Or how to reclaim your attention
It’s a crazy reflection of human nature that onlyfans has 50x more revenue than substack. Here’s to reclaiming the internet for free speech and well written prose!
I've loved my substack reading experience as is for a long time now. When I start hearing about "improvements," I think of all the layout changes over the years by social media platforms and how frustrating and counterproductive they've been. I do hope Substack can avoid the compulsion to change for the sake of change, the compulsion to always appear to be "innovating" and such. That's one way to ruin it.
This really resonated with me, from the description of the social media rabbit hole to the tinge of anticipation i get every time a new Taibbi, Greenwald, Berenson, etc. publication comes in. I'd actually love to read this content on a simpler device (i.e. Kindle) to completely remove the 'need' to be on my phone/computer.
Good stuff. Unfortunately, the item that lodged in my consciousness to the greatest degree was the idea that you could have read through a library in the past ten years if not for Twit. While I do spend too much time reading articles (like this one for goodness' sake) on the interweb, I have no "social" media accounts and manage to pluck a volume from the thousands in my home and read it every day. I pride myself on being a non-conformist. And I'm happy my wife is the same.
I felt the dopamine-desire pulling me away as I started reading this very post, but halfway through, as you mention that glorious “flow state” I realized I was in it. What a treat. Absorbing oneself in other’s words is a form of resistance, that’s well-worth pushing towards.
“Reading on internet can be an assault on the senses” - This is so true. Social media has professed & induced bait friendly tactics to turn scrolls, swipes & taps into a muscle memory behavior for all us digital natives. Reading is the complete antithesis to constant, dopamine rush engagement & has taken a complete backseat. So well written Hamish & this is massively relevant in todays internet media landscape.
Thank you for this, Hamish, and everything you and team are doing.
As I recently emailed Hannah: In twenty years of publishing books with the "Big Five", I have never felt more supported as a writer than I do with Substack. Not only is the platform super effective (go recommendations!), but the direct connection with readers is simply remarkable.
From a big fan, Neal
PS. Lapham is the king!
I love Substack, but I would love it even more if there were a bundled paid subscription option. As in, how about letting us have say 10 paid subscriptions for a reasonable monthly fee ($20?) and allow us to swap out our paid roster. Different bundles could be offered for more or less money. Buying individual subscriptions, particularly for writers who don’t post very often, doesn’t seem like a good long-term model.
Love it. Substack has definitely become my go-to place to read online.
One technical bug: When I click on the headline of a Substack post in my email to read online, my Substack app does not automatically open. It goes to my browser. Which is a bit annoying.
I just recently (6 months) deleted all of my SM accounts and only use my phone for email and Substack. my life has greatly improved.
in that six months I’ve read 4-5 books. something I hadn’t done in almost 10 years.
the Smart Phone had shorted out my attention span so much that I couldn’t even focus enough to get through 2-3 pages of a book. so sad.
Substack is the only reason to use my phone anymore thank God!
For emerging writers without direct connections to the social networks of mainline editors, places like Substack are the only real place to build an audience and be free from editorial interference that comes with freelancing as a newbie.
I will quote your words here. “…Every web version of a Substack post is clean, simple, and fast to load. There are no pop-up ads or whirring gadgets.”
I hope substack stays like this forever.
I love having a bunch of newsletters to read over breakfast! There's a quiet moment, coffee, etc., and it's so much better than doomscrolling on Twitter. Happily have never really understood Reddit.
I make some similar arguments from a neuroscience/cognitive pov here: https://brainpizza.substack.com/p/internet-creativity-and-cacophony:
Creativity consumption style: meet internet-enabled ‘expression-architectures’ -
And on your device, it cuts both ways
Agree with what you say, but probably a bit long. :-) Reminds me of advertorials I've read. Ya think?
Keep up the good work with Substack. Freedom to publish and speak are being sanitized to conform to the New World Order, where you're free to say anything they want you to say, think anything they want you to think. ;-)
Great narration. What Hamish said is pretty true, Substack has a pretty clear-cut design, it’s easy to read on Substack AND write.
Thankyou. I do read books, I rarely do sm and I enjoy waking up once again and enjoying my mornings with my substack writers.
I am also deeply deeply deeply grateful that this model allows me to explore amongst an incredibly diverse range of information. opinions and experiences. I’m I am allowed to experience a broad sweep of very different resources, from nobody’s to accredited somebodies and decide what resonates for me. Using my critical thinking skills. It’s no wonder that substack feels like the light at the end of the tunnel.
Having my agency supported this way over the last 2 years of utter propaganda and madness is enough to make me weep in gratitude.