Discussion forums are one of the oldest forms of social networks, which originated from bulletin boards and are used to discuss very specific topics. According to O'Keefe, a forum is not the same as a Facebook page, Twitter profile, or blog, as people have to choose to follow you on those services. On the other hand, everyone can see what others have posted on a forum. This requires a different level of understanding and approach. If an agency or official is using social media to interact with the public, it has created a public forum.
In any of these forums, freedom of expression cannot be discriminated against due to the point of view it expresses. Most courts have ruled that when an agency or public official creates or uses a social media page or account for official government affairs, it has created a limited public forum. Blocking users of any government social media account is one of the most common ways to get into trouble. If your main objectives are to make direct sales proposals and attract traffic to your website or blog, forums won't be as effective as direct mail, email marketing, or traditional advertising. The First Amendment protects freedom of expression, but when someone speaks or posts in a forum, it affects how the right to expression and assembly is applied.
This is often the case for most public agencies and school districts that use their social media platforms for two-way communication. Agencies should also keep in mind that they are responsible for the social media pages of board members and draw the line between what they do on their own profiles and the official office page. This led a federal court in New York and the appellate court to conclude that the Twitter account had become a designated public forum. Social media is considered a public registry in all fifty states, which means that public agencies must capture the public records they create by posting and interacting with citizens online. It also ensures that you have a complete record of the activity on your page in case of any disputes, even if posts have been hidden or edited, or deleted. The Admin Zone is an online community of bulletin board owners and administrators dedicated to exchanging ideas and information related to managing bulletin board communities.
Each post on a forum or message board can include a signature line, like the one in your emails. In conclusion, online forums are indeed a form of social media. They provide an open platform for people to express their opinions without fear of discrimination due to their point of view. Furthermore, agencies must be aware that they are responsible for their social media pages and must capture any public records created by posting and interacting with citizens online.