Have you totted up recently how many email newsletters you receive? I daren’t count, but I do know that I signed up to each one in the genuine belief that it would contain something useful. They probably do, but my heart now sinks so deep each time another newsletter arrives in my inbox that the pearls of wisdom are going unread. I now have a policy of sticking them straight into a dedicated folder on the basis that I’ll get round to reading them some time when things are a bit quiet – ha ha! It’s a shame as if only I could find the hours to spend combing through them I’m sure I’d learn a lot.
However, when people break the main points of their newsletters into individual tweets sent with a link, suddenly I’m interested and will often end up reading an article far longer than any newsletter, which makes no sense at all. Perhaps what it comes down to is this: in an environment where we’re constantly bombarded with information we need to be able to pick out the gems and leave the rest, and a system that enables us to do this, and Twitter is the paradigm, has to be a winner.
All of which is to beg the question – is the newsletter dead? We’ve talked about putting one together but have never actually done so, I suspect because we’re so hopeless at reading them ourselves. I’ll stick my neck out and suggest that long newsletters full of text are dead, but short snappy ones containing a few links have a lot to offer. The WiRE newsletter is a good example of the latter and one I always read, and it has the advantage of coming out once a month. UKBusinessForums is another one that takes 90 seconds to skim through and click on any links that look worth further reading. Infrequent mailings are an advantage – there’s nothing like being pestered with the same information on a weekly basis to have me unsubscribing.
So, the newsletter is dead, long live the brief email containing links to a few interesting articles – discuss!