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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Mormons on the Internet » Mormons on the Internet

Mormons on the Internet

Susan M - February 5, 2007

I used to have in my possession a book titled Mormons on the Internet by Laura Meary Gold. It was published in 1997. Unfortunately, I can’t find it. I think it may have been tossed when I consolidated a bunch of my small bookcases into one large one.

I can’t imagine throwing it out, though, since I’m mentioned in it!

The book was written for Mormons who were new to the web. Back when the web was still new. It gave descriptions of various LDS websites and email lists. I was mentioned because I ran a couple email lists at the time—one called Sanctify, for LDS members with inactive/non-member loved ones/part-member families, and one called Peace, for LDS who suffered from depression.

Does anyone remember the early days of the LDS online world? Before blogs? When email lists and newsgroups were the gathering places for LDS internet geeks? (Or am I the only dinosaur?)

Maybe LDS email lists and newsgroups are still very active, I wouldn’t know. If you participate in any good ones, feel free to chime in about them.

Here’s what I remember about the early days of Mormons on the Internet.

There were a lot of scholarly email lists, like Scripture-L, LDS-Hist, and LDS-Phil. There were also a bunch of social/support email lists, like the two I ran, plus one for LDS stay-home moms, and one for other LDS women, I think it was called Sister-Share. I participated in the stay-home moms email list and loved it. But then I went back to work fulltime and couldn’t participate anymore.

I found this website that has a bunch of LDS email lists on it, not sure how many are still active:

http://www.iperform.net/jwr/email.html

The few I clicked on were no longer operating. It gives you a glimpse of what the LDS online community used to be like, though.

I think in general, blogging keeps us more separated and apart than the old email lists used to. On an email list, it’s easy to have one-on-one conversations with people, and really easy to move the conversation to private email, and therefore get to know people better. There are so many blogs now and so many comments being made, it’s hard to even keep up with one or two, let alone many.

So here are some tools that I use to keep up with the blogs I read and participate in:

Bloglines.com: A news reader that lets you subscribe to blogs and read all the new posts to them on one webpage.

Blog aggregators: There’s a lot of these, the most well-known being Mormon Archipelago (which I don’t know how to spell, let alone pronounce) and LDSelect.org. Danithew also has one he created for his own use, but made available on his blog for others as well.

Commentful: A comment tracker. This is the tool I use the most. You can bookmark blog posts you want to follow the comments on and Commentful tells you when there’s new replies on it. It only works with Firefox, and it’s only a beta so it can be buggy at times.

What other tools are there to make keeping up with blogs easy?

And if anyone wants to chime in with their memories of the early days, feel free. I’ve forgotten more than I remember from those days.

9 Comments »

  1. I used to read Mormon email lists a lot. I learned about them through Redelf’s site. Some wierd stuff went down.

    Thanks for Commentful, Susan. That is so cool I could spit!

    Comment by HP — February 5, 2007 @ 12:02 pm

  2. LDS-phil is alive and well. Eyring-L has sort of slowed to a trickle the past year or two. LDS-Hist is largely dead and has been pretty much since I stopped running it. I don’t know about Scripture-L. I was on it in the 90′s but haven’t heard much about it since that bok came out.

    AML is a very active mailing list and is well worth joining. FAIR has a mailing list I used to be on but recently left as I couldn’t keep up with the volume.

    But by and large most of the mailing lists are dead – blogs have overtaken them. Although a lot of the old timers, I note, never made the transition to blogs.

    Comment by clark — February 5, 2007 @ 1:13 pm

  3. oh wow, I need Commentful! Google Reader lets me see new posts so easily, but I’m still using bookmarks to read new comments.

    Comment by cchrissyy — February 5, 2007 @ 5:03 pm

  4. Sustain’d would be a fantastic tool for showcasing the best of the latest posts/lds content if more people would support it. With so many blogs refusing to add the “sustain this” icon to their site… well… it just hasn’t been able to gain the momentum it needs…unfortunate.

    Comment by Ryan — February 5, 2007 @ 7:17 pm

  5. Oh yeah, I meant to mention sustain’d.

    Comment by Susan M — February 5, 2007 @ 7:23 pm

  6. I’m reminded again of the joke about St. Peter warning newcomers to the kingdom of heaven to tiptoe past the one isolated group, because “they think they’re the only ones here”.

    Comment by Jim Cobabe — February 6, 2007 @ 10:09 am

  7. I remember those mailing lists. I haven’t posted on any of them in years though.

    Clark, I bet that is why your name sounds so familiar. Of those listed, I was on Scripture-L the most; although, JOSEPH was probably a close second.

    I also remember when Laura was writing her book. I believe I have a site or two in there.

    Comment by Kim Siever — February 7, 2007 @ 3:14 pm

  8. Thanks for the mention and link Susan. Just to help get the word out … anyone with a WordPress blog can use this plugin to create their own on-blog aggregator. For a few reasons I prefer using an aggregator than a blogroll:

    1) To some degree, it’s self-maintaining. It posts links to actual posts – links to a blog’s posts won’t show up if a blogger stops posting or a blog goes defunct.

    2) Internally, the aggregator actually tells you how long it’s been since a blog has posted. This makes it very easy to identify which rss feeds are declining in usage. Then, in turn, it’s a simple step to check a blog to see what has changed – whether the rss feed has been altered, the site has moved to a new site or if the blog is simply dying.

    If anyone has questions, let me know. John Dehlin is using the same plugin for his aggregator. Again, anyone with a WordPress blog can add this feature to his/her blog.

    Theoretically, the more WordPress blogs in the ‘Nacle that use this, the better placement the ‘Nacle as a whole will get in Google searches.

    Comment by danithew — February 8, 2007 @ 5:15 am

  9. One tool I’ve found extremely handy is the Clipmarks plugin for Firefox. It allows me to easily “clip” webpage content that interests me and save it to a searchable collection.

    Mskes it easy to keep track of content that would make good blog posts.

    Comment by Seth R. — March 3, 2007 @ 9:46 pm

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