Living in an age when social media is king means we have access to endless feeds of news, rants, and perfectly filtered photos of each other’s dinner. These infinitely scrolling streams can quickly lead to information overload—Americans get bombarded with the equivalent of 174 newspapers' worth of information a day The world's technological capacity to store, communicate, and compute information. Hilbert M, López P. Science. 2011 Apr 1;332(6025):60-5. . All of this data smog has led some of us to throw our hands in the air and yearn for simpler times when a friendly digitized voice chimed, “You’ve got mail.” Yes, the email newsletter is back in vogue and in a big way.
Newsletters do all the dirty work of trudging through the mud that is the world of online media to find those diamonds in the rough that you don’t want to miss. The problem now is: Which newsletters do you let enter your closely guarded inbox? We checked out dozens of options on the topics of health and wellness, news and headlines, and quirky and fun before we settled on 14 newsletters (daily, weekly, and biweekly) to remain in the know—and still sane.
Once you subscribe, it’ll be no surprise why Refinery29 Everywhere won the Webby for best email newsletter. The elegantly simple design makes it easy to read on any device. But what’s really impressive is the variety of content (fashion, celebrities, fitness, makeup, and more) and the relatable voice in the daily email. R29 really gets you, from “11 Easy Halloween Costumes That Are Clever, Not Crass” to “I Hate Coconut Oil. Does That Mean We Can’t Be Friends?”
Who knew behavioral science could be so fun? Two writers at New York magazine spend their days reading science journals and making the studies—and more importantly their conclusions (gym days are drunk days)—accessible to a mainstream audience. Sure, you could check the website daily, but this newsletter delivers all of the same goodies to your inbox so all you have to do is lift a finger to click.
The newest darling of the magazine world also publishes a must-read daily newsletter. Each edition curates stories from the magazine with amazing headlines (like “Field of Dreamboats” for a story about the upcoming Bachelor—yes, he’s a farmer) that make it nearly impossible not to click. While stories focus on rural life, you don’t have to be a farmer or a farm-to-table fanboy to appreciate this roundup.
This daily newsletter is like a glossy fashion magazine sent straight to your inbox. The bold lettering and geometric shapes take inspiration from the covers of Vogue and W, but the stories are tailored toward average Joes (and Janes). The city-specific editions in New York and Los Angeles give the lowdown on where locals can experience the hottest food, fitness, and health trends. The general edition of the newsletter includes interviews with celebs, latest must-have fashion, and delicious recipes.
This is the perfect newsletter for fitness enthusiasts looking for a quick daily workout to add to their routine—and yes, we might just be a little biased saying that. Trainers put together these extremely effective and fast bodyweight workouts that end up in your inbox every morning. Getting (and staying) fit was never so easy.
With playful headlines like “Why So Syrius” in reference to U.S. airstrikes in Syria, the Skimm sounds like the day’s news and headlines distilled for the millennial set. But that sells this daily newsletter short. Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, two self-described news junkies, started The Skimm after realizing their high-powered female friends didn’t have time to read the paper every day. Each edition includes one in-depth look at the day’s top story with an easy-to-digest takeaway (“the Skimm”) and a series of smaller roundups of other headlines in the "Repeat After Me" section.
The mullet of newsletters, Need 2 Know is all business in the front, party in the back. The daily list of 10 news stories starts off with a just-the-facts approach to the headlines. Further along the list, the sass starts flowing. The snarky posts make us think of when we realized our parents had a comic edge—and we’re not complaining.
Dave Pell, Next Draft's curator, calls himself the managing editor of the Internet. That kind of title might seem a little pompous, but it's apt. You'll be hard-pressed to find a better daily newsletter that addresses the biggest and smallest stories. Every day Pell focuses on 10 items that dig deeper than the headlines. Sure, the cable channels will tell you that Hong Kong is protesting Chinese oversight of upcoming elections, but Pell explains why the umbrella has become the movement's symbol.
First things first: Caitlin Dewey’s daily digest of all things Internet has an amazing name. Dewey has managed to create an incredibly exhaustive daily newsletter to explain exactly what’s happening on the Web for those of us who don’t spend our days trolling 4chan and Reddit—all the while maintaining a full-time reporting gig at The Washington Post. The newsletter’s tone is super conversational—it’s like she really is our friend—and keeps us coming back every day.
If Caitlin Dewey is your Internet-loving friend, Ann Friedman is your cool aunt who’s one part artist (have you seen her pie charts?), one part feminist, and all parts awesome. We find ourselves constantly refreshing our inboxes on Friday afternoons, waiting for Friedman’s weekly newsletter to arrive. It’s worth the wait. Friedman starts off by outlining the stories she’s written that week and then segues into her famous “I’m reading” section: a stream-of-conscience, link-heavy paragraph that includes some of the best stories you’ll come across all week.
If you mixed Bill Nye the Science Guy with Star Trek, you’d get Alexis Madrigal’s daily newsletter, 5 Intriguing Things. The newsletter focuses on technology, science, and all things quirky. As the name suggests, each newsletter includes five different items. Madrigal links to all sorts of things, including traditional stories, gadget write-ups, and academic musings.
Reading Dan Lewis’s newsletter is like reliving the standout lectures from your favorite college professor. Each edition focuses on one specific topic—sometimes current, sometimes historical—that’s a blip on the radar (Did you know looking at images of baby animals can help you focus?). The funny thing about this newsletter is you’ll find yourself peppering in these factoids as a way to impress friends, family, and even dates.
Kevin Nguyen describes himself as “a human bot who writes things.” But there’s nothing robotic about the way he synthesizes what’s happening in the world around us in his thought-provoking biweekly newsletters. Topics are geared toward the millennial set (fitness trackers, mobile payment apps, and gentrification), yet the themes of youthful reflections and finding oneself are universally relatable.