Are email and email lists (listservs) in decline?

I don’t know if this is a weird thing to wonder about or not. I started thinking about this because I am doing some writing and I was updating a section concerning the educational use of email lists. I wanted to provide an example. I have been a long time subscriber to wwwedu and I thought this might make a good example. I had always consider the list to be influential. When I took a look at the list, I realized that nearly all of the recent posts to the list were contributed by a single individual. The posts were of high quality but the lack of a community of contributors concerned me. If wwwedu can’t make it among educators, is there still a place for a discussion list (listserv or whatever term is now in vogue)?

If you  search on the decline of list participation you do find some who believe this is or has happened. List administrators talk about the “old days” in which the list received a much higher level of traffic than is now the case – Open Source Paleontologist; UK Web Focus. Maybe it is the old-style email only lists that are falling out of favor. A Google Group, for example, can be used as a listserv, but it is more versatile (for input) and more diverse (for content). Perhaps we want social sites offering greater diversity with email participation offering one method of participation.

As far as email goes, there are always counter examples. Some companies offer services that build on email – Posterous, for example, allows a user to generate a blog by emailing content to an email address. Social services such as Fickr allow users to submit photos making through emails.

So, I would like to know what the trend here is or if the trend matters.

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