Even with the many different social tools available, email is still the number one choice for online communications.  Email becomes a more valuable tool when this communication is between smaller groups, like committees and project planning teams.  These groups typically include individuals that are interested, not only in the main subject but also in specific issues that support it. One such organization that has found email discussion lists an essential tool for planning events is the Old Mill Museum located in Dundee Michigan

The Old Mill Museum, a nonprofit organization, hosts various events throughout the year to support the historic Henry Ford Old Mill Museum. oldmill To organize these events, such as the upcoming Para-fest, Old Mill Museum committee members rely on email discussion lists to organize and plan this event.  They have searchable archives from the previous years to research, they know who needs to do what and when, and all the while list members are updated on the progress of each committee, who utilize a smaller “committee” discussion list to organize their piece of the affair.   Additionally, they use their Old Mill opted-in announcement mailing list to invite the segment of subscribers interested in this event, easily selling advanced tickets and emailing discount coupons.

Why does the Old Mill use discussion lists, why not forums, which are more popular and usually free.   They do so because of all the items mention in Is Your Discussion List On All The Popular Search Engines?  (AND)  the Old Mill Museum mailing lists are used by the Staff, volunteers and as a vehicle to send announcements to interested parties.  Plus, there is privacy.  The main discussion list, intended for official Mill communication, is a totally private moderated list.  Their opted-in announcement list is open membership, because one can never have enough subscribers..

Organizations such as The Old Mill Museum, prefer communicating using discussion lists over forums for some of the following reasons:

  1. A list member can effectively filter incoming email to go directly into a labeled folder, making email more of a manageable communication tool than its forum competitor
  2. List members do not need to have several different accounts if they are interested in different subjects, or if they are on different committees in the same organization.  They just need to send an email to join or can be added by a list administrator.  Forums require a user to create an account and password, and to use that information each time they visit.
  3. A list administrator can add and/or remove a list member when needed, or the member can unsubscribe themselves.  Forums on the other hand, normally don’t readily support this behavior.
  4. Different discussions within the same mailing list can be split into various parts to cover different issues. The list member can choose to read and answer an email by topic. Forum members have to log into their Forum website and look for the discussions they are part of.
  5. Every member on the mailing list receives the conversation (they only have to choose to read it, answer it, file it, or discard it).  Forum members need to remember to visit the web forum during the week to participate.
  6. Mailing lists are flexible. Members can select the web browser of their choice, receive list email directly delivered to their inbox or log into a web interface to access the list.
  7. In additions Discussion Lists do not demand a great investment in time.  They are pretty straight forward and run on, for the most part universal commands.  Forums utilize a different type of software platforms; commands are not universal from one forum to the next.
  8. Then there’s SPAM. Forums are a more lucrative target for spammers than discussion lists because the spammer can add links to the forum site, which when picked up by search engines are indexed and listed.  This can really screw up your SEO if that’s what you were going for.

Discussion lists really don’t have the same type and level of SPAM issues that forums have.  Members are opted-in, unless you subscribe a spammer to your list, SPAM is not a normally a problem.

And one of the most important features the Old Mill Museum enjoys  while using Discussion and Announcement Lists hosted by Dundee Internet; their mailing list leaves the control to its users, while a forum locks their members in with the restricted features it provides,

If you would like to explore the advantages of having your own, private, moderated (or nonmoderated) discussion list just click on this link, fill out the form and we will set up a no obligation demo list for you.  Test it, evaluate it, use it. You’ll find its easy and your list members will love it.

 

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