Have you ever been bombarded with an auto-playing video while scrolling through your feed? Or have you ever been sucked into a click-bait hole not knowing how you got there? Every day we are flooded with constant streams of information through the multitude of social media platforms we use. But these streams are often full of nothing but a ton of digital rubbish. Take a close look at click-baiting, the 21st century publishing trend is on the rise and it’s a publisher’s dream. We’ve even witnessed reputable news source The Guardian resort to click-baiting to drive traction and get more eyeballs reading their articles. On the other end of the spectrum, Australian news platform Mamamia has said good riddance to click-baiting. Mamamia’s Editorial Strategist, Kate Spies, explains why: “The move away from clickbait is an evolution and it is one that we will continue to work on. Our readers have asked us for that, and customer advocacy underpins everything that we do.” Click-bait in other words is manipulation and trickery, but audiences are catching on to the deceit – “they want to be served genuinely interesting content that engages them; they’ve had enough of click-baiting,” said Spies. But is it possible in this fast paced information age to find the curation we crave for? I believe the answer to this question comes to us in the form of the curated e-newsletter. This once thought to be dated distribution channel for content full of junk and spam is making a return to our inboxes.
If you’re not already obsessed with the genius of Lena Dunham, this is bound to tip your obsession from 0 to 100. Introducing the Lenny Letter, “an email newsletter where there’s no such thing as too much information.” Dunham has teamed up with Jenni Konner, Girls co-creator, to deliver an e-newsletter on par to “your oversharing Internet friend who will yell at you about your finances, help you choose a bathing suit, lamp, president … AND tell you what to do if you need an abortion.” Now this has me clicking subscribe!
Or just look at Alexis Madrigal’s 5 Intriguing Things, or Miranda July’s We Think Alone. These curated e-newsletters range from think-pieces to aggregated links to art projects, and cater to anyone and everyone. But why is one of the oldest media platforms surpassing newer forms of communication such as social media?
Today, our daily routine consists of checking our smartphones upon first waking up. Yet unlike the social media platforms we use, our inboxes act as our own private online address, and the curated email newsletters we subscribe to are like “a smart friend helping you make sense of the world”, says Millie Tran, a writer for the Buzzfeed News e-newsletter. You enlist your trust into a company or person you value and in return they interact with you on a one-on-one level, just like a friend, and ‘chat’ to you about content they know you’ll like and want to interact with. This intimate touch leaves you wanting more; no unsubscribe and the e-newsletters continue to roll through.
In our fast and chaotic online world we crave for something that is direct, personal and neatly packaged. The curated email newsletter is the answer to our digital prayers.
Here’s five e-newsletters worth subscribing to: