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'Hey lovely! Don't miss this opportunity!' Digital temporalities of wellness culture, email marketing, and the promise of abundance
journal contributionposted on 2022-09-29, 03:07 authored by Natalie Hendry
For the wellness industry, email communication, albeit mundane, remains an essential practice even as wellness entrepreneurs embrace newer digital technologies. Drawing on ongoing insights from a larger Australian digital ethnographic project, I explore how these ‘wellness emails’ – electronic mail communication (outside of social media) that typically circulate wellness-related content through automated email list subscriptions – promise an always-ready, abundant space for transforming bodies and optimising health. These emails teach alternative bodily temporalities, distinct from the inhospitable biomedical time of mainstream healthcare, yet also employ time-critical marketing tactics and stories to drive attention, where recipients are encouraged both to not miss out on opportunities but also to respect their own ‘divine timing’. Such temporal flexibility of wellness culture, and its promise of abundance, contributes to its global expansion, where email offers personal and marketised engagement and, critically, a potential escape from social media censorship and public health scrutiny.