The Listserve: A lottery where one person a day can talk to the world


The Listserve

Some ideas were born to work. The Listserve may be one of them

What would you say if you were selected to send an email to 10,000 people? 100,000? 1,000,000? What if the audience was a relatively-captive one, an audience that knew they would only be hearing from one person every day, and today that person is you?

That’s the concept of The Listserve. People sign up to receive one email a day. Launched by 5 NYU graduate students as part of a new project out of NYU’s ITP masters program, it is currently waiting to reach 10,000 subscribers before sending out the first email.

The person who is sending the email is randomly selected from the entire user base. The lottery winner can say pretty much anything they want and know that a good number of people will open the email and read what they had to say.

No pressure.

The rise of social media has people often competing with their friends, family, and random people to get the attention of others who will listen. People will poor their hearts out into blog posts, Facebook updates, and Tweets hoping that someone is listening. Unless you’re a celebrity, chances are you’ve said something you felt was important but had very few (if any) people respond or even acknowledge the message.

With this service, the audience will be listening. As the group grows, it’s possible that tens or even hundreds of thousands of people will be reading their daily email to see what another random user said and hoping (or not) that they will get the opportunity to be that person, to have that voice.

Much of the success of this will be based upon the quality of the messages. People have very little patience and a string of bad emails may be enough to turn them off, but as long as there are gems in the mix, people will continue to check that single email.

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