Pluralistic: Leaving Twitter had no effect on NPR's traffic (14 Oct 2023)


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Dead letters

Email could be the last federated internet technology — but it isn’t.

Vintage engraving of a dead letter office where postal officials struggle to decipher addressing information; captioned “Who is it for? A scene in the dead letter office experts trying to decipher an illegible address”

It feels like only yesterday that we were living through the Substack bubble, as mailing lists enjoyed a new renaissance (rebranded as “newsletters”), a tangible expression of the techlash and our collective disgust with the platforms and their attempts to enclose the internet and convert it to “five giant websites, each filled with screenshots of text from the other four.

In the abstract, mailing lists/newsletters represent the promise of a return to a Jeffersonian internet, where each of us can garden own little patch, not subject to the whims of third parties. That, after all, is the original design brief of the internet, to be an “end-to-end network” where any party can connect to any other party without needing permission from anyone else.

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