[IMAGE: The BBN-TENEXA (BBNA) terminal, in the foreground on the right, received the first email. The BBN-TENEXB (BBNB), in the background on the right, was used to send the first email was sent. The Teletype KSR-33 terminal, on the left in the foreground, was used to print the first email. Behind it is another KSR-33 which was used to type the first email. Credit: Dan Murphy via Ray Tomlinson]
Today, as usual, I started off my day reading the txts, tweets and notifications that had come in while I slept. As has been true for years, however, the first thing I checked was email, the original killer app on the Internet. Included in that inbox are a selection of email newsletters, the death of which, as David Carr noted in the New York Times this past weekend, has not only been “greatly exaggerated.” As he details, email newsletters are not only quite alive but enjoying a robust renaissance, as media companies, new and old, and individual authors connect with busy readers saturated in social media and bacn in their inboxes. Why? Sayeth Carr:
How can that be? With social media, mobile apps and dynamic websites that practically stalk the reader, how can something that sometimes gets caught in a spam filter really be taking off?
Newsletters are clicking because readers have grown tired of the endless stream of information on the Internet, and having something finite and recognizable show up in your inbox can impose order on all that chaos. In fact, the comeback of email newsletters has been covered in Fast Company, The Atlantic andMedium, but I missed those articles because, really, who can keep up with a never-ending scroll of new developments? That’s where email newsletters, with their aggregation and summaries, come in. Some are email only, others reprise something that can be found on the web. At a time when lots of news and information is whizzing by online, email newsletters — some free, some not — help us figure out what’s worth paying attention to.
Perzactly. I would only quibble with Carr on one count: for me, such newsletters have been a part of my day for many years, not a recent discovery. I even produced one for nearly 3 years, from 2006-2009 when I was an editor at WhatIs.com, helping to create a “Word of the Day” email newsletter, a weekly roundup, and experimenting with a “Buzzword Report.”
These days, I enjoy:
- TechPresident‘s “First Post,” expertly curated by Micah Sifry to provide the key stories and commentary in government, technology politics from the past 24 hours
- POLITICO’s “Morning Tech” and “Playbook“ by Mike Allen. These cover tech policy and the political and business stories that Allen thinks DC’s political elite need to know, need to know know is being talked about, and will drive the news cycle for the day.
- News.me, from Digg, which shows the “five best” stories of the hundreds shared by my friends and followees on Twitter and Facebook. This always has the “biggest stories” of the past 24 hours, at least as reflected by the networks I’ve created)
- GetWiser, formerly known as Delve, which also mines my social networks for interesting stories
- “Five Intriguing Things“ by Alexis Madrigal. Exactly what he promises.
- Re/code‘s “Daily Headlines” are a great recent addition, covering what the site’s expert editors think matters in tech news.
- “HuffPostHill” from the The Huffington Post. Cheeky, funny end of the day round up of political news.
- Newsle: Digest of updates on my personal and professional networks.
What email newsletters do you subscribe to, and why?
One response to “The original killer app evolves as email newsletters cut through the social chaff”
Great post here. With the recent surge in the emails I’ve been receiving from ALLs forms of newsletters, I’ve had to cancel all subscriptions, except for the ones I really need. It just became too much and I honestly couldn’t handle it. I’ve reached a point where I’ve finally got my emails under control and so I could potentially look at subscribing to some newsletters, but I just cannot imagine I’d read it or read something that doesn’t already exist in RSS feeds I’m subscribed to!