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Joe Brazell is a former President of Alamo PC and is the President Elect for next year.

You have a group of people with whom you share common interests and you like to discuss them through e-mail or you have a group of people that you need to send out regular announcements but managing your e-mail list can be a nightmare. As people change Internet service providers, they change e-mail addresses faster than you can keep up. E-Groups may be an easier way for you to keep up to date. By using e-groups, you can send a message to a single address that will then resend the message to everyone in the e-group list. Members of the list can change their e-mail address themselves and can unsubscribe from the list if they lose interest in the topic.
Two New Internet Services
for Alamo PC Members
In addition to the special e-groups that Alamo PC Organization uses for its officers and SIG leaders, two special e-groups have been setup for our members. The first is an announce only list, that can be used once or twice a month to send out special announcements concerning the monthly meeting or other important issues that require us to contact our members very quickly. To get on this list you must send an e-mail to SUBSCRIBE . No one will be automatically added to this list and only a few officers of the organization will be able to send messages to the group. 

The second will allow members to send message to everyone in the group. This group will allow members to discuss Alamo PC issues with other members and the officers as well as providing feedback on the organization. You can subscribe to this group by sending a blank -message to SUBSCRIBE . You will be able to reply to and send messages to everyone in the group. No file attachments will be allowed to help prevent the spread of viruses. If you join please keep the messages related to Alamo PC and not to spread jokes, rumors and other material.

A number of e-group servers are available on the Internet free of charge (except for a small ad placed on the e-mail) or for a small monthly charge with no advertising. As more people had access to e-mail, the Alamo PC officers and Board of Directors began using e-mail to communicate between regular meetings but soon ran into problems.  The list of officers were maintained in everyoneís personal e-mail boxes and inevitably people would send out e-mails to their list but would leave someone out or would not have a current e-mail address for some members. This led to rather spotty communications so a few years ago we began using an e-group provider and now we have a lot fewer problems.

Here is how an e-group is setup: One of the core members signs up on the e-group provider and sets up a new group. Once they have the group set up, they can sign up other members to the list or send invitations for people to join the list. People can normally send an e-mail to a group that will sign them up to the list as well. Once you have signed up for a list, you will begin receiving e-mails from the list and may be able reply to them if the owner of the group has allowed people to respond to the list. The owner may also add some members to the moderators list to help manage the list.

Many e-group servers provide a number of additional functions besides managing the e-mail lists and redistributing e-mails to the members of the list. Many will allow members to share a group calendar, files, bookmarks, and conduct polls or voting online.  Lists can be setup so that anyone may join or the list owner must approve before joining or the list owner must explicitly add them to the list. A list may be advertised in the global list so anyone can do a search to join or be private where someone would have to tell you about the list. Membership lists can be open to viewing by members or completely hidden. Options can be set to allow anyone to post, members only or moderators only. Some lists are setup so that they are announcements only lists. This type of list is good to allow officers of an organization to send announcements to its members but no one can reply to the list or replies go only to the list owner.

Etiquette on the list group becomes very important. Besides following normal e-mail etiquette here a few additional good tips: 

  • If you are a list owner or moderator, only add people to a list with their permission. 
  • When you reply to a message, only reply to the group if the reply really needs to go to the list. If it is a comment back to the originator, copy their e-mail address to a new message and send them the reply.
  • When you reply to a message, put your response on the top of the message so people do not have to scroll forever to see your response.
  • When you reply to a message, leave only enough of the original message to let people know what you are replying to. Delete the rest of the message.
  • Send attachments only if they are necessary and send them in a common format if possible. (Word, WordPerfect, Excel, Lotus 123, etc.)
  • If sending a picture file, use compressed format type such as JPG or GIF. Avoid using BMP or other formats that result in large files.
  • Do not send frivolous or unrelated messages to the group. (i.e. Donít send jokes to a group unless it is a joke or comedy list.)

Confidentiality and security of the e-group list becomes important as well. Most large reliable providers will not sell or release the lists of their users to advertising companies so stay with a reliable source. You can also help avoid e-mail spamming by using an alternate e-mail address from your primary address. I have been using a special e-mail address for my e-groups on Yahoo and have not been receiving any spam mail with that address.

A number of e-group providers are available on the Internet. Some of the ones that I have seen or used include 

Check out these sites to see if one meets your groupís needs.

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Alamo PC Organization, Inc.
San Antonio, TX USA