What even is a newsletter?
I honestly don't know. I suppose that's why I have to write one.
Newsletters are a relatively new phenomena to me. I mean, newsletter newsletters aren't new to me—but people actually voluntarily signing up for newsletters is. As recent as two months ago, if I had known a given email was part of a "newsletter" it would have been summarily purged from my life. And yet, here I am, subscribing to newsletters in my RSS Reader like there's no tomorrow.
How do you write a newsletter? How do you format a newsletter? How do you get people to read your newsletter? How frequently should one publish a newsletter? Will I even like newslettering, or should I stop making excuses for not writing and return to my blog?
Let me answer that question with a story: I've always wanted to start a podcast. Not really. I would hate it; I don't want to hear the sound of my own voice (even though I love to hear myself talk). Actually I don't even listen to podcasts consistently, despite being subscribed to a dozen and my podcast app being one of the 12 apps on the first screen of my phone. Anyway, starting a newsletter seems like the cool new old thing to do—the old new starting a podcast, which was the old new starting a blog, which was the original new not an email newsletter. All this is to say I have no clue what I am doing and probably shouldn’t be doing it.
What will I write about? Will I always ramble so?
To the latter: probably. As for the former, I intend to write primarily about software development and teams. There will likely be a healthy dose of allusion to hobbies and side interests of mine—such as Warhammer—and maybe I'll share some of my favorite music. I've also been creeping around Twitter, learning a bunch from people into things like metacognition, personal knowledge management, thinking tools, etc... so I'm sure that will make an appearance. Maybe this can be a safe space from my work environment where I can mention CrossFit™ without ridicule.
I don't know how often I'll write. I'm hoping weekly? We'll see if I can sustain that pace to start. I wrote this in... 30 minutes? <Editor: It was an hour>... and am not planning on editing (I shoot from the hip) <Editor: he did edit, sorta>, so I'm off to a good start. Maybe I'll publish a real thing later this week.
In the meantime... Links? Links seem like a professional newslettery thing to do.
RSS is Rad. Last fall, Jowanza Joseph shared this post and I stored it deep in my mental priority queue, until Shelter-in-Place hit and my nostaliga for RSS made a raging comeback and I popped it off the buffer. In fact, this newsletter is a little bit of Jowanza's fault.
Knowledge as a graph. Been thinking for a while now about how everything is a graph, and how I could connect my thoughts better. As a result, I've been drawn into note-taking and introduced to the #RoamCult, but they won't let me in. Waiting list. Interested to see how this tool fits how I think (and could shape it?)
Ink Scripting Language. I found this newsletter through Sam Spurlin. I loved this newsletter and learning about Ink, basically a scripting language text-based adventure games. I have a strong nostalgia for MUDs. I also have been wondering if this could be a neat format for some sort of interactive writing/blog post. 🤔
Chatting with Glue. Still not through all the chapters, but it's been really challenging my mind and I am thinking a lot about digital conversations and communication tools.
Song: Violence - Grimes, i_o. I don’t listen to Grimes really, but I’m a big fan of i_o for some deep deadmau5esque (there’s a reason he’s signed on to mau5trap). This one has been at the top of my Q2 2020 playlist for a few weeks now. Only, just now, posting this in my newsletter, did I watch the video for the first time. This was September 2019, and in parts of the video she is wearing a mask and the dancers are 6 feet apart. I’ll end here without comment.
People put stuff at the end of newsletters. Like: what did you think? Do you like my newsletter? What would you like to see in the future? Leave a comment below! Email me? Tweet me? Smash like now.