What is a Listserv?

What Is A Listserve?


Listservs are a closed email based communication system for group discussion and broadcast announcements which are popular among law firms and associations.

It was developed by Eric Thomas for BITNET in 1986. Listservs function as an email which is sent to a particular address which when submitted to the listserv’s  mailing list, it is automatically sent or broadcast to everyone on the list as an email blast, (one way conversation) or as a discussion, meaning anyone on the list can respond to the conversation. The ending result being similar to a newsgroup or forum, except the transmitted messages are sent as an e-mail which is a closed individualized environment, unlike newsgroups or forums, and are available only to individuals on the listserv’s particular mailing list.

In the early days of listserve’s it was spelled both ways, with an “e” at the end and without and “e” at the end.  The word “listserv” became a word like “Coke” or “Xerox” being synonymous with the product as a whole as well as its singular product’s name.

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Travis Yates


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