Having your reader’s email address is like gold in the digital publishing world. You use your email to sign up for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. If marketers know your email then they can pay social platforms in order to target their content, in the form of ads, to reach you while you use apps and websites. More and more marketers are requiring you to validate your email to use their service and to ensure advertisers get good result, too. It is no surprise then that self-proclaimed voice-of-millennials, Lena Dunham, established her new email newsletter “Lenny Letter” to highlight its ability to deliver content to you by email. Without an email address, digital publishers will find it difficult to compete in promoting their content and driving traffic from social media. We all don’t want to pay for content, so Lenny Letter and other digital publishers are finding unique ways to get your email and drive your clicks to impression$. It’s a doggy dog world out there.
“Lenny,” created by Lena Dunham and “Girls” co-showrunner Jenni Konner, relies on readers to subscribe by email in order to read its content . “Lenny” is promoted as “an email newsletter where there’s no such thing as too much information” and a “weekly newsletter on fashion, health, politics, friendship and anything else.” Sure, these topics may sound broad, but the newsletter’s contents is raw and controversial ranging from topics such as “My Queer Wedding” to “Is my Period Weird?”, but don’t expect to get it all in one newsletter. Especially when you interview Hillary Clinton. This is a newsletter drip campaign on crack with images and gifs.
Dunham and Konner say that their newsletter will aim to be a reflection of millennial women’s need to have a life that is “connected, empowered, inspired, and fucking funny”. Buzzfeed must be still searching for the Top 10 articles with dog, beauty, and cat videos. Lenny Letter is for “women in their 20s who are in that hazy space between college and the real world.” What better platform can ask whether Clinton can empathize and be real like the rest of us? More importantly, can “Lenny” readers see themselves in Clinton?
As “Lenny” asks Clinton to comment on photos of herself, a critic could easily ask if this personalization of old photos in fact fails to demonstrate how the newsletter will be a forum for critical thought about a candidate so voters can make up their minds for themselves. Is the substance that Dunham says millennials really want present in “Lenny” or is this new endeavor simply trying to be a Buzzfeed for women? For example, Dunham asks Clinton in the interview about the other Lenny, Lenny Kravitz and his penis exposure. What? Cue the click bait. I know you stopped reading to YouTube it, but you can’t put a video in newsletter, yet. Or, maybe Dunham knows that to absorb complicated conversations about queer weddings and periods, contemporary readers need a little spice and click bait to draw you back in. Maybe Dunham is having the last laugh at the critics. Time will tell. See Lenny Letter for yourself.