Social Media Is a Problem. Substack — and Their New "Notes" — Could Be Part of the Solution
We have hope.
Substack has rolled out a new Twitter-like feature called Notes, and Michael and I are enthusiastically participating — and we hope you’ll join us there.
Incidentally, this is what all that hullabaloo was about last week when Elon Musk banned links to Substack on Twitter, and then denied doing it, because…Elon Musk. And Twitter.
You may be thinking, “Wait, Brent is recommending more social media? Does Brent have multiple personalities or what?”
One personality — let’s call him “Brent” — writes about how social media is obviously negatively impacting society, and how technology in general has completely transformed travel, often in bad ways.
But another personality — let’s call him “Brent II” — writes about how Substack has completely changed his life and empowered writers in unprecedented, revolutionary ways.
And now I’m encouraging folks to join Notes? How can one person think such contradictory things?
Because they’re not necessarily contradictory.
When it comes to social media, and technology, there’s a lot going on these days. It’s a complicated topic with lots of moving pieces — and there are often very real pros and cons.
I think it’s okay to have contradictory — er, complicated — feelings.
When it comes to social media, I think Substack — and Notes — can be part of the solution, not more of the problem.
First, Twitter is a toxic cesspool — and it was only slightly less horrible before Musk took over.
Second, Substack has long championed longform — more substance and civility than the other social media platforms. That’s supposedly the whole point of Substack.
Now that Substack is rolling out a new feature that will give writers (and our followers) a chance to do short-form too, the hope is that this community will maintain its relative thoughtfulness and civility.
It obviously remains to be seen if this will be true. Substack wouldn’t be the first tech company to start with high aspirations and a desire to not “be evil.”
In the meantime, I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt.
I hope you’ll join us.
How to join
Head to substack.com/notes or find the “Notes” tab in the Substack app. As a subscriber to Brent and Michael Are Going Places, you’ll automatically see my Michael’s and my notes. Feel free to like, reply, or share them around!
And, of course, you can also share notes of your own!
Brent Hartinger is a screenwriter and author. For more about Brent, visit him at BrentHartinger.com
My avoidance of Notes is purely about me. My brain responds strongly to the attention incentives of social media. It’s no good for me at any level. Not everybody has that problem! For me it’s like giving up potato chips or jelly beans or alcohol--I can only stick to it if I just don’t have the stuff around. I hope it remains a thoughtful and rich place for everyone who participates. 💖
Yeah I’m curious to see how Notes plays out. Mixed feelings.