Mostly the internet is driven by greed. Everyone wants to get a piece of that intangible pot of gold that we're all led to believe is out there in the ether. but you're right, trend cycles have a lot to do with the current state of things. Aside: I really get tired of all the terms flying around. Everyone keeps talking about the competition between forums and social media or social networking. Just to clarify, forums are, by definition, social media and being a member of a forum is being part of a social network. Amazing, I know, but for all these years we've actually been the trend setters. Facebook or forums; they are all part of the same thing. Of course it is. As soon as you monetize something like the web, you create a need for more traffic. Page views are what is important, not what's on those pages. But that isn't the issue with Facebook vs forums. There are probably some really good discussion groups on FB, just as there are some pretty shallow and useless forums. What Facebook understands is that people are lazy and the more you spoon feed them, the more complacent they become. In the early days of the internet and web (for those of us who remember it) innovation was everywhere. No two sites were the same and everyone loved the adventure of exploring new places and learning new things. Your computer was like the Enterprise (Come on, there has to be one Star Trek reference in a post this long!) taking you on a journey to new worlds. Now we've become lazy and complacent about it all. No one finds it amazing to be sitting in your underwear at your computer in Moose Jaw, sharing ideas with someone in Reykjavík. We no longer want to explore or figure out new sites and new ways of doing things. Joining six different forums means six passwords and having to learn the rules and structure of each forum. Enter Facebook, the McDonalds of the web. All your groups and all your contacts and all your everything under one roof with one sign-on and one interface. Sure it's pretty bland and sterile and most of the people there are idiots, but once you learn how to get around on it, you don't have to think any more. So we stay and be just like everybody else. I don't really think there's much of a competition here. Good quality niche forums will continue while those that are too shallow and unfocussed will fade away. It's harder to attract new members now because people no longer join a forum just because it looks cool. But if it provides good content and a good atmosphere, it will still grow slowly. And in time people will get bored with the sameness of Facebook and it's like and start moving back to the individual sites. At least until a new Facebook arrives.