seagulls standing around

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Does anyone else remember the predictions that email was dying, or reports that it was dead already? (That first link is from 2011, y’all!) I really think those rumors may have been greatly exaggerated.

I’m making a serious effort to come back to blogging. (I hope you’ve noticed.) That means not just posting, but reading blogs too. And I’m noticing that my feed reader isn’t nearly as busy as it once was.

I’m excited to reconnect with bloggers I’ve followed for years, and happy to see how many are still keeping on after five or seven or more than ten years. (I am bound and determined to take note of my fourteenth anniversary as a blogger this March.) But many of the familiar headlines and bylines have disappeared, while others post less regularly. And some blogs don’t seem to have RSS feeds anymore. If you want to make sure you catch all their posts, you’ll need to sign up for email.

What once were blog posts are now Substacks

And lately, I’m seeing more and more people I first knew as bloggers going all -in on email—they’re starting Substacks newsletters.

I’ve subscribed to several Substacks over the last few months, and I can see its appeal, especially for old-school bloggers. It’s a place to write—where the writing is the focus—and a mechanism to share that writing. Simple and to the point. And it also provides community-building tools like comments and discussion threads. Frankly, if you’re looking for a way to reinvigorate your blogging life, a Substack is probably a lot easier than starting a podcast.

And if you find your email inbox is just getting too full of Substacks —I’m not there yet, but it’s not hard to foresee—you can read them all in a browser tab that might give you some nostalgic Google Reader vibes. And in a fine example of “what goes around comes around,” Substack Reader even lets you add RSS feeds.

(Full disclosure: I’ve also claimed the space to create a Substack of my own. I’m not posting a link. I don’t even know what I’ll do with it. But I’ll invite you to check it out once I have something there to share.)

I have my doubts email will ever die–it’s clearly not going down without a fight, anyway. Personally, I’m not sure it’s really how I want to read blog posts, but for the most part I’m pretty fond of it and wouldn’t want to be without it. I would definitely support killing voicemail, though.

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