Reputable companies, like Pew Research, have been digging to find the truth about how people use various forms of social media. Their conclusions might surprise you. Despite the fact that the mega corps Facebook and Twitter have massive memberships, which are presently at 1.35 billion and 232 million, respectively, Internet forums still lead the pack in other areas. As online gambling continues to grow, forums will remain an integral part of the industry. Spiral of Silence Not surprisingly, the biggest reason why people use social media outlets is because they enjoy looking at photos and videos posted by their friends. Therefore, it’s no wonder that people will be tight-lipped about discussing hot-button topics or saying anything that could paint them in a negative light. This withholding of information and opinions due to fear of isolation is referred to as “The Spiral of Silence” and Pew Research has studied the effect extensively. In one survey, they asked participants about a highly-debated current event and found that 86 percent of people would discuss it in person, but only 42 percent would discuss it on Facebook or Twitter. The survey also found that the more a person believed their friends and family would agree with them, the more likely they were to speak up. This is what makes online forums, especially those that discuss sensitive issues, a much better venue than larger social media networks. Being among like-minded people, without the fear of wondering what family, friends, and employers may say, encourages people to openly disclose information. While a person may not share on Facebook that they lost hundreds of dollars to a rogue casino, they’re much more willing to warn others of the casino’s practices on a forum. The same thing can be said of those who like to tuck their winnings away for their own personal use. They may not want to announce to friends and family that they gamble, or that they’ve recently come into a tidy sum of cash, but they’ll probably share it excitedly among their forum comrades. Because gambling forums break the spiral of silence, you benefit from first-hand knowledge that is provided by other players. Trust The gambling industry relies heavily on trust. After all, you’re handing over your hard-earned cash and expecting the casino to not only pay back a certain amount of funds in winnings, but also to honor their agreements and to pay you in a hassle-free manner within a reasonable amount of time. Although most, if not all, online casinos have written contracts which detail their processes, there’s no way to know for sure if they will honor it. This means that you can either play at your own risk, or you can find reviews from your peers to verify the reputation of the company. When you’re a member of a forum, you’re part of a community, and you’re able to discuss these issues with people you know and can trust. They’re not nameless, faceless, corporate entities. They’re real people who gamble online, just like you do. Moreover, you’re able to compare notes with a multitude of people who have no vested interest in whether a casino retains your business. In this respect, gambling forums provide a service similar to Amazon reviews. Archive Another beautiful thing about online forums is that they archive all the discussions for later reference. If you’re curious about the track record of a casino, you’ll find the true history of it, written as events occurred. Current Events A 2011 New York Times article discusses the death of online forums. In it, the author hypothesizes that many forums die because everything about their niche topic has been discussed. In truth, this may be why many forums slip away into obscurity. However, the face of online gambling is always changing. Laws are amended, new games are released, companies are launched, promotions are added and the list goes on. There are very few industries which have immunity from “forum death,” but online gambling is certainly among them. Forum Use Overall, forums are one of the most trusted and widely-used sources of information online. Other research indicates that people use online forums more than LinkedIn, Google+, blogs, Twitter, and even Facebook. In total, 67 percent of people asked believe that online forums are the most valuable media tool available. They’re also considered to be the preferred method of interactive communication and are expected to have the greatest growth of any social media outlet in the coming year. Gambling Forums Not all online gambling forums are created equally and as such, you’ll find a wide variance in what each one provides. At a minimum, they all offer some form of community, as well as information. However, as you click through the pages of Bonus Paradise, you’ll find much more, including: Gambling how-to guides Casino promotions, offers, and bonuses Reviews from your peers, as well as staff, of online casinos, software providers, and individual casino games Free cash contests Information on gambling-related news and current events Unbiased and forthright discussions related to gambling Community and a sense of belonging To paraphrase a common verse, the only thing that’s constant is change. This is true now more than ever in the world of online gambling. The European Commission reports that they’re seeing an average annual growth of 15 percent in the industry. As laws become less restrictive in places like the U.S., there will be massive booms in online gambling. While this is certainly good news for casino operators and software developers, it’s the best-possible news a player can hear. Games and websites are likely to have huge developments in technology and become even more user-focused. As individual companies compete to provide the most lucrative welcome bonuses and loyalty programs for their members, gamblers are going to win big-time. Naturally, the best and all-inclusive listings of these incentives, as well as unbiased information, will be found on forum pages. As the online gambling industry grows, so will gambling forums as they continue to provide players with the most up-to-date information.