It's been a minute, hasn't it? Part of that is due to some spectacularly bad timing:
I migrated this newsletter to Substack right around the same time people began raising some very good questions about what Substack is. So I had to take some time to think through what my own stance was here, and that led me to also ask: "What the heck am I doing with 'So What, Who Cares?'"
During the “whither So What, Who Cares?” phase, an editorial professional whose judgment I trust commented, "The thing about your newsletter is, it's not about anything beyond what interests you. You don't have a hook or an area of expertise or a market niche."
This is an entirely fair assessment, and it reminded me of a passage in one of my favorite reads from last year, Jennifer Homans' history of ballet, Apollo's Angels. She wrote of New York City Ballet co-founder Lincoln Kerstein, "A driving but unfocused ambition made it difficult for Kirstein to settle … He wanted to be an artist—he had studied painting and even briefly considered a career as a dancer—but he had the hard, analytic mind of a critic instead and found himself depressingly ill-suited for the occupations he most admired."
I don't really think I have any sort of driving ambition, but boy howdy did the "difficult to settle," "unfocused" and "the hard, analytic mind of a critic" parts require me to look up from my Kindle and stare at the wall for a few minutes until the stings of recognition subsided.
I took the fantastically informative Knight Center journalism course "Newsletter Strategies for Journalists: How to Create, Grow & Monetize Newsletters," because why not stay abreast of how people whose newsletters are about something do their things? Taking this course only highlighted that wow, there is a long way between "Tinyletter I wrote because it was more fun than blogging" and "Newsletters in the year 2021."
So I've been thinking a bit about where this newsletter is going, and where your feedback fits in with the glow-up. Here's what to expect with "So What? Who Cares?" in 2021.
Yes, this newsletter is now on Substack. TinyLetter wasn't working as a platform any more. However, I am in no way the type of writer Substack would want to invest in, so no worries there. Also, I do not plan for charging for this newsletter.
You get to share what you do and don't like about this newsletter via this exciting and painless survey: https://forms.gle/Y3QmQTmTvxbqGNPe6
(I had smart people who do audience development review the survey, FYI.)
I will be taking responses all through the month of April 2021. You'll be getting at least one reminder via a follow-up newsletter.
This newsletter is about to enter a period of structured experimentation as I develop and test out new features and figure out the formatting in Substack. Won’t this be fun? Feel free to suggest running features like “Which Tiktok do you watch multiple times a week?” or “What’s the last article you saved to Evernote?”
Okay! That housekeeping is over. Thanks for the gift of your ongoing readership and the privilege of letting me stand between you and Inbox Zero. Now go take a survey!