As I've written before, I've been a member of emakemeup.com (EMMU) since 2004 and I've been a member of makeupalley.com (MUA) for a similar length of time. Makeupalley is busier, has a more commercial approach and tends to have more transient posters (and also tends to have more, um, robust exchanges of views on the boards from time to time.) Members who post there regularly have buttons that they can flag up posts with inappropriate content, including people who post on makeup boards purely to promote their own goods, services or site (what's known as shilling.) EMMU is more closely monitored by the moderators for unkindness, as well as for shilling. It has a smaller, more family/friendship feel to it.
I've noticed that as blogs have proliferated in the past few years, EMMU has had less traffic. MUA still seems busy, but it's somewhat lost the community feel that it used to have a couple of years ago; I still have friends on the MUA boards but I'll recognise very few posters when I visit.
So, is there a place on the internet for both? If I love EMMU so much, why do I have my own blog? I think the answer to my first question is yes - there are people who don't have the time or the inclination to write a blog but still want to chat about makeup in a more social setting. A board is like an interactive letters page, where a blog is a column. There's room in a newspaper for both of those. With respect to the second question, I started my blog because I like writing, and I didn't want to be the person on a board who is always talking about herself and her purchases (on my blog, I feel like I can do that! I can also write longer posts on my blog than I would on a board.) As I've written before, I'm in the fortunate position where I have disposable income that I can choose to spend on quite expensive items. If a board is just filled with posts about expensive brands it can sometimes inhibit people from sharing their thoughts on less expensive brands, and there has to be room for both on a board.
I've also found that when my blog is referenced at either EMMU or MUA I get a spike in traffic, and of course that makes me happy. That has to go both ways though - if I discover something new or cool at EMMU (or MUA for that matter, although that tends to focus more on the bigger brands) I always credit it as the source; content mining on boards by bloggers is obvious, and the boards can get just as cross about this as another blogger would if you don't credit the place where you found the information. Not least of all it's pretty poor manners not to credit your source.
So, boards or blogs? Do you do both?