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I have seen a couple of instances of strong web communities (one on ning, one on heaven-knows-what forum software) stagnate and die because everyone is reinventing the wheel with groups on Facebook.

The Facebook version is much less serviceable, primarily because the content is so ephemeral, and not searchable, but there are also issues with ownership of content.

The community that I am trying to foster (on Drupal + CiviCRM) is at an even greater disadvantage because in eight years it has never reached a high level of engagement in a non-technical sector.

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    Oh good question -- I'm on mailing lists that have also been migrating there and it's really frustrating because of the downgrade in usability. I look forward to seeing what answers show up here. Thanks for asking, and welcome to Community Building. – Monica Cellio Feb 2 '15 at 2:07
  • Could you elaborate how they are not engaging? You mentioned that they don't engage in a non technical sector so as I understood it they do engage as long as they are talking about technical topics related to your site? – loiro Oct 2 '15 at 9:56
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Depending on your niche, your site can be more beneficial than Facebook just by providing a search function. Couple that with articles (e.g. reviews, white papers) describing your niche, and providing unique content (photo gallery, contests, polls, etc.) can engage viewers and increase registrations. There is no SEO solution to cure Facebook ills, it takes good content, and getting the word out about your good content. Some sites will advertise on Facebook to promote their message board or forum content, but I haven't seen that work very well. You may get a lot of likes to your Facebook page, but I've yet to see it improve a forum's registration numbers.

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