I haven’t been here a whole lot lately. In part, it’s just a matter of devoting my social media attention elsewhere.

Some of that attention, though, has been spent on an email newsletter that I started up at the turn of the year: Rhetsy. I just realized that my TinyLetter site only archives a certain number of posts, and I wanted to preserve, semi-publicly, the very first post, which explains the point behind Rhetsy. So I’m reproducing it here, and adding a link to my page:

Hello, and welcome to Rhetsy.

Rhetsy is an experiment in scholarly/social media. It’s no secret that weblogs have waned in importance, replaced by corporate/clickbait content farms at one end and services like Facebook and Twitter at the other. For me, that change brought with it a shift in the way I read online. I used to spend perhaps an hour a day on Google Reader, often over breakfast, perusing a self-curated set of feeds for interesting stories, sites, and resources. I can sometimes approximate that experience through social media feeds, but it requires much more time (and personal sorting).

Over the past few months, though, I’ve realized that part of what I miss is link blogging. Interestingly enough, this genre has made something of a comeback, in the form of email newsletters. Sites like Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings, Alexis Madrigal’s 5IT, and Robin Sloan’s Primes are slowly beginning to occupy the space once reserved for RSS aggregators, curation services that don’t require me to be online 24-7 for fear of missing something (or to place myself at the whim of algorithmic filter bubbles). I’m finding that the time that I used to spend each morning with Google Reader is now spent with a handful of newsletters delivered to my inbox. It occurred to me that I should try it myself. So that’s what I’m going to do.

Rhetsy is a newsletter devoted to rhetoric, targeted at a broad audience. One of my chief aims is to broaden my own horizons, to look outside of rhetoric journals and academic venues for items of potential interest. I’m hoping to publish it weekly, and initially at least, I’m not going to place too many restrictions on content. I hope that it would appeal not solely to academic specialists, though. I’d like for it to be a resource that students might be interested in, and my goal is to make it accessible to general readers as well. Think of it as something of a cross among personal bookmarking services (e.g., Instapaper/Readability) and Facebook link posts, but done at the speed of blogging.

My hope for Rhetsy is that it will become something of a shared aggregator, and that’s where you come in. Obviously, I encourage you to subscribe, but more than that, I hope that you’ll share links with me, as you find things that are compelling, intriguing, and worth sharing beyond the 15 minutes that a link shows up in your friends’ Facebook feeds. You can send them to me at cgbrooke at Gmail (just put ‘rhetsy’ in the subject line), and I’ll be setting up FB and Twitter accounts, too, to make it as easy as possible. I’m also happy to post calls for papers, announcements, etc., but I want to focus as much as I can on stuff that’s not on the beaten, academic path.

If you’re interested in working on Rhetsy with me, let me know. This is the kind of project that can be a challenge for one person to execute, so I’m more than willing to share curation duties.

Collin Brooke
Issue 1, January 5 (posted Jan. 1)