Some good points have been made here. I think of the Forum as the place to go for good up-to-date, in-depth information on any rose hybridizing topic. The search function is great. It’s possible to have a substantive conversation between real experts, and ordinary backyard hybridizers (like me!) can listen in. These conversations go back years and years, and span the entire world.
Facebook is the only social media platform I’ve used for rose purposes. Sharing photos is where it shines. It’s very easy to upload and give a brief amount of information. However, the nature of Facebook is that it’s ephemeral. Roses are jumbled in with all the other things we see from our Facebook friends and interest groups. It’s hard to focus on one subject or read a lengthy post on a complex topic. You see a friend’s rose seedling, admire and like, then scroll down and are distracted by something completely different. If you want to go back to something or ask a question later…good luck even finding that post.
I’ve been thinking about these changes too, Don, especially in reference to the RHA Newsletter. Looking at older (pre-internet) issues of the Newsletter, some of the information offered is very basic. Some of the questions that members had to wait three months for the next quarterly issue to have answered can now be answered in three seconds with a quick internet search. What is the role of the Forum in the age of social media? And what is the role of the printed/digital Newsletter in the age of the internet?
To my mind, all these ways of sharing rose hybridizing knowledge and joy must have their place. Social media is a place to share pictures par excellence and a way to invite new people to explore this wonderful pursuit. Some basic information can be shared, and basic questions answered, but it’s not a complete course in hybridizing, so to speak.
The Forum is a far better way to discuss ongoing rose hybridizing questions than the more primitive method of writing to the RHA editor and waiting for the next issue! Just imagine how widely information is now spread, and how many people have been blessed by it. The Forum is a multi-generational repository of knowledge. The fact that there are a lot of new learners joining us is a Good Thing. Stick with it, new friends, and you will soon get the hang of things. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Rose hybridizers are friendly and love to help out.
I think of the Newsletter as a distillation of all the good stuff to be found elsewhere. With social media and the Forum, a certain amount of sifting is involved to come to the substance and get coherent answers. The Newsletter offers all the rose hybridizing material boiled down to definite facts, experiences, expert advice. Unlike on Facebook (or other social media), your hybridizing question is not going to be answered in the Newsletter in 12 different ways by random people of doubtful experience.
As for using the Forum, easier uploading of photos might be helpful. I know I’ve accidentally managed to do it correctly sometimes! But I don’t know if that would bring more traffic back from Facebook to the Forum. I like Minutifolia (Brian’s) suggestions, as well as Plazbo’s idea of having topic categories. They have those on another forum I visit (for aquarium plants), and that makes it easy for a new person to find basic information.