5 reasons I'm choosing Substack's Notes over every other Twitter copycat
With the launch of Threads, it's time to ask: How many social networks will millennials allow to break our hearts?
This past April Substack added Notes, a social media feed most people see as a potential Twitter replacement.
It’s not exactly like Twitter, but the minutia of differences doesn’t matter to this conversation. I’m not the sort of cultural commentator who can say whether this might finally be the new social media app we’ve been searching for, but I’m intrigued. I’ve enjoyed my first few months on Notes, wading in from the get-go with my fellow Substack writers to test the waters. The space is, as Vanity Fair’s Delia Cai wrote, “freaking genteel,” and that’s refreshing in the social media landscape.
But we’ve been here before, haven’t we?
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I’ve been using social media since the mid-aughts, when they were still called social networks. A loyal millennial, I gave most of the majors a spin over the years: MySpace, Reddit, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Slack groups and — omg — remember Ello?? I still have some lingering accounts, but I’m tired. Every platform starts out a “genteel” landscape to connect with interesting people and eventually devolves into a racist, transphobic hellscape we’re all trying to win.
I’m tired of being disappointed by every attempt at social media.
I’m afraid to be hoodwinked into believing Substack can be different. This company doesn’t have a good track record with transphobic and racist users, and it doesn’t show any signs of changing its First Amendment–absolutist tack. And, even if it does, isn’t it just another social media platform? How many times will hopeful millennials put ourselves through this heartbreak? How many times will enterprising solopreneurs be energized by possibility, only to have the algorithmic rug yanked out from under us?
I’m giving Substack a chance.
I don’t have any remaining energy for more than a passive (periodically ravenous) enjoyment of TikTok, and I can’t muster even a glancing interest in the many platforms competing for Twitter defectors. I thought I’d never give in to a new social media platform again. But I’m giving in to Substack.
Notes is a natural appendage to writing the Healthy Rich newsletter on the platform. But even that wasn’t enough to push me into it. What tipped me over the edge was realizing all the ways Substack is truly — for now — not like the other platforms.
How Substack is different from other social media platforms
And why I’m putting social media back on my to-do list.
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