Hana hou as we say in Hawai‘i ~ let’s do this again.
By “this,” I mean Talking Story with the Ho‘ohana Community via email.
I’m Walking my Talk
I’m bringing back our Ho‘ohana Community email newsletter.
The first one will be mailed on Thursday, June 30th.
Something else we’ve talked about recently, is that Alaka‘i Managers Make Plans. Therefore, I’m posting this message now to bring you into my planning for it, should you have any feedback for me as our newsletter takes shape. The subject matter will differ from the original — more on that in a moment.
First, I’d like to share my why with you. (Managing: Learn how to ask “Why?”)
Are you in, and already know you are? The rest of this post shares more of my decision process with you. If you want to skip it, you can click here for the subscription box. You will also see a red link there to View Letter Archive, so you can preview a sample edition.
A Quick History
Talking Story with the Ho‘ohana Community was the first email newsletter I published, making its debut shortly after I released Managing with Aloha in November of 2004. It was delivered on the 1st of every month as an announcement of what we would work on as our Value of the Month. As such, the newsletter doubled as both launchpad and follow-up coaching, for all the articles I would post on my blog thereafter until the month ended.
It was very successful for that place and time in our history, and then two things happened, which made it rather easy to discontinue the newsletter:
- Nothing stays the same forever — nor do we want it to! The blessings of our success with both Managing with Aloha and Say Leadership Coaching came with a mixed bag of change. That change was overwhelmingly good, evolutionary for us, however our newsletter did become a casualty. Writing for a virtual, global value of the month program was a very intensive proposition, and I became much too busy to keep up with it, and do so well.
- A new trend was taking an increasingly anti-email world by storm: Social Media. Newsletter reading was steadily decreasing. Not only email was quickly falling out of favor, so were (gasp!) phone calls, replaced by texting. Then came a flood of new smartphone apps, hooking us in to our screens and thumb-typing even more.
Text Messaging Explodes in America
~ a CBSNews CNET headline, September 23, 2008
I became a columnist for publications in print and online, and felt I wasn’t overly disappointing our community of subscribers in discontinuing our newsletter; how much could I reasonably expect them to read? New technologies were exciting. Why not get on board?
Get on board, we did.
Returning, Full Circle
“No matter the deviation, all things come full circle. You begin and end your journey in the same place, but with a different set of eyes.”
We don’t always end in the same place, however we do feel we have that different set of eyes as time goes by. We see anew, having learned new things, and grown into change. That adage that “hindsight is 20 – 20” also rings true, and we arrive in our current place feeling “all the wiser” for the journey.
Everyone seemed to be A-ok with my decision to end my newsletter, for we are indeed a community of lifelong learners. We got on board with Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and other social media venues. We dabbled, ‘lifestreamed’ and tumbled. We experimented. We designed our new spaces and places. We played. We shared.
Through it all, we did talk story.
Well, kinda. Something else happened. We scattered amid the myriad of choices we had, and we could no longer count on truly being Kākou— together.
Broadcasting is not Conversing
Sound familiar to you? We were sharing in abundance —update! chat! tweet!— however we could no longer say, or feel secure in knowing, that we had all caught the same news, and were on the same page.
When attention scatters, so can intention.
I, for one, have missed that knowing, and that comfortable assumption of sharing something in common. I’ve missed us, as us. A big part of my own personal why I will publish a newsletter again is simply that I’ve missed the Ho‘ohana Community we associated with the newsletter.
I still believe Conversation is King:
“When it comes to relationship-building you must focus on only one kind of communication, the one that trumps all others — person-to-person conversation. Trust me on this: When you nail a great relationship via person-to-person, face-to-face, in-real-life conversing, all those other vehicles of communication fall into their rightful place as the secondary options they are supposed to be.”
That said, we are a global community now, and I do believe our Talking Story with the Ho‘ohana Community will fill another need. We cannot share the same geographic place, yet we can be a global tribe.
I have been encouraged to hear that many of you agreed. Were we ready to come back together?
