Tag Archives: Substack

Substack Introduces Substack Notes

Substack has launched Notes to everyone. Notes is a new space where you can publish short-form posts and share ideas with other writers and readers on Substack.

Notes helps writers’ and creators’ work travel through the Substack network for new readers to discover. You can share links, images, quick thoughts, and snippets from Substack posts. As well as being lightweight and fun, we hope that Notes will help writers grow their audience and revenue. Notes lives in a tab beside Inbox at Substack.com and in Substack’s mobile apps. Unlike an Inbox post, a Notes post does not get sent to subscribers by email.

Notes also marks the next step in our efforts to build our subscription network – one that puts writers and readers in charge, rewards great work with money, and protects the free press and free speech. This work is at the core of the Substack model, and we believe it will be an important part of a new economic engine for culture. But what you see today is just the beginning. Notes is a long-term project, and success will ultimately be determined by trust expressed by writers and readers over the course of years. We do not take that trust for granted.

Mashable reported that Substack Notes comes “in the middle of one of the dumbest social media battles to date”. The day after Substack announced their Notes feature, Twitter began blocking likes, retweets, and comments on tweets that include a link to a Substack newsletter and blocked Substack writers from embedding tweets in their newsletters.

The Verge reported that Substack’s Twitter-like feature for shorter posts, called Notes, is launching for everyone on Tuesday. Notes could prove to be a worthy Twitter alternative for some, especially Substack writers who have already built audiences on the platform and are looking for a new place to post after Twitter throttled Substack links and marked them as unsafe.

According to The Verge, each Notes post can include up to six photos or GIFs, but video isn’t supported. Notes you share won’t go into subscriber inboxes; they’ll just live on the Substack website and app. And you can interact with other Notes with like, reply, and “restack” (retweet) buttons.

Engadget reported that Substack has officially launched Notes for all users. The new product takes a lot of cues from Twitter and joins the long list of services looking to lure away users from Elon Musk’s beleaguered social network.

At first (and second) glance, Substack Notes looks a whole lot like Twitter. Instead of tweets, you have notes. Instead of retweets, you get restacks. You can post external links, images, videos and whatever strikes your fancy.

According to Engadget, Substack Notes already caused a fair bit of controversy straight from its first announcement last week. Upon that announcement, Twitter began blocking engagement with Substack-related tweets, though the social media giant has paused the whole bully routine.

Personally, I think the more spaces were writers can post their ideas for other people to read is a good thing. Substack Notes appears to be giving writers who are already on Substack a means by which to attract more subscribers.

Substack Described its View of Content Moderation

Substack is a writing website that enables writers to publish to email and the web from one place. Each writer can make a newsletter which readers will pay for if they wish to read the writer’s work. Substack has a blog post in which it described its view of content moderation. Personally, I’m not entirely convinced that it will work out the way Substack hopes it would.

One big concept in Substack’s blog post is that readers are in full control of what they see. Readers make a conscious decision about which writers to invite into their inboxes and which ones to support with money. This gives Substack writers the potential to earn money for their writing. Any writer can choose to leave Substack at any time.

The other big concept is an emphasis on a style of content moderation that does not include censorship.

From the start, we have set out to encourage a broad range of expression on Substack. In most cases, we don’t think that censoring content is helpful, and in fact it often backfires. Heavy-handed censorship can draw more attention to content than it otherwise would have enjoyed, and at the same time it can give the content creators a martyr complex that they can trade off for future gain. We prefer a contest of ideas. We believe dissent and debate is important. We celebrate nonconformity.

That said, there are some limitations. Substack does not allow porn, spam, doxing or harassment. They also have content guidelines that will evolve as Substack grows. According to Substack: “There will always be many writers on Substack with whom we strongly disagree, and we will err on the side of respecting their right to express themselves, and their readers’ right to decide for themselves what to read.”

I can see some potential problems with the “hands off” content moderation that Substack is choosing. Those who want to write misinformation about COVID-19, vaccines, elections, voting rights, or specific politicians they happen to dislike, might decide that Substack is the place for them since it won’t censor (most) topics. Substack could quickly be overrun with the worst content that appears on social media sites – and the worst conversations that go along with it.

Substack appears to hope that their content moderation policies will attract writers of a wide variety of viewpoints and political persuasions. Perhaps that will happen. Or, Substack could be overwhelmed with a very lopsided mix of writers – who systematically push off the ones that they don’t agree with.