13 Comments
Nov 30, 2023Liked by John Ward

WELL SAID!

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This is how I've been thinking about it, as well. Just like how they've had a surprisingly mature podcast solution for years now. Nice to see some positivity. :)

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A good thesis on where Substack may be heading. Thank you

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Agreed!!

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Maybe, instead of asking "Could it be more?", we should be asking "Does it need to be more?".

As we've seen on other platforms, the addition of audio and video, whether intentionally or not, began to crowd out text content; as users rushed to take advantage of the algorithmic favor bestowed upon those newer tools. That favor was, as always, short-lived; but the habits it created became ingrained very quickly. And those who stuck to text found their reach diminished, through no fault of their own; because video-specialized creators jumped into those platforms and swallowed up space in them, to the detriment of everyone who had already been there.

Social media, despite what we're constantly told, *is* a zero-sum game; a Mr. Beast's redwood tree puts thousands of others' saplings in its shadow.

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I was excited about this new direction. Now I just have to figure out how I can use it effectively.

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I still stand by my original statements. I didn't ask for this. I didn't ask for video period. Whether you are seeking to create a creation platform or not is not the issue. It is again that there is no innovation beyond taking what others are doing and trying to logic your way to the end that oh well yeah discovery!

No, there are better ways of doing this. It's the same argument that all writers continually have with every platform. I write I don't want nor should I need to continually put myself in front of my work in order to reap the benefit of my work. Writing is one of the few art forms that allowed for such anonymity and it is continually being trampled upon by features that are meant for everything but.

Audio is closer to written text, made more convenient by the auto transcription reader. That was a high quality of life, improvement that was uniquely the stacks.

These are the kinds of features people have been requesting. The things that are core to being a writer is making writing easier and reading easier.

They want to add video and shorts and all the other 'creation' tools frame it properly. Don't do the thing where you look everywhere else and go oh we are complete with them let's take this idea and put it on our platform. Make it yours for Christ sake. Because taking this to it's logical end, the out cry for artist has been discovery. The solution is video, you compare that to Patreon which DOES NOT HAVE THIS ISSUE. There is no conversation about discovery because the assumption is you have your audience you are bringing to the platform and doing that leg work. Substack does not position itself this way. The assumption or general consensus since I've been here is we are here to help writers, get discovered, become better, and gather an audience.

I do not see how any video feature helps me as a writer. In a way that doesn't force me to do the things I came to writing for. I don't want to be the center of attention I want my.work to be, Anonymity. Twitch is a great case study for video needing a face to sale you content. For the longest time people were streaming without know who was behind the camera. And it was fine, once the formula change it was the only way to be successful on the platform. So the fear is not oh this is going to ruin. Substack. The fear is being forced to use specific features and tools to be successful on the platform. I just want to bloody write and occasionally maybe drop some audio of my written work.

Compound that by THE FEATURE WE'VE BEEM ASLING FOR AINCE THE APP WAS RELEASED HAS NOY BEEN EVEN REMOTELY MENTIONED, HINTED AT, OR TALKED ABOUT. The ability to WRITE IN APP. I feel like it's a slap in the face honestly. Because it is literally on every single thread, on every single update and announcement about features. It is the one major feature that adds such a major quality of life to the stack that is being missed continually.

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