Newsletters And Why I Will Die Penniless

If I’ve done everything right, then one can once again subscribe to my weekly newsletter at orbitaloperations.com.  (EDITED TO ADD: if you’re already subscribed, it should reach you as normal.)  It will go out, as usual, on Sunday evening UK time.  This time around, it’s costing me real money, as I decided to go with the very helpful people at the professional newslettering system Campaign Monitor.  No longer a hobby that costs me $5 a month.  This sort of thing is what leads people to monetise their newsletters.  This is a thing people do: the announcement of Lena Dunham’s future co-produced newsletter came with an explication of its built-in business model.  Which sounds like it falls in line with GOOP, the Gwyneth Paltrow newsletter and brand.  Which I’ve looked at.  And was amused to discover that the GOOP newsletter is almost absent any actual material: it’s a linkstation for a selection of full articles that you have to click through to read.

I’m sure this makes terrific business sense, and simply underlines the fact that I don’t have any.  But I subscribe to newsletters in order to have something to read.  If I want to be presented with a bunch of snippets and clickthroughs, I’ll go to a bloody website.

I’m trying, badly, to avoid the word “content” here, as I find it problematic.  (I dimly remember Clay Shirky once saying “it’s not content until it’s linked” (italics mine), and Susannah Breslin flaying him for it.)  “Content” became one of those pointer words that basically now just means “things on your screen.”  Redefining that word would be useful.   Networked pixels do not define or denote value, nor do they guarantee the potential of same.  Sending me a linkstation is neither, strictly, news, nor is it a letter.

I will die poor and angry.

READING: POSTCAPITALISM, Paul Mason  (UK)  (US)