem at all. NavList donations generally support 38Talk, too. A quick thanks to those 38Talk members who have already contributed!! It really helps.
Conanicut Island USA