The ad-peddling model that dominates the internet and hijacks our minds is costing us too much by being “free”
While we may want to break off the engagement, we all still seem to be slave to using IG, FB, Twitter, to find our readers.
Beautifully said. Love this platform, the transparency, and how it feels clean. No disruptions. Allows you to write, read, think. Thank you.
The more I think about this post, the more self-serving and ironic it feels! Because unfortunately, you guys are falling into a lot of the same traps as "big social" has before you - seeing yourselves as disrupters, as saviors (bringing us out of the "dark ages" of the ad model), having shifting definitions of transparency, and positioning yourselves as neutral but also good (we're not like those other guys!). I...don't like it. "A minty fresh cigarette is still a cigarette"--exactly. Or maybe you guys are Juul.
This is a terrific piece! It’s really well written, and it’s one of the best arguments I’ve seen for platforms like Substack where great writing and authentic engagement put writers back in the driver’s seat. Your analysis of how the algorithms of Big Social have been tearing apart our social fabric and even threatened our democracy is spot on. Thanks for writing this. It reaffirms my decision to write for Substack. I’m excited to be part of this still young experiment and look forward to participating in its growth and development.
As an academic turned public historian committed to communicating the context for right now (not to mention the fascination and joy) that history provides, I appreciate Substack. Celebrity "platforms" are also killing free, frank, and informed expression. I am very grateful to my paid subscribers, and also to my "free" readers for their interest.
THIS. IS. AWESOME.
It's not enough anymore to just criticize the existing media/academia/social media regime of clickbait level discourse - sure, do that, but we need to build. Good to see people being part of the solution.
My thoughts exactly. I have written for digital magazines that now "feature" multiple pop up ads in the middle of my article. Love my Substack Wine Wanderings platform.
There is a myth that high quality writing and discussion will create attention. The truth is that outrage creates attention, but it's not sustainable. I do think that well-written work can attract a following over time, but only if it's relevant. Right now we have an attention economy. the logical outgrowth of the 20th century obsession with advertising and branding. Since the advent of granular tracking, those things have become secondary.
Well said, Chris. I am glad to see people are finally realizing that social media is a self-imposed addiction and societal disease with devastating effects. Sadly, publishers still push the self-serving idea that you have to be on it to be a successful writer. And many writers still believe it also. Time for a change.
Fantastic with handling all sides of the truth. I hope this article goes to hot presses everywhere for all to read. People need to read and understand what role we let the Media and Politicians have in controlling our elections and our lives. We need to pay attention now or don’t complain in the future. If you really thought it through you could even turn the tables of bad politics. Our voices and actions really do matter to make this better.
"With money, you know exactly what you’re paying and to whom, and you can cancel payments when you want. Transactions become transparent, and incentives become properly aligned." I'm with you on this whole post except for this piece - as we learned earlier this year with the still mysterious Substack Pro model, it doesn't actually feel that transparent and we're not at all sure who we are paying in the long run.
It was NEVER a great deal; an industry making instant billionaires before or because they left school. Nerdie maniacs on display like the Emperor with no clothes except NOW they have almost all the money in the world.
You might enjoy my "organized labor" on Author House or American Phantasmagoria now out on Lulu in 20/21.
Great read, Well thought out and makes so much sense. Thank you Chris!
Very well said. I agree with EVERYTHING in this article and I absolutely love the substack format.
Precisely. Thank you for so eloquently writing this. We need to hear (and share) this view more.