Herky History!

Czar George recently answered a question on the history of the Herky list with this short essay:

From gmiller@cybermarket.com  Fri Dec 13 02:37:41 1996
Date: Thu, 12 Dec 1996 15:27:13 +0000
From: George Miller 
Subject: HERKY: Herky History for Janece
janece valentine asked about Herky's origins & history:

Herky was started the year we went to the NIT in bball, which would make it about February/March 1995 I believe. Do any of the Old Timers remember exactly when it was?

In addition to my paying job, I'm a partner in a small business that does Internet consulting/web design work. My partners (gopher fans, no less) were kind enough to agree to donate space for Herky with me on a server we have connected to the Internet. One of my partners is the creator/keeper of the software that we use to run the mailing list (majordomo). I maintain the list, which means doing the administrative functions (and keeping the Dr. Tom debate from getting out of hand ;^)) rather than the programming. (Herky runs on a Micron p133 Unix box; the mailing list software we use is Majordomo for those that are interested)

I started the list with around 6 people who I had met through the basketball newsgroup; most of the original 6 are still upstanding members of Herky. The Old Timers know who they are.

We've grown from that 6 to about 600 currently. In the beginning I didn't tell anybody about the list, but through word of mouth it grew fairly quickly to around 100. The Alumni Quarterly has done a story about us now, as did the football program for the Arizona/IOWA football game.

The volume of traffic on the list has grown, but not as fast as the subscriber base. I think I noticed that we had something like 14,000 emails for the year so far the other night. With the bounces I get because of bad addresses, server problems out there, etc.. I get about 200 to 300 emails per day through Herky. It makes the job of running the list a bit harder as it grows, but it's worth it. It's the only way to get news about the Hawks up here in the frozen wastelands of Minnesota.

Hope this helps you out! Let me know if you have any other questions that I didn't cover here.


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. . .and Chris Bryant reposted this article about Herky from a recent football program:
Subject: HERKY: Iowa football program article about Herky
Date: 15 Dec 1996 23:35:47 -0000
From: "Chris Bryant" 

This will be my third attempt to successfully get this posted to Herky.  The
following article appeared in the Iowa/Arizona game program on September 7,


By day he's a product manager at Marigold Foods in the Twin Cities area, but once he's put in his time at the job that pays, George Miller, '87BA, becomes a cyberczar. And in his kingdom are about 500 rabid Hawkeye fans, all grateful for the initiative that Miller took in establishing a mailing list called Herky.

In little more than a year, Miller has created a community that now extends beyond the computers that link Herky subscribers to each other. These loyal Hawkeyes sometimes band together at tailgates or help other list members get tickets, and they do what they can to keep the group well informed about their beloved sports teams at the University of Iowa.

It all started in the spring of 1995, when the basketball Hawkeyes were invited to the N.I.T. and Miller was stuck in Gopherland, where news from Iowa is hard to get. Having seen posts from several Hawk fans on a basketball newsgroup he belonged to, Miller started e-mailing the others--all six of them. To ease communication, he soon decided to start a mailing list devoted solely to the Hawks.

"It started with the six of us and before long there were 50," Miller recalls. "Now there are close to 500 people on Herky. Most of them are from the Midwest, but we have active members in Europe, Japan, Canada, and the Middle East, too. Herky is its own little community. it's not like America Online, where people sometimes use vulgar or insulting language. Even though some topics become old and tired, Herky subscribers are almost always great people."

One member--a prominant UI psychiatrist--did his utmost to keep others informed about how the basketball Hawks were looking prior to this year's NCAA tournament. He'd spring over to Carver-Hawkeye Arena to watch the team practice and then post his observations. Herky-Net had its own scout!

And members are good to post game updates at halftime so that "David From Russia" and "Michael from Germany" and other subscribers know how well the Hawkeyes are doing, even if they can't listen to the games live.

Miller says that one of the most amazing things that's happened on herky occurred in May 1996, when basketball talk was getting old and football was still months away. Still, subscribers found items of interest to share--including the letter that Nile Kinnick wrote to a close lady friend in Des Moines. For some reason, a Herky subscriber in California was moved to post the letter, which has been published in A Hero Perished: The Diary and Selected Letters of Nile Kinnick.

To Miller's amazement, David in Russia responded, "I had been off the list for a long time until tonight, and Stephen's post concerning Nile Kinnick's last letter kind of stunned me. His "lady friend" is my Aunt Celia...."

It's a small world. Linked by computer technology and a love for the Hawkeyes, Herky subscribers are virtual pen pals.

Posted by Chris Bryant

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Last revised Saturday, 23-Nov-2002 15:00:49 CST