Thursday, April 19, 2007

Tried and True Listservice for the Arts

In 1971 the first email was sent on the Internet. The server protocol SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) was established as the standard e-mail protocol on the Internet and part of the TCP/IP protocol suite, as defined by IETF RFC 2821.

Within the next few decades, enterprise pockets and islands of email systems developed and grew as silos. And as pointed out by Technopedia, "The Internet changed it all", turning these pockets and islands into one global system by the 1990's.

Though not fancy with features, the mailing list, an automated email processing system exemplified by LISTSERV, remains a powerful tool for artists and arts organizations. LISTSERV was invented in 1986 and arguably officially productized in 1994 when L-Soft was founded is one of many mailing list management systems available.

The Arts Commission for the City of Tacoma makes an effective use of this with their "Listserv for the Tacoma Art Scene". The basic requests of subscribe and unsubscribe have enabled artists, art lovers and art venues to communicate upcoming events, calls to artists, grant opportunities, live/work space info, jobs in the arts as well as information and opinions.

At first it was a little distracting for me to receive five or so emails a day on a wide variety of arts topics for a wide variety of reasons. But the simple set up of email rules allows for me to funnel them to their own folder for reading at my leisure.

The Arts Commission is doing a great service to the arts community by affording them this centralized information distribution system. They are up 225 subscribers from last year to 672 today.

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