Oh how it pains me to write this post. I've had nothing good to say about email and mailing lists since like forever. So in writing this post I'm having to eat some serious crow.
I'd like to say that our freerange workgroup is ultra-modern and that we've moved beyond email, how we use all these new and whippy social media tools, and that we've left the tools of the last decade behind. But that wouldn't be true. The numbers don't lie, and we have lots of numbers. Tracking and logging everything is an essential part of workstreaming (a subject for another post) and we are awash in data. A quick look at our logs tells me that we are heavy users of our own group's mailing list.
Our group runs the mailing lists for a much larger organization. We are currently running in the neighborhood of 65 lists, with several having memberships numbering in the hundreds. In spite of that, our little workgroup of 8 has sent over twice as many messages as the second most active group. So where we may not use general mailing lists anymore, having migrated to social networks for our conversations, we still conduct a ton of conversations using our private little mailing list.
The bottom line is that freerange workgroups hyper-communicate. They communicate a lot. They share like mad-- cuts to their flat and transparent nature. They use the best tool for the job. Email and mailing lists are incredibly important communication tools when used right. They are perfect for what they are, a delayed time, question and answer, and FYI mechanism for small freerange teams.