The Learning Curve

New tricks for an old dog.

Social media before web 2.0

Long before the influential people announced the birth of social media, and even before the web took off, there were Usenet discussion groups. Before the end of the 1990’s the idea of Usenet discussion groups inspired the creation of email discussion groups, such as eGroups

Yahoo! purchased eGroups for the foundation of it’s popular Yahoo! Groups, and Google purchased Deja News, an online searchable archive of Usenet groups.  Google incorporated Deja News into its own email discussion group system named Google Groups

All three of these systems still exist and are being used today.  Many of these discussion forums are wholly unmoderated, and it is nearly impossible to exclude uncivil discourse from an unmoderated Usenet group.  It was on such groups that I first learned the meaning of sockpuppet, troll, and spam.

Like Willie Sutton, who robbed banks, “Because that’s where the money is,” internet marketers were drawn to Usenet and public email list discussion groups from the start, because that’s where the people were. They quickly learned the meaning of “flame.”

There may be an effective internet marketing strategy that incorporates these discussion groups, but it would need a very high-touch / low-b.s. ratio to do any good.  One of the main benefits of Web 2.0 is the ability to easily give feedback. Usenet participants are not the least bit shy about providing helpful feedback.


Written by Tom Fox

08/21/2010 at 11:16 am

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