Facebook and Twitter aren't as effective for keeping up with multiple discussions over an extended time frame. Reddit is a relative of traditional forums, but you won't see threads that stay active for over a decade or any that have a pulse longer than a day or two on busier subreddits. You can't exactly bump a thread to resuscitate it there either.
One key thing Reddit does have in common with message boards is the importance of moderators. There were only a few of them steering the FFPB ship. They were terrific and pretty lenient, as long as you weren't a total jerk. They were vital guiding lights for that postboard, and they made sure it felt like arriving home every time I logged in.
That's not to say you can't find your community on social media, though. Many, many folks have. Facebook Groups, for one thing, are thriving. Effective moderation can keep everyone in check there too, and place a lid on the toxicity that plagues the public side of the internet. "Often, what you actually want is an authoritative stranger, responding to your specific query, speaking from their experience, but with no strings attached, no connections, no fear of seeing them in the grocery store and them asking if you took their advice," Anne Helen Petersen wrote for BuzzFeed News last year. "The opposite, in other words, of the rest of the Facebook feed."
I've been pondering what it might have been like to grow up on the internet if I were a teenager in 2020 and hadn't found my village. I might have been sucked even deeper into the unmoderated chaos of social platforms, where there's an unspoken expectation to act performatively instead of as our authentic selves.
Without adequate moderation or stringent enough rules, it's all too evident that bad actors poison the well, sow division and spread misinformation. Those lead people to have ideologies and perspectives that are harmful to society. I'm all for free speech, but we'd still all be better off with reasonable moderators refusing to let people be dicks.
In any case, my brain jives best with the order and structure of well-moderated message boards. They'll still be around for a long time to some degree, because many folks like me still prefer them to social platforms. They're simply the best spaces for niche discussion groups that blossom into fully-formed communities.
The FFPB may be gone, but all is not lost: one of the moderators has set up an unofficial postboard for the remaining members. I'm really glad that the community will stick together in some form, and I have my fingers crossed others who found a safe space on message boards can keep theirs together too, including those PlayStation Forums members. If they can follow the example of the FFPB and move to a new forum, where they have to write out a response instead of half-heartedly clicking a like button, I bet the community will continue to flourish. It just won't be as visible as it used to be.