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A Good Philosophy for Personal Publishing

CJ Chilvers
CJ Chilvers
1 min read

From Om Malik:

“I have often lamented that the ‘why’ of blogging got overtaken by the ‘what’ and the ‘how,’ with the tools and format becoming the primary focus. Ironically I made the same mistake with my newsletter. I don’t work for a publication, so I don’t have a deadline. I no longer have anything to sell. In short, I write, because I am…my reward for writing and sharing is your time and attention.”

I love everything about this philosophy. It’s perfect for personal (if not business) publishing.

The line after it, however:

“If I find that you have not read the last dozen emails sent to your inbox, I will assume you are not keen on what I have to say. You will automatically be unsubscribed. I am not interested in building the biggest community — only one that is thoughtful and engaged.”

A few years ago, it may have been that easy and automated. Now, the data that does exist for opens is untrustworthy, and its collection is almost impossible to excuse.

Yes, it has traditionally cost the publisher (myself included) lots of money (not to mention deliverability issues) if this unsubscribe automation isn’t being used. But that’s not the reader’s problem, that’s our problem.

The only happy compromise I’ve seen for email has come from membership-related or paid newsletters, where it’s in the reader’s interest to keep their subscription status up-to-date.

Sending free email is tough these days.

Perhaps this is the reason Google is dipping its toes in RSS again?