The more technology advances, the stronger pull I feel towards older technology.
Open protocol stuff, such as email, owned domains, self-hosted open-source technology, SMS, RSS, and podcasts (which are based on RSS).
These things are built on technology that have withstood the test of time. They’re durable and hard to shut down.
Usually, they just work. And their lack of frills makes them elegant in their simplicity.
But there’s something timelessly appealing about the idea of a mastermind-like community that lives in your inbox. I’m being a bit romantic about this idea, so bear with me as I articulate it further.
Such a technology does exist. It’s called a “listserve” or “listserv”.
Originally known as Listserv, which is trademarked name for a software dating back to the 1980’s, is essentially a group email address.
You email it, and everyone on the list serve gets the email.
People can reply to all members of the group or you can allow people to reply directly to the sender for private responses.
A very small part of me wants to create a private community membership on a listserve. It’s probably not a practical idea, but I’ll continue waxing romantic if you’ll continue to indulge me.
Google Groups is a form of listserve, except they also host the conversations in the Google Group. I don’t want that.
I’d want the value of the community to be in the longevity of the members’ tenure. The longer you stay, the more value is built up in your email archives.
It incentivizes signing up (and staying signed up) since all the value you gain is in the time of your membership, which begins and ends with the duration of your subscription.
Something about the idea of conversations living on a Google server somewhere isn’t appealing to me, so I wouldn’t want to use that technology.
I also like that it relies solely on existing technology we use every day, so there’s no need to log in somewhere new or begin a new behaviour. This is an underestimated factor in community-building.
The only way this works is if you keep it relatively small and focused. You need a tight-knit group of people doing similar things.
I’m not sure if this idea will go anywhere, but I might try it out for fun.
Would you join something like this? Hit me up on Twitter and let me know!