Email Lists Build Virtual Street Corners

L-Soft Software Powers MIT I-Neighbors Program

Bethesda, MD (September 23, 2004) – The I-Neighbors project grew out of three years of research by MIT Assistant Professor of Sociology Keith Hampton. It was initiated in response to concerns that Americans have experienced a decline in neighborhood and community participation over the past 30 years. The Website, which can create a homepage and email list for every neighborhood in the United States and Canada, provides community groups with a system to organize local events, share information on local services, and connect neighbors with similar interests. L-Soft's donation of LISTSERV® email list management software with built-in F-Secure Antivirus scanning and LSMTP® email delivery software greatly assisted the project to help neighborhoods strengthen local bonds and social interaction.

"The Internet service that had the strongest impact on the neighborhoods was a simple email list. Residents used it as a virtual street corner," Hampton said. "The neighborhood email list provided a forum for residents to exchange everything from information on home repairs to opinions about local elections. Elected officials used the email list to report back to their constituents, and residents used the list to organize face-to-face community meetings with officials, as well as the occasional barbeque and house party."

"Although LISTSERV recently celebrated its 18th anniversary, the I-Neighbors project shows that the technology is more relevant than ever. Email lists are successful because they are easy to use, require no special software or plug-in, and rapidly develop their own online personality," said Eric Thomas, founder and CEO of L-Soft.

Email lists have long been a way to connect geographically dispersed people with common interests, and this project demonstrates that even those living right down the street from one another can benefit from this modern form of communication.

"Much research has focused on the ability of the Internet to connect people over long distances, but we wanted to focus specifically on how the Internet is used locally," Hampton said. "We are hopeful that I-Neighbors will lead to neighborhoods that are safer, better informed, have a stronger sense of community and are better equipped to deal with local problems."

To view the I-Neighbors Website, visit:

About L-Soft

L-Soft, which was incorporated in 1994, offers e-mail list and opt-in e-mail marketing software and outsourcing services for managing e-mail newsletters, discussion groups and marketing campaigns. Recognized in 2003 as Maryland's 37th fastest growing technology company by Deloitte & Touche, L-Soft's products deliver about 30 million messages a day to more than 130 million list subscriptions.

L-Soft Press Contact

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