By Matt Gordon
Is there anything more worthless than a newsletter? Probably at one point they were very valuable. Imagine when ancients at Stonehenge were using those huge rocks to try to spell out some updates and some giant named Garth finally suggested: “Hey, why don’t we just do a newsletter instead?” Or consider Paul Revere’s midnight ride being replaced by a newsletter (sent at a much more respectable hour): “This just in—The British are coming. Like, tonight! Also read on for updates on all things Revere Fam plus Paul’s favorite Easter recipes!”
I wonder if baddies had newsletters? “Happy Holidays from the Manson Family! What a Year It’s Been!”
The first newsletter was likely a novel, game-changing thing. Think of being a rival company of the first company to send a newsletter out. “They did what!? And it just sort of updated their client list on everything they’ve been up to!” Of course, after the outrage the sentiment was easy to guess: “We need a newsletter!”
And so it has gone. Every missionary ever wants to send their newsletter to your junk folder. Schools, leagues, annual events, media outlets—they all have newsletters. Families have especially taken to the craze. Why I need to catch up on all things Anderson or Smith Family is beyond me, but each year around the holiday season I get a sizable, detailed update nonetheless, chockful of whereabouts of family members, recent engagements, and pics of their dog in a sweater. With all this supply and next to no demand, I state again: is there anything more worthless than a newsletter?
Which brings me to my next point: today we started a newsletter. This blog. Yep, we joined the merry masses in a monthly pursuit of letting people who don’t care in on the things we do care about. We didn’t go in with any idealism that ours would be a “different kind of newsletter” or “change the newsletter game” or “one newsletter to rule them all.” Nope, nothing like that. We just got to a point where we wanted anyone and everyone with even a modicum of interest to have an entryway into what we were doing or trying to do. Effectively, we began to care so much that a newsletter became akin to us shouting, “The British are coming!”
In short, a very human thing has happened; this newsletter deluge attests to it. And that thing is that humans are forever sharers. Watch a great show? We tell even strangers about it. Try a new restaurant; we make a review. Read a book? Rate it. Even our dogs and their sweaters aren’t safe from this sharing fixation. Part of us desires good and wants to spread that good around. Even if it is a version of good that not everyone cares about. The fact that someone somewhere might is enough. It is always enough. Go tell it on the mountain and all that.
So while newsletters are of little value, the sentiment behind them is priceless. We, humans, want to share good news. We can quibble perhaps on the definition of “good”—like do I really need another update about your family’s trip to Florida? But even there the sun shines through: humans trying to connect, to invite others to be part of something—whether we want to be or not is an altogether different question that there are probably a few hundred newsletters dedicated to answering.
Perhaps, you yourself are reading this at a time when you are feeling a void in your own life. You stood staring into the mirror today, brushing your teeth and asking: Do I need something in my life? What is the meaning of all this? Is something missing? I don’t know what the answer for you is, of course. I’d start by making sure I applied toothpaste to the brush. But maybe the longing goes deeper, goes beyond? Maybe the longing is for an update? Perhaps one that comes at the beginning of every month, and recaps what you might have missed on a particular website and gives you insights toward what might be coming along in future months?
If you are truly asking the deep questions of life . . . boy, do I have a monthly answer for you. Subscribe to this blog and it will be waiting in a junk email folder for you with all the other good news. And no matter what always remember: The British are Coming!