seagulls standing around

Check your Inbox for a new post!

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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9 comments

  1. Email is definitely not dead if mine is any indication! I haven’t even heard of Substacks, but I am sure it will worm its way into my life. At work, a number of us use Slack for internal communication, which does seem easier than email and the dreaded “reply all.”

    1. I wish my workplace used Slack. Supposedly we will have intraoffice IM/chat via Microsoft Teams before the end of this year and I am looking forward to it. Some coworkers text, and having to keep up with communication on both my computer and my phone can get tricky.

  2. Yikes! I had never heard of Substacks before reading your post! I’ve been having email problems with my blog email, which has contributed to my not keeping up with bloggers I follow, but my own unplanned blogging hiatus has had more to do with that. Glad to see you’re back. I find it easier to follow bloggers who are on WordPress, as I am, so email is the best way for me to follow non-WP blogs, but my email inbox is overwhelming and I spend so much time on email at work! 🙁

    1. I honestly have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, we’re all on email all day long, so it probably is the easiest way to make sure we don’t miss things–they come to us where we are. On the other hand…well, we’re all on email all day long.

  3. I’ve never heard of Substacks. Email is definitely not dead…I like that I get posts there and I can read them as they come in. I love that everyone posts at different times and days, makes it easier for me to keep up. Welcome back to blogging!

    1. Thank you! I can’t argue the convenience of getting blog updates via email – we’re always there–but I still prefer the reading experience of a feed reader on my iPad.

  4. No idea what Substacks are. I get all my blog feeds through email, whether they are food blogs, fashion blogs, or book blogs. I switched to that a few years ago, probably more than I realize, and like the flexibility it affords me. Plus, it means I will actually read posts versus ignoring them because I don’t visit the reader page.

    I do notice that I have issues commenting on Blogger-hosted blogs these days. It started around two years ago and nothing seems to work. It is frustrating because there are times I want to comment but cannot.

    1. I’ve had issues with commenting on Blogger posts for a while, too (and even when I still used that platform I installed a third-party comment system). And I do get your point about it being easier to keep up with posts via email versus the pile-up that happens in a feed reader – I just don’t like the reading *experience* of my inbox as much.