In a meeting today, I found myself explaining the difference between a list-serve and a blog, and a forum and a blog…
Once you get comfortable with the technology, it’s easy to forget what the view is from the outside. It’s confusing!
This is just a brief explanation of what came up in the meeting. I’ve found discussion forums to be the most difficult to explain. Please feel free to contribute, based on your experience.
List-serve: members of the list-server send in email, and the program sends copies of this email to all other members on the list. Often there is an archive of all email messages available to be read online, like a web-page.
Discussion Forum: a lot like a list-server, but all posts are made through the website instead of by email. Discussion forums are great for organizing discussions into topics an subtopics. Some allow members to have posts, and notices of new posts emailed to them.
Blog: This is like a journal and press-release software all in one. A good blog has a distinctive personality or group of personalities at its core. There is also a social aspect to blogs. Many blogs allow visitors to post comments. Sometimes long discussions can take place on a blog, but each topic is started by the blog owner. Websites and software called “aggregators”, collect the feeds (like an AP wire press-release) from many different blogs and list recent posts all in one place.