The Washington Post has an illuminating article about email discussion lists. This is something we don’t talk about very much in PR blogosphere, even though many more people use discussion lists than blogs.
There are two ways companies should use email discussion lists. First, companies should monitor discussion lists for both praise and criticism. Discussion lists can be a early warning sign for product defects and/or consumer dissatisfaction. They can also teach companies how consumers use their products and why and when they get recommendations.
The second way companies can use discussion lists is to encourage their customers and partners to participate in such lists by posting links from their corporate sites. This will increase the possibility of positive mentions.