How Newsletters Survived Technology

The killer medium is email. The killer service is the newsletter. Why? Because you have control. Dave Pell should know… he’s the Managing Editor of the Internet.

Thanks in part to humanity’s success against the scourge of spam, the inbox is one of the few places where you actually have control over an information feed. If you want a newsletter, subscribe. If you don’t want a newsletter, unsubscribe. Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t get to decide what’s more likely to appear in your email stream. The Russians are not setting up a disinformation campaign in your inbox. It is your inbox and your own private antisocial network. You are the algorithm. This is the core reason why the noisier the rest of the internet gets, the more popular the quiet, humble newsletter becomes. And it’s why, during the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter protests, the presidential election, the Big Lie, and the insurrection, when we were being pulverized by an unprecedented onslaught of information, newsletters felt like a welcome respite from the noise and were suddenly the biggest new (but far from the newest) thing in media.


November 10, 2021