waterwordsthatwork May 7, 2007

The Washington Post has a nice feature story this morning on the growing use of email lists. The story, "Offering Both the Nice and the Nasty, E-Mail Lists Surge in Usage," profiles how residents of various neighborhoods use listservs to discuss neighborhood business, ranging from the mundane to the grand. Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/06/AR2007050601326.html I think there's a lot for social marketers to think about in this piece, since we know that peer pressure is so important to successfully fostering sustainable behavior. Three points stood out:

Point #1: Use of these lists is growing. More than half of Internet users subscribed to listservs in 2006, up from about a third in 2001.

Point #2: Traditional communications, like the homeowner association newsletter and the bulletin board at the community center, are fading.

Point #3: Smart politicians are trolling neighborhood listservs to keep their finger on the pulse of the communities they represent.

This topic has interested me for a while. I wrote a report about it "Network of Networks: Email Lists, Nature Protection, and Pollution Control" earlier this year. Link: http://waterwordsthatwork.com/2007/03/22/a-network-of-networks-email-lists-nature-protection-and-pollution-control/

Does anybody have some relevant experience they'd like to share? Coaxing communities to install rain barrels by posting to the neighborhood listserv? Getting neighbors to post emails in praise of others who cut back on their fertilizer and pesticide use?

Eric Eckl