Since their initial experimentation in Strasbourg in 1982-1983, convivial messaging services rapidly have become the most popular and lucrative telematics item among the greater public in France. The "messageries-conviviales" enable users of information banks to communicate with one another in synchronous or asynchronous time. They traditionally have been consulted 3 or 4 more times than the rest of related information or transactional services combined. Experts agree that the public is willing to experiment with new uses for home informatics systems that key on stimulating social interaction and establishing new types of social networks. The essentialquestion about convivial messaging users is whether they will agree to keep paying the equivalent of about $10.50 an hour for such services. What is often overlooked worldwide in debates about messagerie success is that these embryonic systems are all forms of electronic mail -- new media offering new possibilities in dominating time and space.
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