The Real Paul Jones

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Misc #noemail : RSS for Groups, USENET, Why email was once used

Paul, · Categories: #noemail

In a comment below, Tanner asks about RSS in Google Groups and Yahoo! Groups. Both support RSS. For Yahoo! Groups, there is good support for RSS. Help here.. Google Groups seems to handle RSS well as well. Help for Google Groups and RSS here. Mailman/pipermail = Ugh! After many years of code sitting out there and all other modern services providing RSS.

Jim Ellis one of the fathers of USENET circa 1979

Jim Ellis one of the fathers of USENET circa 1979

Nassib Nassar and John Reuning reminded me of how USENET News was once the cesspit that email now is. In the past year, the two universities where USENET was first implemented, UNC and Duke, both turned off that service after 30 years of useful networking. Why? Basically the same reasons that I’ve started #noemail :

Duke didn’t decide to terminate its Usenet server based on piracy. Instead, the relic will be laid to rest thanks to low usage and rising costs. Applications such as Twitter, blogs, RSS feeds, Facebook and more have made communication a bit more user-friendly since the days of Usenet, making it obsolete.

Colleague Rob Capra reminds me what email displaced and why as seen back in 1988 in a paper by Mary Sumner titled “The impact of electronic mail on managerial and organizational communications”. The results showed that electronic mail was used extensively to displace phone calls and memos particularly for ôorganizingö activities, such as scheduling events, asking questions, and providing feedback.

I note that email is now one of the worst tools for each of these activities. Scheduling is better done by shared calendars or services like Tuggle and Doodle. Questions better answered directly in IM or chat, more widely asked by Hunch and Quora, or generally discovered by search engines. Feedback on documents and presentation slides by Google documents or other collaborative environments.

Robbie Hedge writes about spam and who handles it how. By “who” he means which email service provider like AOL, Hotmail, Gmail etc. Nice quick charts and some explanations and some good questions raised. But many of those questions are answered nicely and wittily by The Oatmeal in “What your email address says about your computer skills.”

What does “Please don’t email me, but use most anything else.” say?

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