Newsletters aren’t the Answer

I’m really finding twitter to be a useful tool for not only exposing myself to quality thought but for developing it. I hope I can get to a point where I have engaged, quality followers so that I can receive some input while in the creative phase.

But, should I worry about investing a significant part of my creative process into a public company—in particular, one that is facing likely regulation?

This is the reason advise gurus routinely advise you to “own your audience.” There’s wisdom to that, but I don’t strictly proscribe to the recommended solution: build your email list.

📸 Brett Jordan

Yes it’s clearly good to have a list of high quality email addresses in order to send out something like “Hey, I have a book out!” But, I think that the email newsletter is the wrong direction.

The value of posting evergreen content online is that is can be continual discovered by new minds and new opinions. Your sphere of influence is continually growing — not your influence over others, but rather their influence over you. This is how growth occurs.

This is one of the reasons that authors becomes more skilled the more they produce. Not only because their mechanics improve but because they are exposed to more diverse thoughts in response to their work.

Newsletters negate this for the most part. They created closed communities. They create exclusivity. Your ideas remain siloed. Those who subscribe to your newsletter are likely to share your perspectives. If they disagree they are more likely to unsubscribe than they are to engage with you. The nature of a mailing list weeds out outliers, hence we trend toward creating cults of thought.

Patreon suffers from the same problem.

But open content; free content; search engine indexed content remains exposed to any passer-by. It remains vulnerable. It has to fend for itself. It has to survive. And in turn, as a creator, you have to grow stronger and more flexible.

Should we still maintain email lists: of course. There are few better tools for making sure people haven’t missed what you’ve created. But maybe they’re best suited as summaries of un-siloed work; collections of work left in the open to be ravaged by wolves, trolls, and skimmers.

Closed content breeds fragile culture. Open content breeds something more complex and robust.

Categorized as Thoughts

By C.A. Hall

Writer / Podcaster I'm a well-written sentence marred by a curse word. In another life I might have been a criminal profiler, a jazz drummer, an architect, an acrobat, an actor, or a children’s book illustrator.