In mid-May, I launched my latest media venture: Cybercultural. It’s an email newsletter run on the Substack platform, and it covers the intersection of technology and the cultural industries (encompassing music, tv and movies, news media, books, the arts, and more).
The intention is to make Cybercultural a paid subscription newsletter. I had hoped to launch that at the beginning of July, but I decided to hold off until I’ve made more progress with the content and format. So for now the newsletter remains free and is published once a week.
The other aspect of Cybercultural that I’ve begun to promote is a consultancy. Here’s what I’m offering to organisations and startups in the cultural sectors:
- Market research; especially of technology use in a cultural / creative sector.
- Competitive intelligence.
- Product analysis.
- Content strategy.
- Telling your company’s story.
Enquire at email@example.com if you’re interested.
The genesis of Cybercultural
Finally, a quick explanation of how Cybercultural came about.
Some of you may be aware I ran a blog called Blocksplain last year. It was focused on the emerging startup ecosystem around blockchain and cryptocurrency. Unfortunately, over the course of 2018 I discovered that the crypto community isn’t actually interested in product analysis or tech trends. What they are mostly interested in is financial speculation, which isn’t something that floats my boat. So I decided to stop updating Blocksplain at the end of the year (the archives are still available to read).
After Blocksplain, I wanted to return to the core passion for online technology I had when I founded ReadWriteWeb back in 2003. But the internet (including the Web) has gotten much bigger and all-encompassing since those days. So how to narrow down my focus for 2019…
After some soul searching, I realised that my primary area of interest over the past couple of decades has been the intersection of the internet with the cultural industries. Being an early professional blogger meant I was a part of the ‘new media’ digital revolution that traditional media companies eventually embraced. After RWW, I wrote two books and once again saw how digital technologies were transforming a creative industry (in this case publishing). Not to mention the many articles I’ve written over the years about the rise of video and music streaming, digital tools for the arts, new forms of cultural products (like virtual reality experiences), and so on.
Even though I now had a new area of focus, I wasn’t ready to give up on blogging. I launched a site called Indie Digital Media on 1 January this year, which I soon re-named Creator Interviews. This site was designed to explore the world of internet creativity, in particular independent creators who use online platforms like Bandcamp, YouTube, Kindle Direct Publishing, Instagram, Twitch, and more.
Creator Interviews was very fulfilling content, since it allowed me to talk to creators and pass on their learnings. But it quickly became clear that a blog or website was not the right platform anymore to build up an audience.
Hence, the switch to email newsletters. I chose Substack because I had subscribed to several writers on that platform and was impressed with Substack’s design, philosophy and community. Email newsletters also seemed to offer a way to route around the ever-increasing power of social media platforms, by going direct to the inboxes of your readers.
So here I am now, at the mid-point of 2019 and trying my best to turn my Cybercultural newsletter into a compelling, innovative and insightful media product. Do sign up if you haven’t already; especially if you’re a digital professional who works in the cultural and creative industries, or at a tech company that connects with these sectors.