05Jun2009

An Epitaph for MSN Groups

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ConcertforGeorgeNut wrote in February or March this year:

NineMSN groups are no more. We were told some time back that they'd be gone in February, but, this is a sad occasion, nonetheless.

I got my start in, and my love of, internet communities via a NineMSN group. I ended up belonging to three (two for people in their 40s, and another on world affairs discussion). Here I am now, in another "group" called The Quoroom.

Long may we live here.

Thanks for comments, George *S*

Yes, it's an interesting epilogue on a major part of my life for the past 8½ years and for many other members, too, for whom the MSN Groups discussions and discussion format was all that they've ever used. MSN Groups gave me the means to develop my first internet website - even though it only took three mouse-clicks to do it (quite different to the weeks I've spent in developing The Quoroom) - and through the process I learnt a huge amount about people, about marketing, what works and what doesn't.

MSN Groups was part of my daily diet - the "McDonalds" of the internet, perhaps? - and, for someone who doesn't use instant messaging like Windows Live Messenger, even more important than receiving e-mail! The daily ritual of signing into "Groups" and reading the little things, or the questions that people had about why MSN Groups didn't work, followed by the hours in carefully composing my replies fully aware that I was probably writing to an audience of one or two! And all of this before I even contemplated what I was going to have for breakfast.

I have mixed feelings about the passing of MSN Groups. On the one hand I shall always remember the good that came from it: the people I met, grew to admire, respect and love (in a way). I won't regret the passing of an old technology that often broke or that imposed severe restrictions on my creative abilities. There were people, too, who used MSN Groups in a less generous way than I would have preferred, who barricaded themselves in their MSN Group rooms, intolerant of contrary opinions and beliefs to their own, and who indulged in occasional bouts of sinking-the-boot into me. However, such incidents were rare and were (and should be) unimportant in the grand scheme of things; for the most part, people are generous and more tolerant of others than we usually give them credit for.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone with whom I associated over the past 8½ years of MSN Groups, from Sozzled's Soapbox to The 40Plus Club. There are literally hundreds of people I would like to give a special mention to: if you've read this far, you're already on my list! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

"Sozz"