Witnessing the Comeback
Several of you had forwarded a New York Times article to me, written by David Carr, that initially made the rounds in June of 2014: For Email Newsletters, a Death Greatly Exaggerated. A snippet:
“Newsletters are clicking because readers have grown tired of the endless stream of information on the Internet, and having something finite and recognizable show up in your inbox can impose order on all that chaos. In fact, the comeback of email newsletters has been covered in Fast Company, The Atlantic and Medium, but I missed those articles because, really, who can keep up with a never-ending scroll of new developments? That’s where email newsletters, with their aggregation and summaries, come in. Some are email only, others reprise something that can be found on the web. At a time when lots of news and information is whizzing by online, email newsletters — some free, some not — help us figure out what’s worth paying attention to.”
“An email newsletter generally shows up in your inbox because you asked for it and it includes links to content you have deemed relevant. In other words, it’s important content you want in list form, which seems like a suddenly modern approach… It helps that email, long dismissed as a festering petri dish of marketing come-ons, has cleaned up its act.”
You attached notes that encouraged me, “Bring back Talking Story Rosa!”
The timing was not good for me then, however the summer of 2016 brings open space I’m eager to fill in this way. The technology has vastly improved, and I do feel I can recommit to a newsletter with much more ease. No more fancy; I’ll be taking a rather stripped down, minimalist approach, for my goal is strictly communication, and not business analysis.
I may have initially lagged behind some of you in re-boarding the email train, however there has indeed been change in my personal experience as well.
I’m finding that I too, welcome email conversation back into my life, just as that NYT article described. Over the last year or so, I’ve been subscribing to newsletters more often myself, as reader. I fully empathize with the need those missives fill for me in communicating with their authors, and in feeling I am “in the know” and “in the flow” with the relationships and communities I’m choosing to remain better connected to.
Having someone give me their email address is like receiving a gift. It conveys, “Yes, I do want to be connected to you!” waaay more than having them accept a ‘friend request’ or become a media ‘follower.’
Social media has been fun. It still is, though it’s become more of an occasional option. While I’ve bid goodbye to any other dabbling I’ve done, you will still be able to find me on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. However my 2016 promise-to-self, is that they will remain my pleasant periphery, and never be my priorities.
Newsletter Content: Less is more, evolved for our time
First of all, I promise you, that the new-and-improved Talking Story with the Ho‘ohana Community will never be as long as this post or any of my articles here. Less is more, short and sweet. I’m going for airy, and limiting myself to one page/500 words or less.
Second, it will be different from this blog and the original, primarily taking the form of a link digest and bulletin board. It may point you to some of my writing here and elsewhere, but it will never duplicate it. …Therefore, if you got this article via email now, and are presently an email subscriber to ManagingWithAloha.com to print and share my articles, you may not want to cancel your subscription!
Third, I see this newsletter as a gathering place for all our communication as the Ho‘ohana Community, collected and resourced on a more timely basis. It will be the place I share my current finds in value alignment, and thus it will not be restricted to me and my writing.
Therefore and fourth, it will be dispatched weekly instead of monthly, and mailed every Thursday morning. It will be free, and remain that way. I have no plans to ever monetize it.
Fifth, as overall framing, the Ho‘ohana Community exists to support the calling of Alaka‘i Managers. While I may share personal tidbits, my publishing objective will remain true to Managing with Aloha as a philosophy and our vision, with value alignment and uplifting management practice as our mission. That said, our Aloha Intentions cover a lot of ground, and you will find we cover quite an assortment of topics.
What?!! No Value of the Month?
No, not for the newsletter, not exactly. However, me, abandon value of the month programs? Never! Surely you know me better than that! My current writing-work-in-progress has to do with an update of Value Your Month To Value Your Life… stay tuned.
Meanwhile, we continue to devote our attentions to #AlohaIntentions as hosted by Ke Ola Magazine: Catch up with us here if you missed it. For our immediate future, our newsletter will get on board ‘valuing our month’ in that way.
Sign up! Let’s talk story
Again, Talking Story with the Ho‘ohana Community relaunches on Thursday, June 30th.