What Would You Tell the World If You Could Put an Email in Everyone's Inbox?

BlogHer Original Post

A fellow BlogHer editor sent me a link to a new site, admitting that she is trying to get her mind around it because it raises so many interesting questions. The site is called Listserve and the idea is simple: Sign up for the email list. Once a day, a subscriber is chosen from the list and gets to email out a message to the whole list. Anything they want. And the next day, the lottery starts all over again. Email readers never know what they'll find in their inbox -- the most brilliant idea in the world, a blog post, a recipe. For the person chosen, it's a big lottery for eyes and attention.

The list already has over 8000 members and it's quickly growing. Which brings up the first question -- does size matter? If you were the first person chosen at the launch and got access to 10,000 eyes would you kick yourself for being chosen early knowing that other people are going to get access to perhaps a million eyes down the road?

The next question is whether or not people will read the email. Of the 8000 people already signed up, how many will open the email daily to see what is inside? The reality is that you already have the chance to communicate with one million people via your blog -- it's just a matter of bringing the content to a million eyes. But the same struggle exists with the listserve -- you can put the information in people's inboxes but will they read it once the novelty has worn off?

The last question is content. There are no guidelines on the FAQ or video about rules for content. The people profiled in the video obviously want to connect on a very human level, but could the list also become a platform for hate speech? For advertisements? Will people be circumspect and realize the power of words? I have a lot of hope that the Listserve will become a place for experiencing wonderful ideas, but it also has the potential to hold the vitriol we've seen spewed sometimes in comment sections.

So, are you going to join? And what would you write the list if you were chosen in the lottery?

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her novel about blogging is Life from Scratch.


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