It’s almost a new year, which means it’s as good a time as any for a bit of a shake up right?
This January, I’ve decided to try a few things.
First off, I’m taking a personal and mostly professional Dry January from social media.
I am what the pundit types refer to as an Elder Millennial (or if you’re Business Insider and you’re mean, ‘Geriatric Millennial’), which means I remember card catalogs but also a time on the internet before social media and well before algorithms and phones full of apps designed to be addictive. Personally, I think it will just be healthy for me to step away from these for a bit.
Professionally, I want to step away from social media as much as I can, but I know I may not be able to make a full and complete break.
I started Modern Hiker back in 2006, before broad public access to Facebook, before Twitter, before Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok, and before any of those services started messing around with how their users saw information and posts.
Maybe you were around then, too. Or maybe you never experienced a time like this on the internet. But I miss that experience of blogging – when readers would get into conversations in the comments that broadened everyone’s horizons, when everyone had the chance to learn and teach at the same time, and when if you liked what a blogger was doing, there was one place you went to see them.
Well, it’s starting to seem like email is the new blog.
The New Email Newsletter
Personally, I subscribe to a bunch of email newsletters from journalists, writers, and poets I enjoy, and it’s really fun to not only see what they’re working on but feel like I get to know them a little better, too.
So, fresh off my wonderful time writing the WILD newsletter for the Los Angeles Times, I’m going to put that same amount of energy into the Modern Hiker Newsletter.
Now, the Modern Hiker Newsletter has been around for a while – but I’m going to try some new stuff out with it. I know not everything is going to work, but I’m going to see what happens.
It will be more regular – once a week, unless something crazy comes up.
It will be a digest of not only what’s new on the site, but also some news and commentary on outdoor news and happenings from all over the American West (and maybe even beyond if it warrants it).
I’d love to keep shining spotlights on people doing fun and interesting work in the outdoors, and I’d love to get some recommendations and feedback from you, too.
Who knows, maybe I’ll even throw in a poem or two that’s inspired me over the week or some random outdoor-adjacent experiences. Something about my favorite plant of the moment or what’s going on in my native garden. It’s all up in the air, honestly.
The biggest change is that I’m moving from Mailchimp, which wanted to charge me $100 a month, to Substack. I am still learning Substack, but so far I really enjoy it – it keeps things simple and it makes it easy to comment and have conversations with your favorite writers and other people who enjoy reading them.
It’s also free to run, and if you are so inclined to support, you can also decide to contribute a small amount of cash each month to help keep me going. I am still writing and editing for the site and doing my freelance writing and producing work to subsidize Modern Hiker, so if you choose to sign up for a paid subscription, it’s a way you can directly support this newsletter project.
As of right now I’m not going to be shutting down the Modern Hiker social media channels if that’s how you see most of my stuff. But I am going to be pulling back significantly on the amount of time and effort I put into them for the time being.
Whether you’re here with a paid subscription or a free account, I thank you for joining me on this ride, I thank you deeply for your support now and over the many, many years I’ve been writing, and I especially look forward to your participation.
How to Sign Up
- If you are a current subscriber to the long-running Modern Hiker Email Newsletter, you don’t have to do anything! I will migrate the email addresses before the end of the year.
- If you are not yet subscribed, head on over to my new Substack page and sign up there.