Keeping up with Friends and Family
I wrote a newsletter for my high school graduating class for a bit over a year. At first it was easy, and there was a lot of sharing. After we got caught up, however, the frequency and content of the letters to the newsletter dropped off steeply. Today, we have a Yahoo group account, and exchange letters that way.
Several people in my extended family write once a week or so, and send the mail to dozens of recipients. I've had problems with that kind of mail exchange as Internet Service Providers often consider any email with more than ten addressees to be spam, and stop them from being delivered. Since there are more than 30 people in my family address book, that poses a problem. I've had to break the group into several sections and send it that way in order to get by the censors.
One of the exciting possibilities of sharing family information is with the use of weblogs. Someone in the family can the establish a family weblog, and allow most other family members to post to it. It would require some significant coordination, but it's not impossible to do. Each person could post when they have something interesting to say, and the rest of the family could read it at their leisure. Posting it on the Web would make it difficult to keep secrets - there wouldn't be much in the way of privacy. That might restrict some of the input, but not significantly enough to limit the usefulness of the medium. It would be especially helpful in working with genealogy, when there may be a dozen members of the family all working on different parts. There, an outside reader might be good - they may have information that might contribute to the effort. Comments would allow other family members to respond to different posts.
Considering how young the Internet really is (under 20 - the airplane is over 100, the telephone is over 125), it's amazing its created such an essential nich for itself, and so many people are so dedicated to using it. There are as many new, innovative ideas that will be added to the overall venue as time passes - many of which we can't even imagine at this time.
I guess this is part of those "interesting times" the Chinese cursed us with!