Hi Listserve community,
After five years, we've decided to shut down the Listserve.
This project started at a drastically different point in our lives. We were all graduate students at NYU, enrolled in Clay Shirky's class, "Designing Conversational Spaces." And we wanted our conversational space to encourage quiet, spontaneous, personal connections — on the internet.
We started the project by saying we wouldn't send the first email until 10,000 people signed up for the list. It seemed like an impossible goal. But within a week, we were sending out an email by Emil from Stockholm; he told us our lives probably won't be fantastic. Then it was Adrienne from Brooklyn, telling us about the Diva Cup. And later, Nicole, who invited the list to a picnic at the location (40.667602, -73.970831) — and got dozens of strangers to enjoy a sunny afternoon together.
We've heard about relationships forming via this projects — friends, lovers, travel partners. And we've had some incredible opportunities of our own — being featured in dozens of publications, speaking at TEDx Foggy Bottom, and, of course, overhearing strangers talking about the most recent Listserve email.
We often wondered if the Listserve could be something bigger — if we could find a way to make money, hire staff, that whole thing. But we kept coming back to this idea that it was an important endeavor to maintain this delightful corner of the internet. So even though we're calling it quits, we hope this project has inspired other quiet, spontaneous corners of the internet. (Maybe you could even start a mini-Listserve for you and a few dozen friends!)
Some parting notes:
Clay: Thank you for supporting us.
Fellow Listserve team: You're just the best.
Listserve winners: Thank you for allowing yourselves to be vulnerable. We know it's scary, but we really hope the experience was worth it.
And to the Listserve community: Thank you for sticking with us for so long. A huge portion of the list has been here for many years. And when we would miss a day or a week, so many of you would reach out to ask whether we were okay.
This email feels like saying goodbye to many old, new, and potential friends, which is probably why we put it off for so long. But it is time.