Hello everyone! Happy Monday morning to you all. I hope you had a wonderful weekend.
I began this Terms of Service newsletter one year ago tomorrow, May 25, 2020!
It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year, but at the same time, May 2020 feels like 10 years ago in many ways! :-)
When I began this newsletter, my daughter Maggie was not quite two months old, I had just signed a book deal with B&H books, for a book to “help people see the lies social media leads them to believe,” and we were solidly in lock-down mode.
Today, a year later, the Terms of Service book is due out February 1, 2022, I’m working on a proposal for another book, my daughter is over a year old, and we attended church mask-less yesterday!
What a year.
The Heart of This Newsletter
When I launched this newsletter, as I reflected a couple of Fridays ago, I was coming out of about a two-year period in which I was wrestling a frenetic desire to write without any real, clear direction about how to direct that chaotic energy. I finally decided that the world could use someone writing from the “what-if-Neil-Postman-was-alive-today-and-a-Christian” perspective, and I wanted to devote the foreseeable future of my writing life toward that end.
Postman wrote in Amusing Ourselves to Death, “Americans no longer talk to each other, they entertain each other.” This is more true today than it was when Postman wrote it in 1985.
Like Postman, I am more concerned that we are well on our way to fulfilling Aldous Huxley’s fear in Brave New World rather than George Orwell’s fear in 1984.
We are not going to be destroyed by what we hate, as Orwell feared, but by what we love, as Huxley feared.
The vast majority of what I write here is to keep banging the drum on that very idea: that what we love in the form of social media will be what “kills” us, socially-speaking, but perhaps also as a species.
My hope and prayer is that my writing over the last year has at least caused you to stop and think about your relationship with the social internet.
What is your relationship with social media doing to your heart and soul? Always be asking that question. I’ll do what I can to ask it for you here. :-)
When I launched this newsletter, I included a paid version. The main reason I included a paid version was to motivate myself to write! Because I was being paid by a small group of subscribers, I was held accountable to produce two original pieces of content every week for the last year. And I did it! (Outside of taking a couple holidays off here and there.) I am a fiercely competitive person, and I wanted to be the most prolific Christian social media commentator on the internet. I think I achieved my goal, tiring as it was.
But it’s time to change things up a bit!
The announcement is this:
I am turning off the paid version of this newsletter.
1) I am pleased to report that I no longer need the accountability provided by paid subscribers. I am motivated to write regularly without being paid for it anymore. This means that the primary purpose of having people pay for my writing is no longer present. I am in such a great writing grove that I don’t need “bosses” in the form of subscribers to keep me writing. These paid subscribers were the motivation I needed to kick-start this newsletter project, but I’m self-motivated now!
2) I am working on a new book, which means I may need to write here less. While I am more motivated than ever to be writing here two times per week in addition to my Wednesday Content Made Simple email, I may have to pull back a bit on this newsletter in the next year. I am working on a proposal for a new book in the vein of this newsletter, and I will want to be giving as much attention to that as I can (more on the book later). So, because of this potential new book project, I need the freedom to write a little bit less in this newsletter from time to time. As a result, I don’t feel comfortable charging people as I have been.
There are a few other reasons, too, like the fact that I want to begin working on my first fiction project, but those two reasons are the main reason I want to go 100% free on here for the next little bit.
This summer, as I propose my new book idea and hopefully get started writing it, my plan is to deliver an original piece of writing every Monday like I have been as well as the Wednesday Content Made Simple email which is coming up on its fifth year in existence. Crazy.
So, just to summarize:
Monday Column (paid subs only)
Wednesday Content Made Simple curation email (free)
Friday (paid subs only)
Monday Column (free)
Wednesday Content Made Simple curation email (free)
Occasional Friday Column (free)
I don’t plan to never send a Friday column out, but I reserve the right to take the day off to be sure I’m making the necessary progress I need to on other projects, like the new book (assuming a publisher takes it). :-)
Thank you all so much for reading my writing this past year. This newsletter is my best project to date, I think. It’s my favorite, anyway.
The Lord has been so gracious in this work, and I cannot wait to continue tilling this field for the foreseeable future.
Here’s to another year of Terms of Service, and a book by the same name, to boot!