Email Newsletters are Better Than You Think (Mostly)

Aug 18, 2022 in Reading

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

I admit that I was late to the newsletter frenzy back in 2020. Getting interesting reading topics delivered to my email seemed counter to how I like to read that I held off for a while. I'm now a convert and actually appreciate the focused spot it has in my life.

I read most of my online content via RSS feeds in my Reeder app. My iPad is where I spend my time browsing articles and reading books. I check email there too, but it's mostly spent deleting things I don't want. RSS is fantastic because it allows me to pull in the content I want to read in a format that suits easy reading.

A coworker had mentioned a newsletter he subscribed to called DenseDiscovery. I browsed a few past issues and subscribed almost immediately. It was such a different format than reading a blog feed that I instantly fell in love. I've since expanded my newsletters a bit, but I keep the list short on purpose.

Newsletters have a wonderful way of feeling like a note from a friend who shares your interests. The curation behind the content and the careful, personal writing styles really appeal to me. Having a new email show up each week in my inbox reinforces this feeling of getting an email from a friend. I've tried the daily newsletters and quickly unsubscribed from those. The information may be interesting, but it quickly loses that curated patina and feels like a new firehose pointing at your face.

My current subs, in no particular order:

  • DenseDiscovery - Kai Brach has a personal intro to each letter on topics he cares deeply about. He sprinkles in some interesting links, books, thoughts from smart people on the web, and wraps with a silly GIF.

  • Sentiers - Patrick Tanguay sends out this weekly newsletter that often takes me 3-4 reads through to digest because the topics he covers are very deep. I love that it pushes me out of my comfort zone just a bit in terms of topics. From the synopsis, "a carefully curated selection of articles with thoughtful commentary on technology, society, culture, and potential futures".

  • Benedict's Newsletter - This is a news newsletter covering a range of topics with several short takes on some news highlights, followed by interesting links to more recent news. I really love his writing style and his insight into the topics he covers, which range across mobile, media and technology.

Vox recently posted an article on the newsletter boom that is worth a read as well.