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Mailing Lists versus Forums: Community, Convenience & Closeness


The way we communicate in groups online naturally changes as our technology evolves. We cannot assume that a technology or format that worked in one decade will work as well in the next.

And yet, there’s a reason why some technologies persist, despite alternatives that seem to offer additional benefits. Email is still with us (and seems likely it will always be, in one form or another), largely because of its asynchronous and convenient nature. Unlike so many other newer online technologies and services that seem to demand our real-time attention, email is happy to be exist in the background on our computers and mobile devices, ready to be reviewed in batches when our time permits.

Yet time and time again, organizations seem to face the same common conundrum — now that we’ve “outgrown” our mailing list, how do we move our organization to an online forum?

Let’s review the benefits and drawbacks of different ways people communicate online today in groups, and see if we can’t answer why mailing lists remain popular, despite their flaws.

 

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