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The weaknesses of email as a communications medium


The weaknesses of email as a communications medium and why forums may be better for groups.

Email is one-way communications. As its name implies, it is simply "MAIL". The format is wonderful for:
- story-telling,
- explanation,
- one-way information dump,
- keeping things private.

What it does not provide for is
1. preserving context of the conversation
2. interruptions for the purpose of clarification
3. group thinking
4. group conversations: a group of more than 2 can contribute to the same subject.

Although forums cannot claim to be the remedy to email, it does provide for the features 1, 2, and 4. Perhaps this is why forums have become so widely popular over the past year as more and more people continue to use the internet. Very quickly groups find out the limitations of Email. When all you have at your disposal is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When groups try to use Email as the sole method of collaberation, they quickly find out that it fails miserably. For examples of some group dynamics via forums, see:
http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware
http://craigslist.org

Hoang
January 07, 2004 (18:31)




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