At the Berkeley J-school weblog panel* an audience member asked if most blogs used email to send reminders or even as an alternative mode for reading. A discussion ensued about how common, desirable, or easy this might be.
My personal view is that I’d like to make anything I publish for free online available in as many modes as possible. Yes, it’s ideal when I can track and see the readership, but I suspect that additional formats (RSS, email) tend to add incremental net readers more than they tend to cannibalize an existing readership.
So this morning I dropped by bloglet.com, signed up for a free account and have set about adding an email subscription feature to my masthead sidebar, which I’m planning to insert right after the XML badges.
Bloglet also handles RSS feeds and I’ll probably experiment with that method as well (I’ll have to inpute RFB’s feed as a second blog to do so, I believe) to see how they differ.
What’s interesting is that Bloglet accommodates several different philosophies of email use by offering three choices for each blog. You can send out just reminders with links back to your blog (I assume titles/headlines are included, but I’ll have to check that), you can specify a cutoff number of characters to send as an excerpt of each entry, or you can send out full entries.
You have to choose just one of these “what to send out” choices for any submitted blog. That is, you can’t offer these multiple choices (not easily, not without setting up a new blog entry at bloglet for each choice and then hacking together the forms with a radio button, I suppose), but what do you want for free?
There also don’t seem to be as many scheduling options as you’d have with, say, an e-mail mailing’s digestifier (such as periods beyond daily, such as weekly, or mailout triggers based on number of posts, such as every 10), although I imagine you could always subscribe an e-mail address to your blog and then use all the usual list toggles to carve the outflow.
For now I’ve set up the subscription to send out 60 word excerpts of each day’s posts, but I’ll probably keep experimenting with the service to see what I can squeeze out of it.
Radio users can ignore the id number and login information requested when registering a blog. These fields are there for accessing blogs via the Blogger API.
Yes, all of these priorities are somewhat suspended as a commercial/work/money-related deadline hangs over me. No, I can’t talk about that project yet. Yes, I will as soon as I can.