With our 4th birthday and the 150th dispatch just around the corner, I asked a few members to be part of the celebration and share what this community has meant to them. First up is the fantastic Jenn (@jennwrites).
Up until a month ago, I was just like you.
I signed up for Uncommon Dispatch a few years back at the recommendation of my friend Erin, who praised the idea of a different type of online connection. I immediately fell in love with the format, since at the time the only witty or slightly entertaining mailing lists reaching me were from tech companies like App Sumo or Basecamp (then known as 37signals). Reading the emails Brian sent made me feel like I had accidentally been added to an email thread where the most interesting people I had never met shared fascinating stories, advice, and other priceless gems.
Uncommon was so refreshing in that it was well, uncommon. As a first time writer, long time listener (okay, reader) I've been devouring your stories for years. I clicked through to the site and fell in love with the slow unfolding of how Uncommon began. Sometimes I'd check out some of the links, but for the most part I enjoyed reading the stories that came right to me. I made a whole thing of it. When the dispatch came, I'd star it in my inbox and archive it. I'd save up the stars for a day I'd really need it–it being motivation, inspiration, or just a break from the ever-increasing chaos around me. On those days, I'd “read the stars” and be humbled by the authentic presence and quiet of your voices and ideas.
Best newsletter ever, right? Well, sort of.
In all of those years of stars, stories, and voices, I'd missed (or maybe I wasn't quite paying attention) the direction Uncommon was journeying.
(Wait, you have too? Okay, I'm in good company.)
Uncommon was a place that lived in my inbox, and it was a place I looked forward to visiting regularly. Up until this year, I didn't know that while I had been waiting for Uncommon, Uncommon, in fact, had also been waiting for me.
In turns out that the newsletter part of Uncommon was just the gathering of folks on the journey to the best part: the front porch.
Last month, I became a member of Uncommon and finally visited the front porch, and I have to tell you, it was even better than the dispatch. I feel guilty admitting this almost because the dispatch has been the number one thing I've loved about Uncommon for so long.
But then I logged in, created a profile (it literally took no time at all) and received my first Stack. Stacks are a series of cards which give you writing prompts on interesting questions, introductions to other Uncommon members, and favorites (stories) shared by other members.
Basically within five minutes of joining Uncommon, I had a profile, a smiley lil Jenn photo thanks to Gravatar, and I was answering a question about what dessert makes me smile the most that took me down a passage of thought full with nostalgia, warmth and family. (Answer: my mom's Christmas cookies, a family tradition). Because Uncommon was the last thing I did that night, instead of having stress dreams about Twitter, I fell asleep in a cozy haze thinking about family and connection and how wonderfully lucky I was to have found a place like Uncommon to share these beautiful things in this lifetime.
That was my first five minutes of membership.
So, if you are anything like me–maybe you've been half-heartedly following along, or maybe you're unsure that you have something interesting to say (I'm positive you do), maybe you haven't been sure of what Uncommon is exactly–I would say to you, venture beyond the dispatch.
The dispatch has been a wonderful place for me, but I'm here to tell you that it's just friendly street that leads up to the front porch. And now that I've been there, and experienced this vibrant, yet intangible and irresistible community, I had to write this because I don’t want you to miss out on what’s happening there. I’d love for you to join me. :D
The scoop on membership
We set out four years ago to build a sustainable, ad-free online community. Each membership makes that possible. But what's in it for you?
Membership gives you access to the front porch where you regale the community with the stories behind your favorite things, meet delightful neighbors, read prompt replies and add your own. Each day, a small, curated stack of good things await you. Members also enjoy Table for Six, hour-long telephone conversations with a group of fascinating people, and in the future, online Tables on favorite topics.
Plus, each membership includes a year of Uncommon to share with a friend. Every good party includes a +1 :)
You also receive that warm feeling you get from supporting small, independent, unusual endeavors that conspire to make things better. Oh, and there are stickers :D
Become a member of Uncommon. We hope to welcome you soon!
(Remember, if funds are limited, just let us know. Everyone is welcome.)
The latest dispatch asked, What song do you have on repeat?
Tycho - Awake. It feels something like an early morning adventure.
The rest of the replies capture our community so well. Prince is deservedly well-represented, alongside artists ranging from Hozier to Beyoncé. Enjoy the wonderful stories and add your own reply.
Iceland’s Water Cure by Dan Kois:
All around me was the soft white noise of a community. The conversation; the connection; the freedom, within that flurry of sociability, to withdraw and simply be within yourself.
Containing Multitudes by Mills Baker
How can we enable mutual, painless personalization of social experiences online? What features of evolved real-world individual and community social dynamics can we replicate with current technology?
What's your favorite season?