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Let’s face it, most gun blogs aren’t very interactive and many are stuck in the stone-age when it comes to technology and social networking. It’s 2012 and the internet has been around for a while, yet I still see major gun blogs that offer their users little more than a basic text commenting system. Often, users who wish to communicate with each other are forced to talk back in forth through comments, until one of them finally posts his or her email address publicly and says “Just email me so we can talk about that in private”. Seriously folks, we are talking about major gun blogs that offer stone-age commenting systems as the only way of interacting with other users and the blog itself!
Most gun blogs that allow things like threaded comments, user profiles, and private messaging between users are still mostly in the bronze-age, and can hardly be considered true social networks. Perhaps more important is the fact that many gun blogs are downright messy, covered in blinking ads, and hard to navigate. I’m always asking people, “What do you think of most gun websites? Are they messy or clean? Are they easy to use or hard to use?” The answers I get are immediate and nearly universal… “Most of them are old, messy, and hard to navigate, I wish there were some better ones!”
Gun blogs revolve around one or more bloggers writing articles (or in many cases, just rehashing material from other blogs). Gun message boards (aka gun forums) are often closer to a true social networking community. Gun message boards generally allow users to build at least a basic profile, post pictures and videos, send private messages to other users, and even maintain a simple blog within their profile. However, gun message boards have been around forever and one look at most of them confirms this… messy 1990s appearance, hard to navigate, out-dated software, covered in ads, spam, politics, censorship issues, and other off-topic distractions. If you’ve ever spent time on a gun message board or any message board, you are familiar with these issues and you know the conversations are often dominated by arguments, sniping (pun intended), hot air, off-topic tangents, censorship, and so on.
So, that brings us to the subject of social networking and why gun blogs and gun message boards are not social networks, at least not by any present-day standard. Social networks are about personal identity and person-to-person interaction above all else. Gun blogs revolve around articles (whether original or borrowed from somewhere else). Gun message boards revolve around topic-based conversations. The very foundation of a social network is the individual users. While it is true Smokeandthunder.com has both a blog and a message board, these things are secondary. Smokeandthunder.com offers a modern, full-featured, social networking environment to everyone. Best of all, it revolves around you… the individual user.
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