In my previous post, I outlined the (in my opinion) glory days and slow change (some might even say decline) of email-based lists such as the Dinosaur Mailing List. That post ended with a question - what happened?
What Happened to Mailing Lists?
In short, the Internet matured. 10 or 15 years ago, mailing lists were really the only game in town (aside from a handful of themed chat rooms). If you were a dinosaur fan, you joined the Dinosaur Mailing List. Today, you can choose between the DML, various internet forums, social networks, and blogs. Simultaneously, the user community has exploded. Literally hundreds--and perhaps even thousands--of folks follow, comment, and create paleo content on the web every day. The conversation has not only moved, it has expanded into a variety of niches.
In the rest of this post, and the next post, I'll focus on two technologies in particular: social networking and blogs.
Social Networking and the Paleontologist
Over the past year or two, I have found that I get much of my informal news and gossip from Facebook. In fact, Facebook is the primary method of communication that I have with some colleagues, even above email. Facebook is quick, easy, and allows for real-time chat. Over the past few weeks, I learned nearly immediately who had SVP abstracts accepted and rejected, and often get up-to-the-minute reports of manuscript acceptances, fieldwork successes (and failures), and other details from status postings. At its best, Facebook provides a level of casual (sometimes too casual) interaction with many of my far-flung colleagues on a daily basis - a finger on the pulse of the community. The informal nature of Facebook and similar sites mean that, for now, it probably won't replace mailing lists for announcement of new papers or serious discussion. But, social networking sites certainly offer a fun and informative way to keep in touch with other paleo types.
Thoughts? Alternative Perspectives?
Coming up. . .Blogging and the Paleontological Community