The end of News Groups?

News.com is running a story on how MSN is dropping support for newsgroups. We are removing newsgroups from MSN servers because we now have a better communication vehicle provided by MSN Web Communities--including chat, message boards, email and Web pages,\" the representative wrote in an email. While newsgroups will no longer be supported on MSN.com, they will still be available at the company\'s corporate Web site, Microsoft.com.

News.com seems to think this is the begining of the end for newsgroups. What does the LIS community think of this? Most librarians are subscribed to a number of different lists, and use them as a primary source for news and information. Certainly this is not the begining of the end, or is it?Analysts said they weren\'t surprised by the move, noting that Usenet newsgroups haven\'t caught on with large numbers of new users because there are simpler alternatives.

The Web has dulled Usenet\'s luster, according to Dan O\'Brien, an analyst at Forrester Research. New Internet users coming aboard are now exposed increasingly to Web sites that offer message boards, chat and email as their means for communication and community. Accessing Usenet requires setting one\'s browser to read postings, something consumers may not want to do.

\"Previously, many may have joined news groups, but now they can go to a number of travel sites and sports sites and find a thread that has lots of comments that they can jump into,\" O\'Brien said in a previous interview. \"There\'s no need to take the next step and join a newsgroup.\"

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