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The Club-Newsletter Loop

Brendan | 2024-03-29

Email Digests for Internet Clubs

This past month we've been running a few internet clubs — a few dozen people making websites, reading books on learning and parenting, and sharing daily creative crafts.

As part of this, a key thing we've been testing is a communication loop outside the Hyperlink app itself, via simple weekly email digests.

This kind of pop-up newsletter is a place for us to summarize activity, reflect on how things are going, solicit feedback, and generally keep participants in the loop — extra important with longer async clubs.

The Club-Newsletter Loop

We think this dynamic — a feedback loop of both regular creative activity among a group, and regular emails to share it — could be a particularly nice fit for existing newsletters and their communities!

For newsletters where collaborative creative activity is a natural fit, this can be a way to bootstrap more active participation from community members and generate interesting activity that feeds back into the writing pipeline.

Newsletters, even small ones, have a couple great things going:

Which together often mean a strong baseline level of interest from readers in further exploring the terrain the newsletter's already actively mapping. For example:

How the Loop Might Loop

Imagine you write a newsletter on a niche topic, let's say pottery, let's say called "Thoughts on Pots", an ascendant voice in the handcraft scene.

There's a feedback loop we can imagine that looks something like this:

The part that makes it a loop is the output of a group's activity feeding into meaningful writing, and sparking new things to try together, all filtered through the actual interests and participation of your community.

It feels like this could get a nice pulse going — particularly with a wider community of practice (i.e. all subscribers) as background for the more intimate group doing a given activity. Even folks who can't take part might enjoy spectating, offer feedback, and get excited to join next time.

Join the Party

We're partly going off a hunch, but there are all sorts of examples where people are doing interesting communal experiments and group activity with newsletters as just one piece of the puzzle.

Many newsletter-adjacent social experiments happen offline, or have no need for fancy tools, and that's great!

But some, particularly ones with participants spread across the globe, sharing or working asynchronously, could use a nicer environment to do things together online. And that's a place where we think Hyperlink can offer something special.

If you write a newsletter and like the idea of this sort of experimental internet club, we encourage you to give it a try, and we'd love to help however we can.