In the Web 2.0 era… what role for message boards?

Back in web medieval times, chat rooms and message boards were considered cutting edge communication tools. Do they still have a role to play in this era of extraordinary interest in social networking sites?

Let’s consider one example of a message board at University at Buffalo. The “Ask Admissions” message board is alive and well and serves an important marketing research role. What questions are asked? How often do people view them?

A quick visit today shows responses to 13 topics so far in December. And of those topics (is this a surprise?) by far the highest interest area was “Tuition, Room, and Board” at 170 views. For comparision, the next highest view count was 76 for “Check the status of your application.”

Does the use rate tell us that message boards still have a role to play in online communications? My gut tells me they do. Visit, scan the topics and the view counts, and make your decisions.

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