about this column.
November 3, 2000
Life on the mailing list
© 2000, Douglas E. Welch
Talk to any high-tech worker today and one of the first laments you will hear is, "I don't have time for a life, I am too busy working!" While this is unfortunate on so many levels it has lead to a new type of socializing in both business and personal lives--the mailing list.
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No chat, please, we're busy
While chat rooms have been the focus of many articles and news stories on online communities I personally have never found them to be much use. Beyond a scheduled event with a celebrity or well-known speaker, I rarely tune in. This comes from past experiences in chat rooms where everyone was just "hanging out" and not really talking much about anything.
Mailing lists, on the other hand, have become my lifeline to the world outside my little freelancer office. Even when I am spending hours with "my butt stuck to chair" to meet a deadline, people walk in and out of my office throughout the day. While they may not be there in the flesh, their thoughts, questions and comments flow to me via my email program. I even have special sounds applied to each mailing list to which I am subscribed so that I can tell there is a discussion going on in a particular group. I even run a few small mailing lists myself, one dedicated to readers of this column. (You can visit http://www.welchwrite.com/dewelch/ce/> to subscribe). While not a complete substitute for daily face-to-face contact, it can sure make both my days and my life, more pleasant.
A sampling of lists
Here are a few of the lists I am subscribed to which deal specifically with some aspect of a high-tech career. While not every list is for every person, these might be a good place to start your mailing lists travels.
The WebSanDiego mailing list is for people in and around the San Diego area who work on the Internet and specifically those who work on the World Wide Web, such as web programmers, designers, HTML developers and graphic artists. There are on-going discussions about technical issues, business successes and failures, career advice and even the work lives of the list members. The founder and moderator of WebSanDiego is Joe Crawford, a high-tech careerist who "makes web pages for a living." He created this mailing list for people like himself who wanted to discuss web-related issues in a comfortable environment.
Similar In scope to WebSanDeigo, Web405 is dedicated to those Internet and Web workers in and around the Los Angeles area (i.e. near the I-405 that runs through LA's west side). Some of the faces here are the same, but, as with every mailing list, it has its own personality and structure. While the same topics can appear in both lists, the comments can be dramatically different.
FastCompany Company of Friends Local Cells <http://www.fastcompany.com>
These mailing lists are collections of people who read FastCompany magazine, a publication dedicated to work and management in the "New Economy." You need not be a subscriber of the magazine to join the mailing lists or utilize the extensive resources of the magazine's web site. These mailing lists are often used to coordinate regular face-to-face events happening in your local area.
Amazon.com Delivers and Alerts <http://www.amazon.com/>
Any registered member of Amazon.com (a free service) can join mailing lists which regularly send out announcements regarding new books in your areas of interest. I use these mailings to keep me informed of new books that might be of interest to myself, my readers or my consulting clients. I find this to be a much better way of finding new books than scanning the shelves at the local bookstore. While I love to spend time browsing in bookstores I also like information to come to me automatically.
Delivers, are mailings from an Amazon editor with announcements of new books. Alerts are the results from custom searches that you define which are sent out on a regular basis. The combination of the two services gives you both general and specific information in your areas of interest.
Whether you are looking to network with other high-tech careerists, get information about companies and industries or just pal around, mailing lists can be the source of education and enjoyment. There are literally tens of thousands of mailing lists available on the Internet. Why not invite a few friends into your computer--you might just find that both you and your career benefit.
about this column.
Previous Career-Op Columns
November 5, 1999 Hard Work
You don't have to stay in a job that makes your life miserable.
November, 1998 The Right Way To Resign
November, 1997 ...into the fire: Complete series
Douglas E. Welch is a freelance writer and computer consultant
in Van Nuys, California. Readers can discuss career issues with
other readers by joining the Career Opportunities Discussion on
Douglas' web page at: http://www.welchwrite.com/dewelch/ce/
He can reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org