Email lists taking off in Washington
- By Eric Kulisch
- Aug 30, 2000
Washington state has seen its subscriber base for targeted electronic communication
quadruple in size since first being introduced in April.
Using LISTSERV e-mail list management software from L-Soft International
Inc., Landover, Md., the state's Department of Information Services (DIS)
has enabled state agencies, local governments, school districts, and American
Indian tribes to reach constituents and enhance customer service.
Now, in addition to visiting the Access Washington Web portal, citizens
can request the new LISTSERV to notify them via e-mail about current events
in specific areas of government. LISTSERV allows one-way distribution of
news items such as press releases or meeting agendas, as well as ongoing
e-mail discussions among list subscribers. The Department of Ecology, for
example, sends regulatory and legal updates to 1,284 subscribers, according
to the DIS Web site.
DIS customers currently host 46 lists with more than 8,000 government
and citizen subscribers. Some lists are only for internal government audiences
and not accessible to the public, said DIS spokeswoman Ellen Langley.
The key difference between using LISTSERV and receiving unsolicited
e-mail is that people have to apply to be included on a list. "The beauty
of LISTSERV is people who want it, get it, and those who don't, don't,"
DIS is promoting its e-mail exchange on the state intranet, Inside Washington,
and by direct customer service calls to its customers. Host agencies, in
turn, are responsible for letting their constituents know about the opportunity
to sign up for information they want.
Much more efficient and cost-effective than mailing out notices, LISTSERV
also frees up agency staffs from managing self-created lists. With LISTSERV,
subscribers sign up or cancel service on their own, Langley said.