[Air-L] Death to lists?

Warren Allen wsa25 at drexel.edu
Mon Jun 29 07:39:53 PDT 2009

Alex, I share your sentiment that the blogosphere and twitterverse are
unlikely to displace a good list, but I think there is something
undeniable about some of the “social” features of (staying with
Terry’s example) virtual community technology like Ning.  On the other
hand (and I am speaking anecdotally here) for every email list that
has had its death knell rung by a blog, wiki, or social network site,
there’s a “Web 2.0” space that comes roaring out of the gate, only to
die in a hot second.  I think I’m agreeing with Terry when I wonder
aloud what this will look like in just three years.

Some more thoughts, while I’m at the keys: I think it is patently
wrongheaded to turn to some of the recent social media platforms as
the logical successor of the email list, which will, I think, lose its
prominence but retain some use in the coming years.  Don’t get me
wrong, I’d love to go all Luis Suarez on my inbox; I get visibly
frustrated at the fact that my parents and my academics are the only
reasons I really need to check email as regularly (okay, obsessively)
as I do Facebook.  Twitter followers (and I’m not talking just to my
tweeps here, I mean anyone following the company/phenomenon) are
familiar with its limitations as well as its popularity.  But to
suggest this is the future of the seminar room or lecture hall seems
preposterous.  It is most certainly becoming the conference lobby,
though, and we all know how important the lobby is for the vibrancy of
a community.

Email is not dying as long as it remains the one de facto mode of
electronic communication, so lists based on email might survive on
that fact alone.  Academic communities that depend on email
*exclusively* may be heading that way, though, so yeah maybe a “change
or die” attitude is healthy at this point for lists like this one.
The way I see it, any evolution in communication and collaboration
that tweets and blogs are progenitor to still has a ways to go, but
it’s fun to watch it happen.


P.s. Case in point? While I composed this email, Eszter Hargattai
(@eszter) tweets the following: “Wondering if speakers at #pdf09 are
reflecting on including short catchy phrases in their talks to make
them more easily tweetable...”  Touche.


Warren Allen
Drexel iSchool Research Assistant
warren.allen at ischool.drexel.edu
AIM/Twitter/G: iSchoolWarren

On Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 9:06 AM, Alex Halavais<alex at halavais.net> wrote:
> Chronicle has an article suggesting that the e-mail list is dead as a
> form of scholarly communication. It quotes (twoutes?) an ex-AIR-Ler,
> David Silver, :
> http://beta.chronicle.com/article/Change-or-Die-Scholarly/46962/
> I find the discussion a bit surprising. I'm a great promoter of the
> scholarly potential for new forms of social media--blogs, microblogs,
> awareness applications, etc. I think some of that potential has been
> realized, but that there are significant ways in which these venues
> and tools can be further leveraged. That said, I don't see them as
> substantially displacing a good list.
> Am I wrong on this? The question isn't just about AIR-L. It's true,
> the number of lists I've been a subscriber to peaked in the late
> 1990s. It's also true that time I might have spent reading a list may
> now be channeled to reading other kinds of accumulations. But I think
> lists still have a lot of life in them. That is true of large lists
> like this one, but also much smaller efforts. Collaborations among
> distributed scholars still occur *mainly* over email and small email
> lists, no?
> Alex
> PS Please excuse my 1140 character post.
> --
> //
> // This email is
> // [ ] assumed public and may be blogged / forwarded.
> // [X] assumed to be private, please ask before redistributing.
> //
> // Alexander C. Halavais, ciberflâneur
> // http://alex.halavais.net
> //
> _______________________________________________
> The Air-L at listserv.aoir.org mailing list
> is provided by the Association of Internet Researchers http://aoir.org
> Subscribe, change options or unsubscribe at: http://listserv.aoir.org/listinfo.cgi/air-l-aoir.org
> Join the Association of Internet Researchers:
> http://www.aoir.org/

More information about the Air-L mailing list