A Quick Note About Email

Hi friends,

I've been blogging for over 10 years, but I've never had an email list until recently. Email is a big deal. People guard their inboxes, and for good reason. Email is still one of the most widely used, valuable forms of human communication.

I set up an email list when so many people asked me about it that it was easier to set one up that it was to explain why I didn't have one. It's been great. A lot of people subscribe everyday, not many unsubscribe, and most people open the emails they get from me. But as my work has grown, I've been plagued by a daily worry: "Am I sending too much email?"

This may strike you as a trivial thing to worry about, but I consider it a privilege that people follow my work at all. The last thing I want to do is saturate people with too many messages or something they aren't interested in. Now that I have a blog, plus podcasts, events, and more, I don't know how to tell who in my audience is interested in what.

So I asked.

I sent an email asking people to fill out a two question survey. Here are the results:

  1. The amount of email you get from me is...
    • just right (92%)
    • too little (4%)
    • too much (4%)
  2. What should I send you? (rounded to the nearest 5%)
    1. Everything you do, but as a once per week email. (40%)
    2. Everything you do, as it happens (30%)
    3. Blog posts and special announcements only (20%)
    4. Ask Science Mike and special announcements only (15%)
    5. Only special announcements. (5%)

This was really helpful information, and thank you to the thousand people who responded! Of course, these answers mean I have to change the way my email lists works. Until today, my email system automatically sends any new blog post that come out every day, ignoring Ask Science Mike completely. That means most weeks, I send one email, but some weeks two or three.

Here's what's new:

Now, the email system will send a weekly email on Thursdays that includes any new blog posts and the latest episode of Ask Science Mike. 40% of the list likes that and I want to err on the side of sending less email.

If you belong to one of the other categories, don't worry. I've set up different groups in my email system and you can pick the messages you want to receive. Just look at the bottom of any email you get from me for this message, "You are in control of how much email you get from me, and how often. Click here to update your email preferences."

I'll send special announcements and local events to everyone, but if you only want to follow my blog, or only follow my podcast, or want to get everything as soon as I release it, you can select that option.

And if you're not on my email list, I'd love to have you. You can join at the bottom of this post.

Peace, love, entropy,
Science Mike

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Hello, Squarespace 6

The new Squarespace

The new Squarespace

If you are one of my nearly one dozen regular readers, you may notice the layout of my blog has changed.  I've migrated to Squarespace 6 which is a ground-up rewrite of the Squarespace platform.  I've been a fan and customer of Squarespace for many years, and the new platform has only made me enjoy the product more.

Over the years, my site has existed in many forms.  It started out has hand-coded HTML.  Then I migrated to GoLive for WYSIWYG editing.  I hated that.  So, I tried Blogger before it was a Google product.  I stuck with it after the acquisition, and still liked it.  I started to get the itch for deeper customization and better performance so I moved the site to Wordpress.  An article on the front page of Digg brought my Wordpress installation to its knees, so I made the move to Moveable Type.

My site is my playground.  I can make changes whenever I want without the requirements of the work I do for my company and its clients.  I don't really have to test very much–if my blog is acting strange so be it.  For mush of the site's life that has led me to installing a CMS package on a server and administering everything myself.

But I got tired of that.

There's this tension between the ease and scalability of a good hosted solution versus the flexibility you get with a self-adminsitered product.  I could never find the balance I wanted.  Until I met Squarespace.

Squarespace is a hosted platform, but it is deeply customizable.  It has a great editor that makes it easy to add whatever you want wherever you desire.  I've had a few Reddit front pagers on Squarespace, and it's never buckled under high traffic loads.

Squarespace 6 just makes Squarespace better.  The importer is one of the better implementations I've seen.  The new templates are very beautiful, and also very easy to customize.  I'm using the post editor now in full screen mode, and it's a good writing experience.  The ties to social network platforms are vastly improved.

If you are a blogger, photographer or artist I really think it's worth your time to give the new Squarespace a try.  There's even a free trial.