Congratulations on your new job (managing Community Geeks) and thanks for the link to your new article.
I agree that forums will always be useful for certain needs. I grew up with listserves, and they are still useful for slightly different needs.
To me, one key distinction is whether the online community has a commercial intent to it or not. Is some company sponsoring it for their bottom line purposes. Or is it a group of hobbyists or independent professionals that are both the sole participants and beneficiaries.
Another key distinction is how often do people want to participate? Every day, all day long, or just once a month. Is this topic their main focus in work or life, or a causal side interest.
I think mobile devices are going to heavily influence the "forum" of the future. The small screens and awkward keyboards are going to impact what works. Maybe audios or videos will be the currency of the future, as opposed to text.
And maybe the successful online communities of the future are built upon several platforms at the same time. With different types of messages upon each. And people will pick and choose the platform based upon factors like what device they are using at that moment, or how much time they have to devote to the task. Whether they want to graze on new information or dig deep into researching a topic.
There are lots of levels and angles to online communities, and different tools to meet people where they are. For the most part, Community Managers should not really care what the platform is, just that it's the best platform, considering all the trade offs that need to be made.
mark david mcCreary