Thursday, September 03, 2015

Facebook for Chess

Posted by GilaChess
Lately I noticed the decline in local chess blog postings. At one time, I boasted that even though it is accepted that Malaysian Chess is overall mediocre (sad fact), our chess blogs (30+) was very active, showing that even though our standards are not up to par, we are a country  crazy and passionate about chess.

Sadly, today there are few active bloggers. One reason may be Facebook.

Most of the chess updates, results and announcement goes thru the Facebook channel. I see many new tournaments announced via Facebook but not mentioned at all at any website. 

The reasons for this are:
  1. Easier to post to Facebook than on blogs/websites.
  2. Reach higher number of people faster now that Facebook is mainstream. Almost everybody has a Facebook account be it parents or even kids who play chess.
  3. The magic of "Like"s. Once a person clicks on like for a chess Facebook page, or post, any future postings will send a notification to that person again. In addition, few people will go back (or even know how to!) to  "unlike" an item, making this a permanent subscription to notifications from the publisher.
Let's take a look internationally.

This Facebook group has 11,000+ members. It's a good place to publicise any new International Chess Tournament. The traditional approach was to get into FIDE's calendar or press releases to prominent websites like Chessbase and Chessdom. Those methods are still effective but there is no denying Facebook is the other major important channel of publicity. I already posted here for the coming Malaysian Chess Festival.

Facebook Chess Groups

Here is the international version of "GilaChess" and it has over 8000 members.

No I didn't create it but I am a member :)

My own GilaChess closed group only has 500+ members which is relatively low considering some local chess groups have over 2000+ members. I am very selective as I do not approve members who do not have at least one friend in the group or is a "groupie" - someone who subscribes to over 20+ groups and is not really interested in chess.

So are chess blogs dead ?

Definitely not!

Blogs are a good place for  ideas and opinions to be shared. There is longevity of an idea or discussion in blogs. Conversations and discussions on Facebook do take place but are never to be seen again within a matter of days or even minutes.

Due to the power of search engines like Google and Bing, one blog post can be revisited for as long as it exists. This allows for continuous engagement over time.

For example I can easily find back say National Closed 2010 postings by Googling it because it exists as a blog. This is almost impossible if those posts were in Facebook. (It's by the way).

So there is a place for both Facebook and blogs/websites. For quick ad-hoc picture/result postings, Facebook is good. For a record of things, we need blogs/websites.

Facebook is easy. Blogs are hard

Another common reason is chess organisers find it easier posting updates on Facebook compared to websites.

Perhaps the solution for them is to use a service that allows all Facebook updates to automatically be posted on blogs/websites. Imagine the ease. Update your Facebook page and the website is updated with fresh content too. That takes care of the blog vs Facebook argument - just use both!

I was reminded by a chess friend that WhatsApp is another effective channel of communication to broadcast news and updates used by some chess community in the Klang Valley.