Email for Distribution and Nothing But

Okay, I am doing this again.

Two years ago I started a newsletter for my Chinese blog with the goal of making it easier for people to get updates. Supporting full-text RSS is important to me (and maybe some other folks, here’s the one for this site), but I know it’s unrealistic to ask everyone to use it, especially for some of my less tech-savvy friends.

I started the newsletter with a specific intention of using it only for distribution. In other words, the newsletter was a way of letting people know “Hey I wrote something new!”, instead of a separate thing with content that they couldn’t see on my blog. Newsletter is all good and great but I am not interested in writing on other platforms.

However, the actual implementation wasn’t quite like that. Yes I would publish the newsletters on my blog so they not only lived in people’s inbox, but creating the newsletter just became an entire effort on its own. I had to draft the digest from scratch, manually put all the new posts’ links in one place, write a blurb for each one, and...couldn’t resist the temptation, added other new things specifically for the newsletter. Instead of being a conduit for content, the newsletter became the content.

So, this time I am going to get it right. I gladly found that the newsletter service I use, Buttondown, now supports RSS-to-email. It can automatically send out emails when I publish something or create digests for me on a weekly or monthly basis. Great! This is what I wanted, email as a notification and less as a newsletter.

Before I roll up my sleeves to design and implement a sign-up form, you can subscribe using email here.