Does email work anymore as a way to connect people who share the same interests, in the old-school Internet sense of the community that forms around a well-managed, well-moderated mailing list? I’m starting to think after having my inbox fill up with well-intentioned communications that the era of the mailing list is over, and with it the era of any other use for email except the purely transactional.
My email messages are relatively long (compared to IMs or tweets), relatively formal, and carefully composed. A single message will sit in my inbox for more than 24 hours before I feel ready to give it its due. In a world of instant messaging that looks more and more like an anachronism, as though I were pulling out a quill pen to communicate with when everyone else was merrily texting away.
I run some long-running mailing lists, and I’ve started to itch at the limitations of Yahoo Groups for community engagement and for attracting new people who don’t really want their inboxes to fill up with chit-chat. There must be a better way.
(Ironically, I’ll probably email this post out to one of those lists, and will get more comments back from the email than I will get from this blog.)