Stay connected and up-to-date with internet
Chris Lydle, editor
Call them what you will - internet user groups, forums, bulletin boards. It's a way in which the internet and e-mail have made it easy for affinity groups to share ideas, build friendships on line, and find answers to all kinds of questions.
A "forum" is a bulletin board to which the subscribers can post replies and new topics. Setting one up is actually quite simple, it only takes about 5 minutes. Getting people to come to it is more challenging.
All the messages ever sent remain in an archive, so over time a huge knowledge base evolves. Although manufacturers are often allowed to view the messages, and sometime send a message, it's mostly the input of people who are really using the equipment day-in, day-out.
Photo Marketing Association's Marketing Community is the newest of the forums. Open to all members of PMA, it's intended to share great ideas on making money. http://www.pmai.org/communities is the address. You'll need to sign up and probably remember a new password, but it's well worth the effort.
Kodak Image Center Solutions list, founded July 23, 2004, by Ben Belhorn: "I am starting a new recruitment drive for the KICS user group. If there are any KICS stores out there who are not members of the user group you can join by sending an email to KICSemail@example.com Please include in the email your name, store name, location and website if any.
"We now have
74 members in the user group and feel that this is
becoming a great tool for communicating our needs to Kodak."
The website is
Bestphotolist Bestphotolist is designed for lab operators who use Noritsu equipment with DLS software. It's open to others, but Noritsu is the emphasis. Founded September 28, 2000, its 10,000th message was posted April 14, 2004. At that point there were 408 members. To join, click on http://pmalist.info
KonicaQD21, a list for Konica lab operators. 118 members, 1226 messages by March 2005. Founded November 8, 2002. To join, send e-mail to KonicaQD21firstname.lastname@example.org
Agfa D-Lab group. 116 members, 434 messages by April 2004. Founded December 18 2002. To join, send e-mail to Dlabglobalemail@example.com
Gretag Netprinters get a lot of attention at http://forums.sonman.com/ That could be really important now that Gretag is in bankruptcy.
We missed Bob's Birthday (a posting)
From tiny acorns grow mighty Oaks - here is the post that started it all:
Co-operative Buying Groups all have a members-only forum. The forum for the Independent Photo Imagers is phenomenal, and the people in the group appear to be technically way ahead of the average independent operation. When I wear my retailer/lab operator hat, the forum along is well worth my membership costs. Every day there are at least a half-dozen topics which are active, and most days more than 20 postings.
PRO has two forums, as does Town and Country. Some days there's a lot of activity, some days they are quiet.
To research additional topics - there are many lists for Adobe PhotoShop users, for instance - go to www.groups.yahoo.com
If you know of other forums of interest to photo/imaging pros, please e-mail the editor.