As the old joke goes, the fastest communication channels in the world were once said to be telegraph, telephone or tell a women.  As a woman, two-way communication is a major part of my daily life, be it by email, text, social networking, mobile phone or face-to-face conversation.  I find all these methods interactive and allow an exchange of ideas, opinions and information: quickly.  When communicating with larger groups over any distance, near or far, I like the email Discussion list for its versatility.

A Discussion List allows the widespread distribution of information, ideas and opinions to many Internet users at once.  Organizations who use discussion lists find they can foster community involvement by giving everyone on the list an opportunity to share knowledge and contribute to the conversation.  In addition, the best part about a discussion list; the participates do not have to be in one place at a certain time, they can be anywhere in the country or in the world.  They can research what was said and answer any post as desired, when they desire too.

The mechanics of a discussion list are easy to understand. Discussion lists are segregated by topics or groups.  Generally, potential members subscribe to a discussion list online.  Some may join using email while others are placed on the list manually.  (With their permission of course!)  Once a subscriber, list members can post to the list via a web interface or  email.  If using a moderated list, the moderator approves the sent message before it appears on the list.  If non-moderated, the message is delivered to the other members when posted.

Members can select the format to receive and respond to posted messages.  They can receive an email of each post as it is made to the list, in an email digest of all posts made that day or that week, or read and respond to messages in a forum setting on the internet, searchable by topic or author.

Discussion lists using advanced email features such as offered by Dundee Internet, have numerous options that complement many communication arenas that are in use today.  Dundee internet hosted Discussion lists created in ListManager™ has the flexibility to:

  1. Create a Customize landing page
  2. Brand your list(s)
  3. Integrate into existing databases and websites
  4. Share photos
  5. Share files
  6. Run numerous discussion lists under one domain URL and brand, with one or many list administrators or resell services to others with all discussion list benefits.

Benefits of Discussion Lists

It’s been shown that most of us would rather receive information than go find it.  Internet users are no exception.  Discussion list subscribers seem to prefer receiving email than regularly visiting a Web site to search for new conversations, or information.  In fact numerically speaking, research supports the fact that world wide, list subscribers, in comparison to the biggest online communities such as FaceBook far out number all social network users.

Discussion lists can be used by everyone.  They support  the exchange of ideas and cooperation among people who can be:

  1. Young or old
  2. Savvy or not
  3. Dial up user or broadband consumer.
  4. Mobile or Touch Screen
  5. Reading Online or reading off line
  6. Traveling or sitting at home

Discussion lists are regularly used to foster community-building efforts, share information within an organization and facilitate conversation with customers.  They are an inexpensive yet priceless marketing tool. They are an excellent way of meeting goals because they easily handle:

  1. Everyday tasks
  2. Scheduling
  3. Notifications
  4. Group participation
  5. Feedback

Discussion List Features allow them to be:

  1. Straight forward, simple
  2. Complex running sophisticated applications
  3. Private with expiration dates on membership
  4. Administrated by one, many or no one.
  5. Public or not, set up as a private online community forum
  6. Searchable by archives using the subject, date or author
  7. Flexible, where the list administrator can allow users to set their own preferences
  8. Customized and branded
  9. An easy way to integrate subscriber information with other platforms

What’s out there?

There’s free discussion list hosting using ad supported platforms.  However free usually means you’ll be advertising for their vendors and partners.  Running banner ads regardless of where they are placed on the web page or in the email you’re reading, distract from messages, are unprofessional and in most cases appear as if your group is recommending the advertiser.  Free means you cannot customize the look of your forums, nor have total list control over your members, and there is virtually no support for substantial integration with other platforms.

Then there are paid hosting plans.  Before deciding which to use, consider the features and benefits you need, and will need for future growth. Consider all your requirements; do you need a branded discussion list, more than one list, several or one administrator, training for your staff, custom html skins, survey capabilities, searchable archives, moderated, secure from hackers, 24/7 support and total control of your members?  If so, try a no cost no obligation evaluation list with Dundee Internet Services, and start talking.

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