Would request you to throw most of your surplus resources and funding into getting new users and increasing the number of conversations. I think we are currently doing less than ten active conversations a day, and that includes past conversations that were activated. That's simply not enough to keep a large number of users interested for long. If we don't increase the number of topics (and variety), users will start dropping off.
As to "What Next?", anything gimmicky that attracts users (AMA, contests, debates etc.) is fine, as long as we seed a few conversations around related topics along with that (would be happy to help here). That would hopefully encourage a few new folks to stick around.
I think this is a bad idea. I understand that there is an audience that wants only updates and not discussions, but catering to both will be like running two separate businesses. But if you do plan to do it, there used to be a Wordpress plugin for Discourse (not sure how stable it is now). It would be great if you hook this separate website section with the forum so that it pulls people commenting there into the forum.
Oh, and yes. Can we do something about replacing the pink heart please? Call me sexist, but I cringe every time I need to like a post. A Thumbs Up would significantly increase my propensity to like a post.