Email is the internet's last bastion against the algorithm. Every other website and app decides which things you will or will not see, and in which order you'll see them. Your inbox doesn't work that way—which is amazing.
This, I think, is why email newsletters are so popular right now. Click "Like" on a Facebook page and you'll see posts... sometimes, when the algorithm feels generous. Subscribe to an email newsletter, though, and you'll see every message in your inbox. You can open it, delete it, send it to a friend—you're in control, not some black box algorithm.
Sadly, not every site offers email newsletters. Here's how to make your own using Zapier.
You'll need a Zapier account to use the workflows in this piece. If you don't have an account yet, it's free to get started.
Use RSS to make an email newsletter
Almost every news site or blog offers an RSS feed. If you don't know what RSS is that's okay: It's a little techy. An RSS feed is a collection of every new post a site makes, updated in real time. You can use these feeds to read every new post on any site using a feed reader. It's probably the best way to keep up with the news.
Not everyone wants to set up a feed reader, though. The good news: you can use an RSS feed to make an email newsletter using Zapier. Here's a template you can use to get started:
Just follow the instructions. You will be asked which feed you want to use, then to which email address you'd like to send new entries. Set everything up and you'll get an email every time a site makes a new post. This is particularly useful for sites that don't publish very often.
Most sites with an RSS feed offer them as a subscription option, often alongside various social icons. If you can't find a feed, though, don't worry—here's how to find an RSS feed for almost any site.
If you're following a site that publishes often, you could also consider adding a digest step. You'll need a paid Zapier plan for this one, but it will send you a summary of posts in a time frame, rather than an email for every new post made.
Subscribe to podcasts using email
Did you know that podcasts are just RSS feeds? Now you do! Visit the website for any podcast and you'll find an RSS feed, which lots of podcast apps use to find new episodes. This also means you can subscribe to any podcast using a regular RSS reader, or the Zap we used above. This one:
Set this up if there's a particular podcast you like to listen to but always forget about. It's hard to forget about an email that's still in your inbox, after all.
See tweets without using Twitter
Twitter is, in many ways, terrible, and if you don't want to check it every day I do not blame you. But there's some good stuff on that site, like The Oregon Zoo, and... other things. Probably.
Maybe you want to get an email every time a particular account posts something. You can do that using Zapier! Here's the Zap for that:
Do this with The Oregon Zoo's Twitter account and your life will be better. It also works with other accounts, but I'm confused about why you would bother.
Smash that subscribe button (and actually see the videos)
You can smash the Subscribe button on YouTube, but you'll only remember to watch those videos if you smash the "Subscriptions" button later on. It's easy to forget that button is even there, which means you won't smash it, which means you'll end up just watching whatever YouTube recommends instead of videos from the channels you smashed buttons for.
It doesn't have to be this way. There's a bigger, more powerful button you can smash. Here it is:
Set that Zap up and you'll get an email every time your favorite channel posts a new video. It's the most powerful subscribe button on the entire internet—please smash responsibly.
Subscribe to almost anything
These are just a few ideas. Zapier connects to thousands of apps, meaning you can use it to make your own email newsletter for just about anything. For example: you could get official CDC updates. Check out Zapier's email integrations for more ideas.