Computer Mediated Communication: Mailing List as Modern Meeting Place

A Issa-Salwe, M Ahmed, M N Kabir, L Sharif

Abstract


Purpose: The paper uses as case study a discussion mailing list created in April 1998 (and still exists) by a group of the Somali diaspora. The mailing list, known as Puntland/lubbaland mailing list, was formed to give its members an interactive online. The purpose of Puntland & Jubbaland mailing list is to, but not limited to, facilitate privately the discussion of Northeastern and Lower Juba social, economic and political affairs and to solidifj, the views of Puntland Somalis in the Somali Diaspora. The interaction of the group is meant to create a feeling similar to the intimacy characteristic of primary groups. Since social ties deepen in time, primary groups are relatively permanent, as relationships involve an identity of ends. In primary groups, the relationship is in itself an end and only secondarily or incidentally a means to an end.

Design/Methodology/Approach: Members in the Puntland/Jubbaland mailing list organised themselves into helping and contributing to home development, helping the newly elected Puntland administration, pooling skills of professionals, and promoting the interests of Puntland and Jubbaland regions. The list had its ups and downs. At its height ofexistence, it created and helped many useful projects for  the people of Puntland (an autonomous region of Somalia).

Findings: The results of the research shows that despite mailing list technology can be used as modern meeting place and tools to enable people to work for a purpose. Nevertheless, the mailing medium has also environment become the arena where the Somali factional Diaspora has been taking place enabling the groups to organise and communicate. In a way it has facilitated the some groups to take the home conflict outside the country. On the other hand, it is also where groups aiming as the supra-national level to meet and get together to help their JOlks at home. Whatever the objectives of the mailing groups, what influenced their discussions are mainly events at home.

Originality/Value: The paper illustrates how mailing technology enable members of one Diaspora community to use it as the modern meeting place and at the same time keep in touch with a political situation at home that is exceptional, and to involve themselves in its development and its controversies, should they wish to do so. It also shows how the discussion technology has facilitated the groups in a new dimension to traditional methods ofmeeting.

PAPER TYPE: Research Paper

KEYWORDS : Computer-Mediated Communication; Mailing Lists; Discussion Group; Politics; Somalia: Social Development; Diaspora.


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