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Yahoo groups are enormously popular. That's probably an understatement.
by Charles Bell
February 21, 2004
Summary
Yahoo groups are enormously popular. They rock! They hooked me and chances are you are tied up with one as well. You can interface with beginners and experts in internet real time. You can help others and learn much from others while participating. It works.

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For the least few months I got deeply involved in astronomy, using my telescope, and trying to image astronomical objects like Jupiter, Saturn, and the Orion Nebula. I took off three weeks in December and broke that almost new telescope of mine in on almost every clear night. I really needed a break from the woes of regular work and programming.

But also during this, I started participating in several Yahoo groups. I started one in January for astrophotography and am starting another one today on the stuff I teach on my instructor day job at the power plant I work at.

I wrote in a previous blog about where did all the bloggers go. I wasn't trying to stir up trouble, but just to say something about the awakening I had last weekend when I realized that I had volunteered for this and had gotten distracted.

I am a very private person. But these yahoo groups have given me a way to share lots of things with other people with similar interests. In astronomy, there are yahoo groups for about every kind of telescope and CCD camera you can buy or make yourself. Groups are forming all the time. Two groups I read have 1000+ members. That makes for a lot of chit chat and whole hours bantering back and forth about dark frames, telescope optics collimation, bad data cables, or getting the Cassini division to show up in your image of Saturn. You get to interface with both the experienced and inexperienced in Internet real time. You can help others and learn from others while particpating.

Its NOT done in RSS. Its web based. It email based. Or both. Its free and hence really popular. Anyone can start a group in five minutes or less and you can join in a number of ways. Its pretty well thought out. Maybe its worth studying as to why its working. It appeals to the social side of our brains.

Yahoo groups have been around for awhile. Judging by their traffic and popularity they will be for a long time to come. They hooked me and I did not recognize just how much until last weekend. As the younger ones say nowadays, they rock.

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About the Blogger

Charles Bell is an instructor in the training department of a nuclear power plant, where he was a programmer and supervisor of the power plant simulator for many years. He is currently developing a web based exam bank for all the training departments in the company. His first program was in Fortran on punch cards on an IBM 360 about 1970. If he's not Java programming, he's looking through his 12 inch Meade telescope, hoping to discover a new comet.

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2004 Charles Bell. All rights reserved.

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