For a long time, I’ve debated over having a message board system. My excuse was always “I wouldn’t have the time to properly nurture and take care of it.”
But I could never stop thinking about the potential benefits of having a message board (also called BBS or forum). It would make some things convenient, such as exhibition and event notices submitted directly by users. An online community might also develop. I’m not too confident about seeing an active online community develop because Japanese photography is not exactly a hot topic except for camera owners seeking support and people outside Japan wanting to know camera prices in Japan.
So all I can do is give it a shot and see how it goes.
I was very fortunate to have a friend tell me about this terrific message board software called phpbb. It’s so good (and secure) that it makes it fun to operate a message board. Out of all the great features it has, I like the multilingual support the best. This is really important for bilingual people like me. Registered users can set the message board’s user interface to any of the major languages of the world including Japanese. You can type Japanese anywhere on this message board.
And since this message board is hosted by PhotoGuide Japan instead of a third party (like Yahoo Groups), we have complete control over everything.
Right now there are 10 or so different message boards under PhotoBBS. I can add more at anytime. If there is a demand, I can even create a private (or public) message board for special interest groups. It could be area-based (such as for photographers in Hokkaido, Osaka, Kyushu, etc.), subject-based (such as Japanese vintage photography), or occupation-based (postcard collectors, women photographers in Japan, etc.). So if you know a bunch of like-minded friends looking for a good (and free) message board to join, consider PhotoGuide Japan’s PhotoBBS.
The possibilities and potential benefits are too many to ignore. So finally, our first message board system. Hope you like it and use it!
Update: PhotoBBS was shut down and replaced by PhotoGuide Japan News in July 2010.