Oh happy day! I found an e-newsletter service that integrates with my blog. Feedblitz is free and easy to use, and seems to offer a lot of control over your newsletter, such as how your content appears, how often it's distributed, and how much info you request from subscribers.
I even installed the little subscriber form with no trouble, and have been bragging about it ever since. When I do, I feel like a Who from Whoville, straight from the cover a Dr. Seuss book, pointing to a piece of gadgetry and exclaiming: "There's a Widget on my Blog!"
That this newsletter function does not come standard on every blog blows my mind. Advocates for blogging argue that one of the premiere features of blogs is the RSS feed, and in general I see the value. But I just don't know many people who use RSS feeds, and to confirm my suspicion I've started asking around. I have a lot of sophisticated, educated, successful and professional friends (swear to God) and I've yet to find that one of them actually uses RSS feeds. And I think I know why.
RSS is for information junkies, a wonky cult of professionals capable of consuming vast amounts of information on a regular basis. RSS lets them track their news from dozens of sources at once, satisfying an immediate need for any and all updates --- a need most of us simply do not have, nor would we be capable of satisfying such a need if it existed.
E-mail is accessible, invasive and widely used. Even people without computers use e-mail. My mom uses e-mail. And she forwards everything. The viral potential of a good posting makes my mouth water. Now I can actually leverage the network of friends, family and colleagues I have in order to get my blog read, rather than simply alerting them my blog and having them (1) ignore the RSS option, (2) check the blog once or twice and (3) ultimately forget about it.
My headline is merely a prediction at this point, but I do anticipate this will be a powerful weapon for writers.
The Savior Complex
2 months ago