The last era of the internet has been dominated by platforms owning people, but the next era will be about people owning platforms.
I really hope Substack wins here. Email + no algorithms + no ads is a *far* better, less manipulative model than traditional social media.
We need to reimagine, rethink what community looks like in the digital world. It's why I left Instagram and exactly why I started on Substack.
This is incredibly timely! Just yesterday, I shared with my already existing ~2500 people email list my plan to start an artist community here on Substack. With just one email I already have paying subscribers, something I didn’t even dream of before yesterday. Ive been wanting to start a free community for some time but no platform felt right. I am really excited about the prospect of now growing this community here. I especially love that my members don’t have to constantly check an app but instead get updates right in their inboxes.
I wholeheartedly agree. I’ve been writing on Substack for almost two years, and added a paid premium a couple of months ago, with surprising success. I am in the process of building the Iowa Writers’ Collaborative https://iowawriters.substack.com/. I’ve gone to their towns and showed them how to create their own columns. It’s working. We are all professional writers. One is a Pulitzer winner. Take a look! Thank you for doing this!
I originally came to Substack because it was a clean and easy way to blog and send newsletters. It was only afterwards that I realised it actually represented an escape from algorithmic despair. As you change and expand the platform, I really hope you find ways to keep it that way. As both a writer and reader, it reminds me of the 1990s in the strength and quality of discussion and community involvement, while being very forward-thinking in its actual implementation.
I love this description of substack - I just wrote a blog post about my interest in the quieter/non-invasive spaces on the internet. TikTok feels like the noisy bar you go to as an intern during your first summer in NYC and substack feels like a nice country home you have to escape the city. This platform has provided both the reader and writer control over, what I call, their “virtual” personal space.
We publish three services on Substack and love the platform. We run private communities elsewhere (on Slack and also on Seeking Alpha). We would LOVE it if Substack offered a chatroom function for exactly the reasons you say. Ideally for our paying members only and ideally within the Substack app as well as website. It would be well worth an additional pay-away on the subscription fees.
I lead the larget online community of people with hearing loss in Latin America, and Substack has been the best way to keep in touch with this amazing community. I'm sick of algorithms, and I feel blessed for being able to reach my readers the way Substack allows me to. Keep doing this amazing work.
Spot on post Substack! The algorithms behind the big social media sites are increasingly being geared to serve bottom line and not users. Zuckerberg admitted as much last week when he said that Instagram feeds next year will go from 15% to 30% of content suggested by AI, which in human speak is 15% more advertising.
Substack keeps it real and organic as it should be. In the 8 months of using this platform I've had better and deeper interactions with users more than the whole of my experience using Twitter or the various Meta properties.
Keep going strong!
Hell yes, Hamish!
This post spoke to my heart. I am becoming increasingly apprehensive about reaching audience through social media given our often-conflicting priorities. Their priority–user time and selling ads. My priority - connecting with my audience in meaningful ways. It's for this reason that I'm just about to start my own substack!
I experience this sense of community when I read comments to the more famous or successful writers (Michael Moore, Heather Cox Richardson, f.e.). The tone is always warm and supportive; unlike FB, there's hardly ever a deliberately critical voice. And when I read the comments here: people share great ideas, are kind to each other, and really further a "we/us" attitude rather than "me, me, me". It feels good to be part of this community.
I needed this. Thanks, Hamish.
Subscribers are a wealth of knowledge.
This is great, Hamish! Thanks for sharing. I built a community of over 218k for moms on social and while it’s still thriving, I decided to join substack last month to have an alternative way to connecting with them. Our community has reacted well so far and I can’t wait to keep building. 👏❤️
Finally a platform that filters based on quality of content.
Now we creatives can finally focus on our craft and the rest will follow.