The Sunday Digest: The Long Conversation comes to print
Every thing we published this week
Has anyone ever told you, at one point or another, that writing is worth learning because "everyone has to do it?" It's one of those creaky adages that's particularly infuriating because of how true it is. We can't think of a better person to guide you through the ups, downs, and sidewayses of the writing process with wisdom, warmth, and humor than Rachel Jepsen—Every's exeutive editor, and host of The Long Conversation.
TLC was—and still is!—a podcast centered on the craft of reading and writing, and populated by a panel of Every writers. Now, Rachel is synthesizing the nuggets of genius she regularly doled out on the airwaves into a newsletter. It's still called The Long Conversation, and she's still behind it. But now all of Rachel's advice and experience can be found in one, lovely-to-read place. You can even ask her a question, and it could very well become the basis for the next edition of the letter!
This week's installment of TLC explores the concept of "voice." Again: everybody's got one, in one sense or another. So whether you're a longtime listener, a first-time reader, both, or neither, check it out, and watch your next piece of writing benefit as a result.
What We Published
7 Articles & a Podcast
by Fadeke Adegbuyi in Cybernaut (20-minute read)
When you're watching your favorite YouTuber's latest livestream, they're staring straight out of the screen, looking into your eyes, talking directly to you...but how close is that to the truth, actually? As Fadeke writes here, the concept of "parasocial relationships" between celebrities and their audiences goes back decades, far before those connections went online—but today, are we fooling ourselves if we think the proximity offered by the internet is anything outside of a cash cow? Touring us through various platforms' histories of fostering parasocial relationships, Fadeke finds a complex conclusion that—in classic Cybernaut fashion—transcends binary answers.
by Nathan Baschez & Austin Langlinais in Divinations (20-minute read)
Armed with a handy, hearty diagram involving an wedge and a stump, Nathan has a simple, but deep, piece of advice for all the early-stage startup founders out there: sharpen your vision for your product. That means a suitable jumping-off point that is easily adoptable, accomplishable, and scaleable. Read on to discover the five kinds of product wedges, and why they work.
by Evan Armstrong in Napkin Math (11-minute read)
It's not a secret that "free to play" is a canny piece of wording when it comes to online games. But what happens when the cost goes beyond what you're paying for add-ons—and starts being about addiction? And what to do when your company's business model forces you to consider people susceptible to addictive behavior as the backbone of your product? Melding personal experience with clear-eyed analysis, Evan makes the case for more consideration of the sacrifices innate in the drive for revenue.
by Rachel Jepsen in The Long Conversation (12-minute read)
The inaugural edition of Rachel's textual dispatches from the writing trenches answers a massive question—WTF is "voice"?!—with specificity, helpful metaphors, and a heap of actionable advice and exercises you can try safely at home. Whether you're looking to differentiate voice from tone or style, or the best way to organize a digital or physical inspiration board, Rachel's going to have answers for the questions you didn't know how to ask.
by Fadeke Adegbuyi in Cybernaut (6-minute read)
We love when Cyberbits complements Fadeke's latest home run of a long read, and this week is no exception. This week's curation of thoughts and phenomena from across the 'net expands the focus of her piece on parasocial relationships to ask where writers of all kinds fit in to the creator economy. Are the relationships they forge with readers—and have for centuries—comparable to those between online creators and audiences in other mediums? You'll need a subscription to read Cyberbits, but—like the healthiest parasocial relationships—it's worth it.
by Nat Eliason in Almanack (5-minute read)
In the world of finance, is there a such thing as a good hack? As Nat reveals in this week's DeFriday dispatch, the answer—at least in the crypto world—is...quite possibly. See, exploits like this week's 14,000 ETH hack can reveal bugs that might have otherwise gone unseen, eventually benefitting developers and users alike.
🎧 Talk Therapy with Dan Shipper & Nathan Baschez (18-minute listen)
After a week of studying human behavior—or rather, studying studies on human behavior—Dan returns to the cofounder conference room with a fresh new context to discuss he and Nathan's working relationship. Game Theory, it turns out, tells us a lot about "social biology"—a.k.a. the inner workings of power and collaboration. And if you've listened to even one episode of Talk Therapy, you know Dan and Nathan have plenty of thoughts on both of those.
What's going down in our Discord this week.
Monday July 19th, 8am ET/5am PT: Focused Work Pomodoros with Dan Shipper
Thursday July 22nd, 11am-1pm ET/8am – 10am PT: Community Working Session with Rachel Jepsen
In this weekly two-hour event, our cameras are on, our tunes are flowing, and we're getting things done together! Executive editor Rachel will open each session with a ten-minute writing exercise to get us all in a creative flow. Then, participants can share in the #fireside-chat channel what they're hoping to accomplish during the session. Finishing an essay? Getting started on a new project? Tell us what you're working on!
Want to be looped in on upcoming community events? Check out our Discord server!
What’s Going On
News you might have caught or missed.
- Facebook plans to pay creators $1 billion to use its products
- Twitter is shutting down Fleets, its expiring tweets feature
- Netflix Plans to Offer Video Games in Push Beyond Films, TV
- Social Media Fails to Curb Racist Emojis Aimed at Soccer Stars
- Clubhouse ventures beyond audio with Backchannel, a new messaging feature
What We’re Reading
Our favorite writing from beyond Every.
- The Atlantic thrived through Trump and the pandemic. The future is harder. (NBC News)
- The Seductive Lie of Post-Pandemic Self-Optimization (The New Republic)
- A Haunting New Documentary About Anthony Bourdain (The New Yorker)
- The Life and Suspicious Death of Cachou the Bear (Bloomberg)
Every on the Internet
When our writers make a splash outside the Every pool.
- Fadeke Adegbuyi's above-mentioned wallop of a piece on parasocial relationships drew Twitter praise from fellow writers on the creator beat, from Taylor Lorenz to Chris Stokel-Walker.
- article on the "arms race" between social media giants to appeal to creators.
"The notion of a special bond with a creator is contrived, and what seems like unfettered access to their lives is curated. It’s the intimacy you’d get from any imaginary friend." Fantastic piece byon parasocial relationships
An Invitation to Every
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