Compared to the astounding growth of online social media, the popularity of "old school" text-based discussion forums appeared to be fading. Not any more; ProBoards, the largest free forum host on the internet, is breathing new life into the venerable message board.

While today's Internet discussion board bears little resemblance to its progenitor, the BBS or, bulletin board system, forum developers have done little to incorporate the remarkable advancements of social media and Web 2.0 technology. Enlightened industry maverick Patrick Clinger, CEO of ProBoards, is putting a stop to that nonsense.

As a panelist on ForumCon's recent "Future of Forums" roundtable and no stranger to firsts in this space, Clinger has been in the fore of forum development since scripting his first message board 14 years ago and could be considered the primary architect of the next generation of online discussion boards.

With the imminent release of ProBoards new "PBv5" online forum hosting platform, expectations are forum enthusiasts will be thrilled by the marriage of an interactive AJAX'y, Web 2.0 environment with the traditional functionality of feature rich discussion forums. Engagement is now the operative word.

Gone are the days wondering whether or not others interacted with content you posted. In PBv5, users will receive "notifications" when fellow forum members have 'liked', 'tagged', or 'quoted' them. Further, using PBv5's "activity feeds," users can follow friends, see which topics they've participated in, read posts they 'liked' and much more, keeping them engaged and connected to interesting discussions as they develop.

Just a few of the Web 2.0 advancements users will enjoy include...

Upgraded search capabilities; alone in their provision of an AJAX driven "live-search" tool where results update as the user types, ProBoards understands a key feature of online forums is the volumes of valuable topic-specific information contributed by experts and enthusiasts; thus making the new "data-mining" tool a boon to users.

Next-gen forum moderation tools; enables forum moderators to communicate privately about issues that may require action. Moderator input is stored in protected areas which can then be reviewed, discussed and acted upon by fellow moderators (issue warnings, ban users, disable accounts, take no action, etc).

A new WYSIWYG editor; included in PBv5 will be the most advanced post-editor of any free forum software on the market. The PBv5 user-friendly editor supports advanced style sheets (CSS) allowing for the creation of truly unique posting options.

As the social media miracle evolves, like-minded social media mavens continue to seek more empowering platforms to host their discourse. Through ProBoards dramatic evolution, CEO Clinger intends to usher the staid message board into the 21st century, bring people closer together, drive engagement, and sweeten the overall forum user experience.

With the official release of ProBoards' revolutionary new PBv5 forum software scheduled for later this year, early adopters have been signing up in droves to take the new "gold standard" of message boards for a test drive. For a taste of the future and a preview of ProBoards v5, go to