In praise of email
Sent by Jonathan Stark on December 4th, 2018
Inbox overload is definitely a problem but if you’re trying to build an audience, it’s hard to think of a better all-around publishing platform than email.
I said so recently in this video and received the following question in the comments:
Why do you think email works better for you than social media or other communication system? Cause I think depend on the activity or service you are offering that some media will work better.
Here are the top three reasons I like email best:
- Decentralized—With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Slack, etc... I don’t like the idea of getting cut off from my audience overnight because some random CEO in Silicon Valley decided to pivot his/her business model. With email, this would be virtually impossible. I can easily take my list to any provider, or in extreme circumstances, roll my own SMTP server. It’s an open protocol and hard to kill.
- Nonymous—Email is a “known identity” platform by default. Unlike other decentralized publishing protocols like blogs and podcasts (i.e., RSS), email subscribers are not anonymous. Sure someone can sign up with a fake address, but it’s not all that common and those get pruned in short order.
- Asymmetric—Email has an asymmetric privacy model at its core. I can broadcast to thousands of people with a single click, and any one of the recipients can reply privately to me directly with a single click. Other than me reposting someone’s message - which I only do with explicit permission - subscribers know that replying to me is not going to go out to the entire list. It’s private. An additional benefit with this model is that the occasional troll can only bother me, not everyone.
As question asker pointed out, there’s no “one right way” for everyone... BUT email is unique in many ways that are compelling for loads of use cases.
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