listservs need to die cold and alone
Intra-Office communication is stuck in the 80s.
If you look up listservs on the internet it mentions something about how they were invented in dinosaur times and how cave men use to rely on them to get the most accurate mammoth hunting information.
So basically, listservs need to die. They’re a 20 year old technology that frankly just annoys people now. 99% of the emails I get through our faculty listserv don’t apply to me. I don’t care if a printer in another building that I have nothing to do with isn’t working, or if someone else is thanking someone for helping them out. That’s part of a private conversation, not meant to be read by two hundred people. It’s nice that they want to share their sentiments, but its an inefficient use of anyone’s time to have to filter through dozens of emails with only one or two of them being the slightest bit relavent.
So what do we do?
The answer is pretty obvious: Kill the mailing list and stand watch over its cold dead corpse so that no one will ever have to deal with it again.
Now the question becomes, how do I get a message out to everyone in my office or faculty without using a mailing list?
Well, hmmm, lets see. The greatest thing about the internet today is that we have the ability to aggregate information that is personally relavent to us. If I want to subscribe to a feed that tells me when toilets aren’t working, or another one that talks about colleagues accomplishments, or another one that talks about upcoming events, then I can. Perhaps this just means more compartmentalisation. I realize that the whole thing about a mailing list is that its administered locally and that the institution that oversees it has control over the content and has some measure of protection as far as privacy and content go, but honestly, that’s not the world we live in. In my personal life, you know how many emails I send vs tweets, FB messages and SMSs? not many, so campus and office worlds needs to catch up and capitalize on this, and frankly, let go of that anal level of control they want to have over content.
The answer: find a service that works for you. Do multiple blogs, do blogs with tags, do a twitter feed, do 30 twitter feeds, as long as there’s a way for the recipients to choose the content they receive and not just get blanketed with every single little detail about a topic they care nothing about, you’re on the right track.