How we change the internet
Direct relationships are the future
Substack is part of a seismic shift in the media economy that gives more power to writers and creators. When writers are in charge, they can have a direct relationship with their readers, do the work they believe is most important, and have the potential to make far more money than they could from other venues, where others reap the majority of the benefits from their work.
The Substack model is thriving. The proof is that the imitations are failing and the incumbents are resisting.
For example, today Twitter started blocking links to Substack. We hope this action was made in error and is only temporary. Writers deserve the freedom to share links to Substack or anywhere else. However, even if this change is not temporary, it is a reminder of why cracks are starting to show in the internet’s legacy business models. When it comes to any of the other large platforms, the rules are the same. If writers and creators don’t own their relationships with their audiences, they’re not in control.
This writer- and reader-first model represents the future of the internet. Any platform that benefits from writers’ and creators’ work but that doesn’t give them control over their relationships will inevitably wonder how to respond to the platforms that do.
While incumbents may take actions to stymie this shift, we’ll be working hard to ensure that writers and creators get only more ownership and control of their futures. We’ll give writers even more control over the aesthetics of their publications, empower them with tools to cultivate their communities, and make it easy to grow their audiences through the Substack network.
Very soon, we’ll launch Notes, a large investment in providing writers with an alternative for growth outside of traditional social networks. Notes is designed to drive discovery across Substack, giving writers and readers the ability to recommend almost anything—including posts, quotes, comments, images, and links.
But the magic of a subscription network like this is not in the code. When this works, it will work because of you. Subscription networks like Substack will prevail because of the people who choose to be part of it, because they believe the principles at play offer something better.
Substack may be a small upstart, but the combined reach of the writers on it—both in number, and in cultural impact—is already tremendous. If enough of us choose to play this new game, it will work, and there’s nothing anyone will be able to do to stop it.
Thanks to all the writers and subscribers for helping make Substack what it is today. The next chapter is going to be even better.