From listservers to forums/communities

I’m seeing a growing trend among my clients, moving from listservers (the old-style Lyris-type lists that are completely email-driven, and impossible to search!) to online forums. These forums may be standalone or integrated with an AMS product, but in either case, they are different from the old-school listservers. There are three reasons for this change:

  1. Facebook – Let’s face it, the vast majority of our members are either on Facebook or at least familiar with it. As a result, the transition to an online forum/community is much easier, because many of the users have already been “trained” on how to use it. The comfort level is already there.
  2. Mobile apps – Many of these online forums provide mobile apps that allow users to access the forum via a smartphone.
  3. Improved functionality – More of these forums are providing tighter integration to email, meaning that once a thread is started, other users can respond via email (i.e., they don’t have to login to the site to respond). This makes participation even easier.

What has been your experience? Has your association moved away from listservers to online forums/communities?

About Wes Trochlil

For over 30 years, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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