State of the gasnet – December 2013
Another year over and one of the oldest medical mailing lists social media platforms on the internet is still going strong. Traditionally Gasnet is fairly quiet in December so I thought I would kickstart the new years discussion with a few interesting facts and figures and some ideas on future directions.
Each will be expanded in future blog posts.
Gasnet.tv – the blog
The web site at www.gasnet.tv is as old as the new incarnation of the email list. I have however done little with it till now. Given gasnet is now comprised of two communities with only partial overlap, plus the need for a publicly searchable home on the internet, I am going to make occasional posts and membership information available here. Unfortunately the original domain name is no longer available but gasnet.tv is an interesting substitute, alluding to where we could as a community go in the future!
The gasnet anaesthesia site is running on the Google ‘blogger’ platform. This has many advantages, one of which being that those members with a Google login will be able to post comments below without yet another username/password to remember. The site is integrated with the Gasnet Google+ community so community members will also see private comments from other members. Gasnet email list members are of course free to subscribe to new blog posts by entering their email address on the site. I am looking at auto-posting announcements to the email list but the mail server doesn’t like some of the Google formatting so thats a work in progress.
Email discussion list
The gasnet email list membership now stands at 117 members including an enthusiastic core who have been with the service in its various incarnations almost since the beginning. Well done guys.
Just as a reminder if current members go to http://goo.gl/lbca4n and log in using the username and password they received with their initial sign up message then they can customise how email is delivered and many other options including the full archive of past messages since 2010. If you have forgotten/lost your email password there is a box on the list page – http://goo.gl/lbca4n where entering your email address will cause your password to be sent back to you.
If you or a colleague wishes to join the list please just follow the instructions on that page. Note as has been my policy since I took over stewardship of the list since 2010 membership applications are not vetted, but posts are held in a queue for review until your account is properly established. This is to reduce spam. By tradition the list does not allow distribution of email attachments, files or html code out of respect for those who still receive posts on mobile devices and have limited or very expensive internet bandwidth. Email is also totally insecure so please dont disclose confidential information on the list.
I will do a more elaborate post regarding the list in the future but just to assure those who prefer email as their delivery format the email list is not going away anytime in the foreseeable future. It fulfils a very useful need and will stay.
Google Plus Community
A Google plus community is a small social network within a social network. Features are nicely sumarised by Google at http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/communities/ or for a quick introduction watch the promotional video:
The Google plus community at Gasnet Google+ community currently has 120 members with a far wider geographical distribution than the email list. The community is configured as private and non-searchable so offering some degree of anonymity. The downside is that many Anaesthetists will not come accross it by chance so please can you recommend this page and the communities to your colleagues.
To become a member one requires a Google Plus account. You do NOT need a Gmail address. If you do not have a Google account of any variety just go to https://accounts.google.com/SignUpWithoutGmail and follow the instructions. Once you have your Google account go to https://plus.google.com/ and follow the prompts. Google plus offers a lot of very cool tools but can be a bit overwhelming at first so feel free to ignore most of the general social media stuff and go straight to the Gasnet community address at Gasnet Google+ community and request an invitation.
Whilst this does pose a barrier to entry, it also helps filter out significant spam and offers more membership control. As a personal policy I am manually approving all membership applications and restricting membership to those who are Anaesthetists or similar and or have a close contact with our profession. I gather this information from the Google profile you create during the signup process. If there is some reason you dont wish to publish this information then please contact me via a private message and persuade me! I like the idea that on Google plus members know who they are talking to. The system isn’t fool proof in term of identity verification, far from it, but is far better than other social networks and the email list itself.
Despite the age of the underlying technology the email distribution list is NOT going anywhere. It works well and fulfils a need. It scratches an itch for free wheeling discussion delivered to the subscribers email inbox.
My current R&D interest lies in the use of Social media in Anaesthesia. There are several Anaesthetic groups on disparate social media but I think the toolset of Google plus offers many advantages. During the next year I want to see if we can transform the technology into a useful meeting place online for our profession.
I currently spend an hour or so a day trawling the internet for snippets that I share online. I wish to develop this into a news or even magazine type service. I have been studying the underlying technologies for the last few years and am ready to give this a go with anything from simply continuing to post things I find interesting to a formal podcast type video or audio extravaganza. I suspect the optimum will be somewhere in between.
Anyone interested in developing these ideas please post in the comments.
I have quite a few ideas that I will put into blog posts over coming weeks & months but would love to get some community feedback first.
As Australia heads towards the big fireworks on the coat hanger a personal thank you for your input this past year and looking forward to the next year, full of excitement and hope as to what we can achieve in what will be gasnet’s 20th year.
Happy new year
Allan Palmer – https://plus.google.com/+AllanPalmer/about