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Surf Report...
May 2003

    Bulletin Boards and E-mail Forums

    What are they?

    Have you ever considered joining an internet based bulletin-board (BB), email forum, or chat group? As demonstrated in the film "You've Got Mail", internet communication can prove to be very captivating and can even create havoc; especially if you are pretending to be someone you are not!

    A BB is simply an electronic notice-board. You pin up your notice (bulletin) and wait for others to read it and respond by pinning another notice up. An e-mail forum works through your notice being e-mailed to all members of the group so you can participate without having to log onto the BB site. Both BBs and for a require a moderator whose job it is to ensure that the rules of the group are being adhered to with respect to the content of the notices.

    Often e-mail forums and BBs run concurrently. You apply to the moderator for membership and, once accepted, you can start writing and "post" your message to the Moderator. Members of the group are able to receive any postings as emails should they so choose. If you don't choose the email option you can read and post messages directly to and from the BB.

    These services are often set up with a chat group option, where you can go on-line "live" with others, and chat away to your hearts content. This is really only for small talk, and doesn't get archived. Nor does it go through a moderator.

    People make use of BBs for their hobbies, for sharing common interests, their cars, pets, and so on. Perhaps more importantly, they are used by professional groups like ANZSRS.

    Respiratory Science Bulletin Boards

    Have you ever felt the need to discuss the work you do with others but felt isolated and unable to do so? Perhaps the internet can provide a solution for you. You may want to ask a question of the group members, or search the archives for a topic of interest. You might be looking for the right trade rep to talk to, and the answer is there in the archive, or it soon might be. Trawling through the archived postings could well expose the gem of an idea for some collaborative research.

    There are already a number of email forums/ bulletin boards out there relating to respiratory care. The RCWorld bulletin board has been running in America for 9 years. This public forum serves respiratory therapists and their interests. I have found this site to be of interest at times but often respiratory therapy is far removed from our own work. Recently though, rapid communications have been posted on the RCWorld BB on the spread, treatment and mishandling of SARS, a contentious issue for us all perhaps? The ARTP, which is our ANZSRS equivalent in the UK, runs a Yahoo e-mail forum / BB. Unfortunately this is restricted to the membership of the ARTP. Our own website has had a "letters section" where discussions have occurred in the past on subjects such as calibration syringes and reference value selection studies. Why is it not being used as much as it could be?

    Perhaps the answer might be that letter-writing requires too much effort and lacks spontaneity. You have to write well, others have to log onto the site to read your letter then think about writing a reply. The answer might be an email forum with messages being put under your nose on a daily basis. We all use e-mail extensively for our day to day communication so it is but a small extension to use an e-mail forum. The West Australian members of the ANZSRS currently run a Yahoo Group BB, which has proved to be worthwhile in documenting and organizing their branch meetings. It has created a very useful archived history of the WA ANZSRS region, which should prove to be increasingly valuable to the membership over time.

    An Australasian Respiratory Science Email Forum!

    Most of you will by now be aware that I have set up a Yahoo Group Email forum called RespiratoryScience-Australasia. This new BB has been established as a members only group invited by the owner (myself for now) following application, and not listed in the general directory of Yahoo Groups. So far, there have been thirteen members registered and I would encourage you all to think about joining. The more members participating, the more useful will the BB be.

    If you do sign-up to RespiratoryScience-Australasia, you will have to subscribe to Yahoo as a user. You will be prompted for a user name and password. This can take several attempts as there are many Yahoo users out there. Be creative! Be warned too, that Yahoo Groups include ads and cookies. These can be bothersome but if it wasn't for them, Yahoo Groups would not be a free service.

    Have I convinced you to sign up? If you want to contact me regarding the BB then use the address
    RespiratoryScience-Australasia-owner@yahoogroups.com

    If you wish to subscribe to the BB now use the address:
    RespiratoryScience-Australasia-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

    Andrew Coates
    ancoates@mater.org.au

     

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