Recently, my wife and I were discussing various members we have seen come on here through the years. One of the most interesting things that we have noticed is that for each person that joins, no matter how active or how involved they become within the Forums, they phase out after awhile - they have a lifespan within the Community. It does not matter who they are, how much they have donated or what they originally came for, not even if they made hundreds of posts, eventually at one time or the other you just will not see them again. Many of these accounts were deleted in the past so you do not see a recorded number for them in the Membership lists, but their posts are still here as a monument to their past presence.
We then thought about how long a really active Member will last and the average seems to be about 8 months to a year. Others that are lukewarm last about a month or two and the few dedicated may last a little more than a year.
The main reason we have found for this phasing out period is life in general, life changes and so does their needs. The 'need' or 'want' that the Community once gave them does not do it for them anymore. Evidence of this can be seen in the Honor Club, both in past years and now… look at those voted, are they here still? Are they active? For some of those names and pictures you may even see members that you have never even heard of before.
Now, before you make any concrete claims, the purpose of this thread is to ask this question… How long do you think you will last before you begin to phase out? Before you answer, keep in mind that this will be recorded here and it will be evident in the future if you were correct in your claim. This is just an online Community geared towards learning and entertainment, but because we have a closer connection, because we are like family almost one would think that some would at least take the time to drop a line and say how they are doing, if even but once in a month or two. I have seen many, especially in their Intro threads declare many things which are really laughable now such as 'here to stay', 'I will always be active', 'Nothing bothers me I will post always', 'I am very constructive', and so on… yet, these same folks cannot be found at all. It is obvious that no one knows the future, or what it holds for you, but one thing is for sure, if your heart desires something because it makes you feel happy or good or at peace then you will seek it out.
This is a very interesting topic! I absolutely agree that when it comes to an "online community" that people filter in and out. There will be those that linger longer, but for the most part I think you're right. Everyone leaves. There is not a familial tie that holds online communities together (usually.) When I was on AOL, back a hundred years ago, I was there for about three years before leaving there to branch out across the 'net. The community I'm still at (somewhat) the one where I was an administrator I've been at for about two years and it's started to really bother me how everyone has to snipe at everyone else. Nobody can get along long enough to RP or be constructive. So -- now I am here. I don't even begin to say how long I will be here, but I am enjoying my time here so far. I hope to be here for a long while, but life, as we know it throws us curve balls when we least expect it.
I will say that the welcome I recieved was encouraging and the subsequent posts and follow-ups to my posts have been very heart-warming. I am very blessed to be a part of something bigger than myself.
I have honestly noticed this here as well as other places I have been. I have to be honest in saying that it doesn't seem to be nearly as short a lifespan here as most places. Myself, I like to think I will have a longer than average life span anywhere that I am including here. I will add that a year + definitely but I honestly would like to strive for over 2 years. Considering the attention that all of the staff here devotes their time to should really make it much easier here than most to expand the lifespan of member. The family environment does make a huge difference in that. Long story short, I will be here until I leave. :) But I do still plan on being around for quite a while.
When I get really involved in a community, I have a tendency to stay for awhile, as long as it is still "meeting my needs" as JB said in his first post. I'm on another RPG community that I have been apart of for six years. I hope that I will be around here for just as long, if not longer. There are quite a few changes I know I will be going through in the next two years, so I really can't say for sure, though. When I do end up leaving in the future, though, I doubt it will be because of boredom. There's too much to do to get bored.
No matter what happens, I hope that I'll still be in a position to check back and see how the community is going.
I am happy with everyone's response, not only because it was on target with reality, but because it also showed that nothing in Cyberspace can last for eternity save for friendships made and continued (after all I was married through the net) and things learned which stay with you always. Sadly, being the one to see all of it come to fruition online has not been easy, I have been very disappointed at times with lies, deceit and even pirates trying to copy and steal our stuff, let down and frustrated, but have come to accept it, especially some months ago when I changed my out look on a number of matters. To those of you who are here today, you have my gratitude.
|as long as it is still "meeting my needs"|
The one thing that this community has that others don't is staying power. Life on the forum filters to a crawl at some points, and not many people are posting during that time. But eventually, it roars back to life, like now, and lots of new things are posted and replied to. It gives forum users, like myself, the ability to slow down a bit and not get burned out. I already went through a phase in which, due to things happening in my life, I did not feel like posting. Now, I'm back and posting allot more again. But during that period, I wasn't around much. I don't know how long I'll stay, but I know I plan on keeping my current membership, or upgrading come income tax refund time. I love to talk about issues, and as long as they exist, as long as religion and politics exist, I can find a home here. But as with everything, it eventually loses is appeal, so I don't know that one can really predict how long they will stay. I know I can't.
**pout** LDS made me sound selfish. ;) That's not what I meant, exactly. What I meant by not meeting needs anymore is if coming here and posting no longer brings me any enjoyment. I enjoy coming here and participating. I do what I can, though lately I have been brain dead of religious topics to begin. But I still enjoy it. I enjoy looking for topics on the internet, trying to find things that I think would be enjoyable topics on the boards. I just wanted to clarify what I was talking about in regards to me. I didn't want anybody to think I was carrying the "It's all about me" attitude.
I do agree that some people probably leave because they feel that everything should be about them, and it isn't.
Edited: BabyBlues on 28th Dec, 2005 - 7:05pm