tl;dr – we’re starting a newsletter! The Heavy Word is written (for now) by me, Eden Kupermintz, Heavy Blog’s Editor in Chief. It’ll feature select articles from the blog, thoughts from me on music, art, gaming, science fiction, digital culture and more, and, of course, lots of music recommendations. The Heavy Word will be sent on Fridays, every two weeks. If you’d like to sign up, here’s the link. Tell your friends!
OK folks, let me clue you in on something: no one has any idea what’s happening with the Internet and it’s kind of terrifying for those of us who spend most of our time online. That might not be true for every single person writing for the blog but it’s definitely true for many of its editors and, perhaps mostly, for me. Besides running the blog, I also spend hours on finding new music, keeping up with the diverse musical communities I’m part of, writing other content online and lots more. Thus, when I see the Internet in flux, it worries me; no one can agree on exactly what’s happening on what we should do.
What’s certain is that the Age of Facebook is about to either end or change drastically. The company, which now also owns Whatsapp and Instagram, remember, has been acting more and more aggressively with how they monetize their product. As I mentioned in my yearly review, that is one hundred percent their prerogative. I’m not mad at Facebook for trying to make money and for using ads to do that (although I do think that a deeper discussion on how ads have become synonymous with the Internet is essential). However, it is blatantly clear that relying on Facebook reach for the blog’s existence is a really bad idea; we just don’t have the money, the time or the expertise needed to prosper on the platform. We still plan on using it, because we don’t really have a choice, but we really need to branch out.
Organic/paid search is also a Not a Thing anymore, for publications of our size at least. There are many articles out there on how Google changed the paid searches game a few years ago but, with the rise of PPC, the starting threshold to be part of the game has increased substantially in the past few years. So, what are we do? How can blogs such as ours, part of a medium which is dying all around us, hope to not only survive but also grow, to reach new readers? There are many answers to that question but, funnily enough, some of the more overlooked ones lie in the past.
Enter the newsletter. This tool is so old, it’s kind of funny. Newsletters were what got journalism in general started; in parts of England, France and other places around Europe, people started spreading the news via letters. They would manage complex subscription networks and use various printing tools to proliferate their messages. Headers, archiving, pressings, grid layouts, investigative journalisms, all of these common habits we say everywhere today came from newsletters. In the digital era, the newsletter piggy backed on top of listservs and then emails, used to spread ideas, creative writing, professional updates and more. Funnily enough, the trend which “killed” the newsletter was…the blog!
But now, newsletters are making a comeback. They represent a more direct method of communicating with your followers; writers use them to keep in touch with their readership, bands use them to stay in touch with their listeners and more. Because subscribing to a newsletter is a direct way of telling the service that you want to see the information you signed up for, you avoid the whole “newsfeed bubble” issue. There are no algorithms which control your newsletter’s visibility, only who signed up for it. You don’t need to boost posts or play games with interfaces, thinking about your title lengths, whether you have images and other such things when you write your newsletter. You can focus on your content and on making it the best out there.
That’s what we’re going to do. The Heavy Word is written (for now) by me, Eden Kupermintz, Heavy Blog’s Editor in Chief. It’ll feature select articles from the blog, thoughts from me on music, art, gaming, science fiction, digital culture and more, and, of course, lots of music recommendations. The Heavy Word will be sent on Fridays, every two weeks. If you’d like to sign up, here’s the link. You can also find the form that leads to at the bottom of this post, if that’s better for you. We hope to see you around; The Heavy Word is the best way to get curated content from us and highlights on the blog, what we’re thinking about and more. Oh, and one last thing: the way to make sure this gets off the ground is word to mouth, so please tell your friends about this. It helps us immensely.
See you in the past.