A Post-Virtual Community That Still Loves Email
One caveat to living in a metropolis like New York City is that it can be hard to stay connected with a group of friends. People live in different neighborhoods, work in yet other neighborhoods, have different schedules, and only really find time to hang out on the weekends. Everyone’s a singularity flowing into and out of different clusters, temporarily together but ultimately alone. However, this isn’t the case for everyone. I interviewed a group of people who have figured out how to keep hanging out even when they’re apart.
At the Sex Magazine Issue 8 launch party a couple of months ago, I was introduced to a friend of a friend. Predictably, I asked him, “How do you know so-and-so?” His answer surprised me. “Through an email list called The Thread.” He told me that The Thread is an ongoing email conversation through which he and 23 other people spend their days talking to each other. Many of us have unwillingly ended up on email threads that go on and on as if by accident, but this one is consensual. They even have an ongoing Google Doc of rules (“Sadness is communal”; “Don’t Threadcest”; “No Buzzfeed articles”). Fascinated by this strange take on an online community, I asked them for an interview, and the assemblage immediately approved. True to the spirit of the group, they co-authored and -edited their responses in a Google Doc, and you can tell they’ve been doing this for a while because it reads like a dinner conversation.
After reading this, you may ask yourself ‘how do I join this ingenious post-virtual community?’ You probably can’t. There’s a rule for members not to invite anyone without the permission of the rest of the Thread. But, hey, maybe starting something similar with your friends would be better anyway? Plus, you can always admire their madness on Twitter @thread_heads.
“The Funniest Table in America”
What's the Thread?
PAUL The Thread is real.
JASON The Thread is family.
NICK The Thread is everything.
FORREST The Thread is a group email.
SARA The Thread is ducking insane, all crazies.
MAX The Thread is expansive and unending.
AL Sam said it best: the Thread is “The Funniest Table in America”
ZACH The Thread is a single conversation that’s been going on between 23 people for 24 hours a day for over a year. We’ve sent more than 50,000 emails to the Thread and still going strong.
How did it begin?
AL When I got my first desk job, I had lots of down time so I decided to email my closest friends with a list of ‘summer goals’. Before this email, I sent a ‘Wednesday inspiration’ email to about 50 people, encouraging others to Reply All. It went on for a little while but only true Thread members were able to keep the conversation going for this long.
NICK We all came together at Macri Park on Sinko 2013 (Cinco De Mayo), then we came together everyday in an email chain.
SARA There were a lot of group texts.
LEIA Omg, group texts that broke people’s phones. That’s when I said I hated 206 [Nic] and only knew him by his area code, 206 —not even by face. I had no idea who he was and he broke my phone by uninterrupted texting and didn’t even stop when I was trying to go to LA, lol.
MATT Al sent emails to a bunch of her friends all at once without permission and wouldn’t let anyone out of the email chain. Born from boredom, raised on insanity.
PAUL I joined when I was planning on visiting America, end of last summer. Subject at the time was “re: fondu”