Next week marks the 31st edition of my monthly email newsletter which I started in late 2015.
As you’ve probably noticed, I haven’t really kept up my end of the bargain.
In the early days I sometimes let two, three or even four months pass without a newsletter leaving the premises.
Now, the practice is in place – the last 15 editions have been published on a regular monthly basis.
This doesn’t mean the resistance disappears. Growth is slow, interaction and feedback loops hard to find. My inbox is dominated by out of office responses ahead of human replies. Sometimes it feels futile. Is anybody out there?
But just because we use one medium to communicate it doesn’t mean we should expect others to respond in kind.
This week I got a chance to facilitate a 2 day course with someone I haven’t seen for a few months.
As we settled in to chat through the content for the next days’ sessions, he mentioned a few of my recent projects and his curiosity about them. At first I assumed he’d seen something Twitter or LinkedIn, before realising some of these projects had only been shared with my email list – and a couple of them several months earlier. More so, I’d forgotten he’d even subscribed to receive my monthly email.
20 minutes later, as we finished up chatting about the projects he’d expressed interest in and why they mattered to him, my mind went to my (now formerly) sole metric: email responses. Just because he hadn’t emailed it didn’t mean there wasn’t something of value for him in what I’d produced.
And my desire for responses in my inbox made the whole effort of the email newsletter more about me than the audience – even if I told myself a story that asking for interaction was something to serve them better.
It’s easy to assume that not receiving an immediate, in kind response to our work means no one is listening.
Maybe we’re just looking in the wrong places. Or we shouldn’t even worry about looking at all.