Subscribing to newsletters the mindful way
There are some really good newsletters out there. But newsletters also have a way of cluttering your inbox, or grabbing your attention at the wrong time. And having it slide ever lower down your inbox can make you forget about content you actually wanted to read. The problem isn’t e-mail, which can be a fantastic delivery mechanism for news. The real challenge is lack of control for busy people, and otherwise overflowing inboxes. I’m here to tell you there are ways to collect all your newsletters in one place, for easy access but without the obstructive delivery.
Let me walk you through three different solutions. The common denominator for all these tools are that they give you a unique personal e-mail address that you use when subscribing to newsletters.
- Stoop – a dedicated app for both iOS and Android. It has newsletter recommendations. Also lets you forward e-mail to your unique address for later reading within the Stoop app. Basic version is free and premium features cost $10/year.
- Newslettrs.app – a web-based service that collects your newsletters in one place, with apps for both iOS and Android coming soon. There are collections of newsletter recommendations to get you started but you also just use you unique e-mail for any newsletters you wish to regularly read. Currently (December 2019) you need an invite code to sign up. Free right now, no information on future pricing.
- Feedbin – For power-users this is an RSS-reader that also offers a unique e-mail. This means you can read your newsletters alongside all the RSS feeds you subscribe to, in your browser or in an app. It will even let you add Twitter lists, users and searches as their own feeds. Free trial and then $5/month.
More on each of these services below.
Like a podcast app – but for newsletters
With a focus on making content appealing to consume, Stoop helps you discover and read in one place. Among its features are what it calls “iron-clad” unsubscription and e-mail forwarding to Stoop for stuff you want to read later (with approval of what addresses can forward). Unique feature: you can also subscribe to YouTube video channels.
Limits: In the free version Stoop will keep up to 10 issues of each newsletter in its inbox, and anything older than that will be archived. Each issue will sit in the archive for 60 days before being deleted. If you want to keep an unlimited number of issues in the inbox and archives you need to become a premium member through an in-app purchase of $10/year.
Web address: stoopinbox.com
Pro tip: If you install Stoop, spend some time reading the welcome e-mail in the inbox. It will tell you everything you need to know to make good use of the app.
Subscribe and read newsletters from around the Internet in one place.
If you prefer just reading your content through a browser, and don’t want to always be tied to an app, this is the simplest tool of the bunch. Apps are said to be coming as well, to complement the web interface. While Newslettrs gives suggestions of what to read, the real power is in putting all the newsletters you already love in one place. Fair warning in that this service is just launching. While it’s free now the future business model is unclear. Unique feature: completely free (for now).
Web address: newslettrs.app
Follow your passions with RSS, Twitter, and email newsletters
Full disclosure, this is the tool I use to collect all my news in one place, including news sites, blogs, newsletters and a few Twitter lists and searches. You can put all the different feeds in one or more categories as you wish. Read by categories or each source as you wish. This added power comes with a price: five dollars per month. If you have a lot of sources you want to find in one place it has proven invaluable for me, but I acknowledge that not everyone craves the massive news consumption from different sources that Feedbin supports. Unique feature: Full-fledged RSS-reader and Twitter feed reader
Good to know: Feedbin doesn’t let you archive or delete in the way that Stoop does. All feeds are visible and saved as long as they are active. This is not a big issue for me but sometimes it bothers me that I can’t archive confirmation e-mails.
Web address: feedbin.com
To think about
There is an added benefit of separating your newsletters from your everyday inbox. With your personal e-mail address on the loose out there, there is loads of potential for misuse and tracking you as an individual. A unique, separate e-mail address actually keeps you more safe and private.
Once you’ve chosen your platform there are things to keep in mind:
- You need to unsubscribe and re-subscribe to your favorite newsletters, using your new newsletter dedicated e-mail address. I’ve done this as newsletters arrive. Some newsletters will actually allow you to just change your e-mail address (Mailchimp-based ones may have a link called “edit your preferences”)
- If newsletters have double opt-in (which they all should) then remember there will be an e-mail asking you to confirm your subscription. This confirmation e-mail will also end up in the newsletter service. Remember to go there and confirm the subscription before the confirmation link expires.
- Schedule a timeslot each day or each week to read your chosen newsletters. There is a reason you chose to subscribe and that is likely that their content inspires you, challenges you or teaches you. If you find that you are spending more energy on the newsletter than it’s giving you, then remember to unsubscribe.
I hope you find a tool that works for you. And now if you’re feeling brave, you may even want to give my newsletter, Pandamonium, a fighting chance.
Just never forget: content should work for you – not the other way around.
Get Per's newsletter
Per Axbom's newsletter on digital ethics and compassionate design helps you stay updated on human rights issues in the tech space. You will receive select posts in your inbox 2-3 times per month.
Become a Key Supporter
If you wish to support Per's efforts in writing and teaching on digital ethics and wellbeing in tech, you can become a key supporter and donate monthly.
For one-time donations you can use Swish (in Sweden) or PayPal.