After several months of consideration, the Route 66 group on Yahoo!, also known as the Route 66 e-group, announced last week it is asking members to migrate to the MeWe platform.
Mike Ward, one of the original e-group’s moderators, stated with the MeWe announcement:
Take a look and give it a chance. I don’t ever see it reaching 2,000 members as the old e-group did but it can still serve a good purpose within the Route 66 community. Besides, if the opportunity ever arises again to have an e-group breakfast it’s where people would go to get information and sign up.
On MeWe, Ward wrote .io also was considered as a platform. He explained why he favored MeWe:
I know there were people who preferred .io but there have been more postings on MeWe and more subscribers on MeWe. There have even been people who have unsubscribed from .io.
For those who say MeWe reminds them too much of Facebook I can see the visual similarity but there’s really little else.
The .io platform will be delisted but not abandoned. This is to keep the name from being used for some other purpose that might cause confusion.
As of Saturday afternoon, the Route 66 E-group on MeWe had more than 75 members. That number will rise. The page contains dozens of posts or comments from members.
It certainly has a cleaner, more attractive look and works better with photos and videos. The Yahoo! group’s appearance was antiquated, to be charitable.
Yahoo! announced late last year it was disallowing uploads of content, a surefire signal it eventually will pull the plug on the 20-year-old site.
The Route 66 group on Yahoo! rightfully once claimed to be “the place on the Internet to ‘talk 66.'” More than 8,000 posts were recorded in 2003, including 1,191 in July alone, and it had nearly 2,000 members.
The group also became a focal point in the establishment of the impactful but now-defunct Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program. National Historic Route 66 Federation founder David Knudson shepherded a letter-writing campaign to lobby Congress to pass legislation for the program.
In addition, the group was where the aforementioned Route 66 e-group breakfast and similar gatherings were organized.
The big culprit in the original e-group’s fall was the rise of Facebook and other social media during the late 2000s. The number of posts on the Route 66 group had been roughly halved by 2009 and fell off a cliff by 2014.
On a good note, Ward wrote that Yahoo provided him a download of the thousands of comments on the original e-group. He stated “a lot of it is in a format that’s difficult to do anything with” but indicated he might do something user-friendly with that data in the future.
At the least, it’s saved for posterity in case Yahoo! deletes the group as anticipated.
One selling point (pun intended) of MeWe is it pledges to maintain users’ privacy and not sell data. Using the #Not4Sale hashtag, it proclaims: “No ads, no targeting, and no newsfeed manipulation” — clearly a swipe at Facebook.
The points are driven home by this video:
Fair warning: Such pledges often prove fleeting, especially when a social media group ends up being purchased by another.
(Screen-capture image of the Route 66 e-group page on MeWe)