Do you remember back in two-thousand-and-two?
The internet was still relatively new
Our hearts were still young and strong and true

Oh-a-oh

I moderated several busy message boards
Supporting horror was the goal we headed toward
Now there is a different game in store

Oh-a-oh
Social Media killed the message board star
Social Media killed the message board star
Facebook came and broke my heart

And so I lurk at an abandoned forum rink
Photobucket has broken all the links
If you ask me the situation stinks

Oh-a-oh
It was a great time
Oh-a-oh
But now a late time

Social Media killed the message board star
Social Media killed the message board star
Facebook came and broke my heart

In my mind and at my desk
We can't delete we've left the nest
Put the blame on the beta test

Oh-a-oh-oh-oh

Now advertisers watch everything I do
And all the authors beg for Amazon reviews
It makes me feel so lonely and confused

You are
a message board sta-a-a--ar




When did the Internet become so ugly?

I started Horror Drive-In as a nostalgia site devoted to horror fiction, exploitation movies, and drive-in theaters. Now I'm nostalgic for the days when the site was new.

I've been doing this stuff for--has it really almost been twenty years? How many hours have I spend pecking away at a keyboard, talking horror?

It was a lot of fun. Especially in the early days, when it was something new to be able to talk with people around the globe about horror. I was instantly hooked.

And from almost the start, I saw amazing success with message boards. The first board I moderated is still probably the best memory. I went on to do more, and my boards were always crowded.

Most people were really cool, too. A few problems here and there, but they were very few and very far between.

How did it all change?

The big sites grew more and more popular. Facebook was and is still the biggest, and that's where almost all my old friends have fled to. A few still hang out at the boards, God bless 'em. Some have disappeared altogether. I guess they finally grew up and didn't care to play any more.

I think a big part of it is, people didn't like having others moderate their posts. Everyone is his or her own boss at Facebook. Arguments are easily won. Delete offending posts or unfriend the offending user. With Facebook, everyone is the star of their own reality TV show, and their delighted fans can read about how tired they are, how work sucks, what's for dinner, and of course their prized political opinions.

Authors can self promo all they want without getting called down for it, as occasionally happened at the boards. And, yes, they can urge their readers to write Amazon reviews.

Remember when writers used to bitch that all readers were owed were the actual books they purchased? This happened when readers claimed that writers owed their success to their readers. Now buying a book isn't enough, we are supposed to write reviews for them, too. You got a royalty, and now I have to do that? What else can I do? Wash your car? Mow your yard?

All right, I get it. I seriously doubt that writers enjoy asking their readers to write Amazon reviews. It's the way the game is played today. I don't have to like it, and I don't, in fact, like it. I don't do Amazon reviews. I can barely respond to the emails I get, and I don't have time to write reviews for my own site, so why would I bother to do so at a webstore I despise?

Like I say, the rules have all changed. Amazon, social media, smart phones. People are getting rich off this shit, but I guarantee it isn't me, and I bet you aren't exactly floating in cash either.

I busted my damned ass in the early days of Horror Drive-In. Writing essays, reviewing books and movies, keeping the message boards active. I had hopes that it might all come to something. Why not? I had very respectable numbers in the first few years of the site's existence. I hoped for ad revenue, but I have gotten very little. People told me that I had to pursue that kind of thing, but I have no idea how to go about that. Now numbers are down, of course, because my uploads have been far more infrequent.

I often feel like I have wasted my damned time. Like all the work I've done, the time I've put in, hasn't amounted to a hill of beans. Then I tell myself to stop with the self pity.

I seriously doubt that I would be with Cemetery Dance if it weren't for Horror Drive-In. I've met some of the best friends of my life through Horror Drive-In But still...

I point to Facebook as part of the blame, but I'm as guilty as anyone. I use Facebook probably more than I do the HD-I forum. It's easier to post pictures there for one thing. And I get a lot more comments about how people love my Reading in the Great Outdoors posts at Facebook than I get feedback about Horror Drive-In these days.

Times change. People change. Trends change. I feel out of touch with most horror fiction these days. People at the Drive-In boards want to talk about TV shows and superhero movies instead of classic exploitation pictures. I don't blame them, and I am not the sort to tell people what to talk about.

I think some people left in disgust. There were problems and some felt that I didn't handle them in the proper way. But let me tell you something: when shit gets ugly at the boards, nothing a moderator does will please everyone, and no matter what course you take, people will be complaining or talking crap about you for your actions. It's goddamn thankless.

I've all but stopped using the boards. Things just don't seem the same. People get testy too easily, and I am not just pointing fingers. I'm as guilty as others. We have more stimuli and experiences at our fingertips than most of us ever imagined, and people have just gotten angrier and more self righteous.

My domain contract is over at the end of the year, and once again I am toying with the idea of letting it go. People tell me I'd miss it, and they're right. But I am also not much enjoying Horror Drive-In anymore.

It makes me want to shuck it all and just read like the old days. Which is pretty much what I've been doing.

I've accepted donations in the past to keep this website afloat. This time I am going to either pay for it all myself, or simply let it go. I'm one of the last of the old school message boards still going, but everything has to end sometime, doesn't it?

Though my time is more limited than ever, I'll try some more over the next few months left in twenty-seventeen. I'll try to get motivated to write reviews. To post at the forums. Maybe some of the old enthusiasm will return. If not?

We'll see.