and the core reason ... is that social media didn't exist in the 90s so all you had was BBS systems and forums
The other thing I want to mention is that not only was social media not in existence back in the 90s, but a large majority of the internet userbase wasn't on the internet either. The "tech savviness" of the average internet consumer has gone down purely due to numbers and the fact that it is much easier to get on the internet at all.
It's a huge boon to humanity overall, but it does mean that from a sociological point of view, we also move from long-form content (news journalism, long forum threads, etc.) to short-form content (e.g. what I had for breakfast, tiktok challenges).
To wit; the latest trend in social media is shorts... quite literally the opposite of long-form content. Instagram Reels, Youtube Shorts, TikTok... Twitter literally started the trend with tweets with a maximum character count. Quantity over quality. The why is straightforward... short content is easier to produce and consume. It is easy to fire off a tweet or share a livestream, it's harder to sit down and elucidate your thoughts on something that is important to you.
However, I am loathe to expand on this point further because that would be the research territory of people much smarter than I
I will say this, however... I refuse to believe that humanity will stoop to the lowest common denominator. Yes, maybe we'll go through phases where we just send memes to one another, but we will always rise above and return to a medium where long-form content is shared and appreciated. We will always need long-form journalism, and yes, even forum software for in-depth discussion.
Perhaps I am still naive and optimistic, but I refuse to believe that this is our future: