The Decline and Fall of Belly Dance Forums – BHUZ
I was very sad to discover, a few months ago, that the old Bhuz forums had gone offline*. It didn't surprise me, because I've been a member of many forums (not just for belly dance), and it doesn't seem to matter what the subject is - in recent years I've seen all of them become quieter and quieter.
It seems that everyone is shifting to Facebook or LinkedIn to discuss their interests. I can see why that is - after all, you're on Facebook or LinkedIn already, why not do everything in one place? But it's sad because as a result, we're all losing access to an enormous treasure trove of valuable information (because Facebook is not searchable like a forum is, and Facebook posts don't come up on Google search). I recently spoke to a crafts person who used to be on a felting forum. It closed down because everyone was using the fan page on Facebook instead - but she said she soon gave up on the Facebook page, because it was impossible to keep track of all the different projects, or scroll back to find a useful tip. So it might seem more convenient, but it isn't!
Belly dancer Rachael's experience sums it up well:
I was researching for an article I’m writing, looking for sources on the history of tannoura, and I ended up getting a lot of leads from old Bhuz threads. Foolishly, I just bookmarked the posts instead of copy-pasting, and now they are gone :'(
Here's another quote from Kyria:
My best memories of Bhuz are being a baby dancer and asking my very first question, and getting all excited when a Big Name Dancer replied to my question. Or buying a second hand costume from a dancer in America that fitted like a glove and realizing we were ‘body doubles’. Or that time when we discussed body measurements and how famous bellydancers never mention size, measurements or age, and a Big Name Dancer chimed in to post her measurements and age.
As for me - I can remember many times when I've Googled to find out what a song meant, and the answers were all Bhuz threads! Apparently there was a very famous thread about how to do jewels, I'm so sorry I'll never be able to read it now. Then of course there were the "challenges" . . .
* For those who want to know the background, here is the message that was posted about the closure of Bhuz:
Regarding the Bhuz forums: After several years of declining participation (and two years of ad revenue that fell way short of covering surprisingly large expenses) my mom, Rosey, the owner of Bhuz.com, decided to step away from the site.
Thanks for being a part of Bhuz. Personally, it was an amazing retirement job for my mom. She learned to code, she indulged her love of sparkly shiny things, and she developed relationships with many of you. She wants you to know that she is now happily raising ducklings, listening to opera, and enjoying her grandchildren.
The site has been saved to a hard drive for archival purposes. I am working on a new (much less elaborate) iteration of Bhuz, but since Facebook has made forums obsolete, it will be more of a reference site than anything else.
Panjo, the sales app, will still maintain the swap meet (http://www.panjo.com/p/bhuz)
Please stay in touch with your Bhuz friends on this Facebook page if you haven’t already.
Wishing you happy dancing,
Jessica Hannan Sultan