My inbox has another newsletter in it.

Another newsletter telling me of the depravities of the human condition. Some stupid fucking spiel about the doom of mankind at the hands of the pro-choice lobby in DC.

Yeah. Whatever.

It doesn’t really matter who the letter’s from.

Every time I get one of these, I feel like grabbing the cup of coffee or tea or cocoa or whatever viscous liquid happens to be sitting next to me at that moment and hurling it at the wall.


Let’s go back in time a little.


I was a Junior at South Whidbey High School, and the photographic editor of the Falcon Eye - the high school's student newspaper. I was really into it, the whole journalism thing. So much so that I would go out of my way to find conferences and organizations that would further broaden my perspective and expand my understanding of both the journalism curriculum and the future of the field. 

One such organization was the Langley Center for New Media, and their annual Content Marketing Retreat.

The Retreat is organized every year by this guy named Russel Sparkman (@fusionspark), and if you're in that world, you've probably met him. Or at least heard his name. All of you people seem to know each other. You people and your fucking conferences.

And it was at this retreat in 2009 - I was either sixteen or seventeen - when I first heard the term "Content Marketing" defined in its full glory.

Flip charts and pie charts and this new service nobody had ever heard of called "Prezi" and this other new service no one had heard of called "LinkedIn" and this startup out in New York called "MediaStorm" and more graphs and stories and bar graphs and statistics!

And here were the Jedi Masters of the Content Marketing world - Andrew Davis and Matt Heinz and Joe Pulizzi and Brian Storm and the guys who started LinkedIn and MailChimp - they were all there. And all the shakers and movers of my  local business community were there; Joe Menth and George Henny and Sue Frause and anyone worth talking to. I'm pretty sure the future Mayor of Langley was there, but I might be confusing that. Was Ann Handley there? I can't remember.

Even one of my future Journalism professors, Maria McLeod, was there at that conference.

And there I was - the only High Schooler in the fucking room. I had one thing in mind and one thing in mind only - I wanted to make my High School's student newspaper the best fucking student newspaper on the West Coast.

Of course, that never happened.

But I made a lot of friends that weekend - learned about a bunch of new stuff that coincidentally became the backdrop of the mobile phone revolution.

I shit you not - the centerpiece in the middle of the table was a bouquet of QR codes sticking out of a piece of metal. Mind you - this was 2009, before most of the world knew what a QR code even was.

These people, they're the forefront of the digital kingdom - technologies that you are just reading about in WIRED Magazine have already passed across their desks and promptly been shoved into the trash.

And every single one of them, every SINGLE one, was learning more and better ways how to MAKE PEOPLE BELIEVE that the PURE BULLSHIT their companies were making was NECESSARY. Psychological games and shadow play.

This wasn't integrated content advertising as you've seen it in the New York Times - this was content marketing. In short, the context created by the COMPANY in the stead of legitimate hype. These people were creating the hype.

And they weren't bashful about it. They were completely honest and upfront about what they were doing. And I was hooked.

It was Bernaysian... Freudian. It was a mindfuck of the highest order. And I loved it - I love it still.

It was at this conference when I started my Twitter account, my LinkedIn, my Prezzi, and hit up Omegle for the very first time. I discovered a new world that I didn't know how to tread, but I loved it. Not to mention the way Andrew Davis dresses to impress! What an impressive necktie.


The email newsletter.

The idea that some people find enjoyment in having their inbox invaded by all of these stupid fucking newsletters makes me sick.

Back in 2006, three years before my troglodyte-Baby-Boomer-reformed-hippie-business-owner father bought his first ever computer and let me use it for schoolwork, my father fought the daily struggle against this thing that people with mailboxes - those semi-cylindrical objects that people put on the street in front of their houses aren't there just for the fuck of it - called "JUNK MAIL."

It was a sad, sad, sad, sad day when I received my first email from a Nigerian Prince. It wasn't that sad of a day when I received a cache of pirated pornography because the virus attached to it was built to affect a Dell and I was operating on a Mac. I hadn't developed an effective method of ejaculating to internet images at that point my life, but I felt myself becoming a man nonetheless.

But I learned the ugly truth, like we all do, of the internet:

If it's on the internet, and it's not porn, then it's not likely anything good.

My very first ever NEWSLETTER was from the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District's weekly Winter program called the "Ski Bus," a bus that would take underage students to Steven's Pass every Saturday for a nice, long day on the slopes.

That was in 2008.

But at this conference, this retreat, I learned of a new type of newsletter that was evolving and would hit the web within the next year. This was the phenomenon of the CONTENT NEWSLETTER (not the technical term) - AKA, the READ THIS NEWSLETTER SO YOU'LL SUBCONSCIOUSLY BUY MY SHIT NEWSLETTER.

I hated the concept. And there were the people from MailChimp, sitting across the table from me at lunch, hawking this shit at me in-between bites of Reuben and swigs of Martenelli's Sparkling Apple Cider. If I had been old enough to down Vodka in the quantities that some of these guys did, I probably would have been.

The entire concept of the commercialized email newsletter scares the shit out of me to this day.

It's a more subliminal form, in my opinion of Commercial Propaganda - and those who caught onto my earlier reference to Eddie Bernays would repudiate the concept as null. Propaganda, they might say, is paramount to innocence. The market does not come with a moral compass.

Fuck them.

And I was doing fine here, sitting in my silent discontent of Email Newsletters, until my frustration became manifested in the band called Lux Lisbon. One of their innumerable accounts followed me on Twitter (do a Twitter search for "Lux Lisbon" and tell me what you find).

They followed me, and I clicked on their link, which took me to a website with music that I genuinely enjoyed. So I followed them back. Immediately, I was assaulted with an automated Direct Message (another internet phenomenon that can go fuck itself) which informed me that since they thought I was such an awesome person, if I clicked on their link, I would get an album for free.

I replied that it was really cool of them to do that for me. I told them that I would send them a free copy of my novel when I was finished with it.

I clicked on the link, and the album downloaded - but as a result, I was automatically subscribed to their band's email newsletter.

I fucking hate newsletters.

And so, I set out to write this post. Perhaps you've gained something from this. Perhaps not. Whatever.

Just don't send me any fucking newsletters!