The blogosphere was steamrolled by ads and social media—so creators are adapting
In 2019, I remember having the feeling of wanting blogs to make a comeback. I was and am so bored with social media. This makes me very happy. Substack has become the main site that I use and it feels much more rewarding.
Substack revolutionized the way we read. In an era dominated by invasive ads and surveillance capitalism, Substack empowers readers with the choice to directly support and reward writers they value, curating a personal reading space devoid of intrusive advertisements. By focusing on quality content and fostering a direct writer-reader relationship, Substack is a beacon of hope for those yearning for a more authentic, uncluttered digital reading experience.
Substack is building an internet that doesn't fucking suck. And for that, you have my unwavering support.
Thank you to everyone on the Substack team working to fix our broken culture.
"What we’re seeing now feels a lot like that early blogging boom."
It sure feels that way to me too. On the writer side Substack is very collaborative. In my case, I couldn't find anywhere to share music I loved with people I hoped would love it to (and talk about it!), so I built it. That was 2 years ago, and there weren't a whole lot of us aroudn back then.
Today that space is thriving, and there is no shortgae of amazing writers bring their own spin on things. If that sounds like an ad, trust your gut.
On the other side of the screen, reading/consumption is much more intentional than it is with other online platforms. In the era of the infinite scroll, adjusting your content diet isn't always easy to do, but it's sure worth it.
Why do I feel like “blogger” has such a pure, innocent connotation over “content creator” or “influencer”? It takes me back to a simpler time, full of little pleasures and treasures around the internet. Yeah, let’s all blog, thx!
I've never thought that blogging went away. Every so often someone would declare blogging to be dead, but that report, like the one about Mark Twain, was exaggerated. I teach a course on blogging every year (twice this year in fact), and it always has a good turnout of interested and interesting people. (I added Substack to my list of platforms that people can use for blogging.) Funnily enough, while trawling through the Freedman archives recently, I rediscovered an ebook on blogging that I wrote some time ago. So it's good to see blogging get the recognition it deserves!
I'm going to go a little off script, just for the fun of it. This feels like one of those 'self-fulfilling headlines' fluffed out to make it work in this space. So, here's the thing, there may be no advertising here - which I love - but this post is very VERY awkward in the way it 'advertises' Substack 'big hitters. I love Substack and the space it provides for everyone but, the field is not level. Not one of the 23 tagged accounts has fewer than '100s of paid subscribers' (or 1000s - 3 of the 23) ... the others have between 15K subscribers (low end) and 260K subscribers ... the one account that doesn't have high numbers of subscribers (including paid) has over 40K on Instagram so is a pretty safe bet. I get that Substack has a business model built on its cut of the paying subscribers BUT, but, how many of these type of posts ever feature the young writers (or the old ones), the up-and-comers, the fiction writers, the niche folk who share others with kindness, the less-than 100 subscribers (not paid), the small guys, the start ups, the hobbyists, the quiet voices, the mentors, the learners, the non-monetisers. Just asking, as a fan, but as someone who doesn't want smoke and mirrors to mask the truth of the matter.
I grew up in the golden age of blogging, in the early 2000's Livejournal days before myspace and facebook took over the internet landscape. In those days, even photos were rare, so you would have to get to know other people, or know your friends better through raw text and pure writing.
I fell into some awesome wormholes such as on Livejournal there was a community called "BeautifulPeoples" where you had to be voted in by other beautiful people, and then they talked, I'm not sure, mostly about being beautiful but for some reason when I was 13/14 I was absolutely obsessed with this community and read everything.
I miss the weird super niche stuff like that, that once facebook took over, the entire world became entirely about selfies. I miss reading "fan fic" type blogs, such as Survivor or "Before the 90 Days" reflections. I can definitely see this resurgence of blogging coming through on Substack, which also gave me the permission to simply write about what I want to write about: my life, my thoughts, life advice, personal development, etc.
I absolutely love the community here, the writers, the publications, and it really does feel like a return to the "glory days" of the internet, pre 2004, when forums and blogs ruled the web.
This is so wonderful! I am currently teaching a Substack class for bloggers, it's really wonderful, it's over at bloggingtoday.substack.com in case anyone wants to take a peek!!!!
I started a blog in 2014 for women of any age who wanted to think and talk about fashion. It was a passion project that over the years as you suggest was “steamrolled” buy ads and social media. It became of interest because I was a 61 year old social work professor doing it. I wrote a book about my experience that is ful, of nostalgia and the deep meaning my blog and my community held for me before Instagram. I have recently brought my blog here where I feel the protection I and my followers need to engage in the intimate conversations we truly wish to have. This post really spoke to me.
I still remember when you helped me launch DECORATE at Chronicle Books - when I worked with Peter and Lorraine - lovely days!!! I am so happy I've been able to pivot, I still have my original blog and love it, but Substack has also been a fun adventure for a solid year now that I'm exploring and enjoying. Ultimately, writers just want to write so we always find a place and come back to it no matter what happens! :)
I see a lot of parallels with the golden age of blogging too!
I was an early adopter in the realm of medical blogging, and my writing took me all the way to writing for Scienceblogs alongside future all stars like Ed Yong.
When I learned of Substack, the opportunity was clear, and so I dusted off the 10 years of rust and have been writing a medical substack/blog again for the past 2 years. I call it EXAMINED.
Good for the soul, and not too shabby for a little side gig money.
It DOES feel exactly like that. Excited to be part of it and not just a jealous reader this time.
I have a niche Pottery Substack and spend all my time encouraging others to come to this great platform 😁
I love the idea of reclaiming blogging as a form. I’ve always talked about my Twitter as microblogging, a term that fell out of use circa 2010 but which I still find useful. These days I’m more into what we might call macroblogging. And yet I’m conscious there’s an even earlier term we perhaps need to reclaim, one with a pedigree as long as writing itself: the essay.
This headline makes my day. Cheers to long form written content 💪
Love what Substack is doing 🤓. As a dietitian it’s perfect spot to deep dive on some nutrition topics and share insights at the same time!