Substack launches Notes, a Twitter-like posting platform
Substack announced the roll out of a new short-form content posting feature that it calls Notes earlier this week. Notes enables writers to post shorter content and ideas, very similarly to how many writers use Twitter for that currently.
Substack is a publishing platform that is free to use. Writers may join the platform and start publishing content on a dedicated subdomain. Readers may subscribe to content and get updates via email, but content is also accessible on the Substack website directly.
Monetization options are available and writers may publish content for paying members exclusively or make content available to all. You can check out my weekly free tech newsletter on the site to find out what it is all about.
Substack Notes looks and feels like Twitter in many regards. The screenshot above shows Notes on mobile and on larger screens.
One of Notes' main purposes is to "drive discovery across Substack", according to the company. While anyone may use the search on Substack to find content, Notes is designed for shorter content.
Substack users may post links, quotes, comments or images using Notes, and all of this content becomes available for everyone then. Notes may contain recommendations, e.g., when a new post goes up, or when another great writer is discovered on the platform. All users may share and reply on Notes.
Compared to Twitter, Notes may have less functionality, but Substack believes that it has an ace up its sleeve that is giving it the edge: there are no ads in Notes.
Substack is financed through paid subscriptions, and this means that there are not any ads cluttering the feed, or slower loading times because of ads needing to be loaded.
The company notes that the lifeblood of ad-based social media is attention. The more attention, the higher the pageviews and user interaction, the larger the pay out. Most of the money from advertising finds itself into the pockets of the operator.
On Substack, users subscribe to writers that they want to support, and Notes is just another cornerstone of the company's strategy going forward. Substack claims that users of the platform have paid writers more than $300 million since its creation, that it has 35 million active subscriptions, and that two million of those are paid subscriptions.
Notes adds another tool to the arsenal of writers on the site, one that they may utilize to post interesting content and, as a result, gain more eyeballs on their content. It is too early to say if Notes can make a dent into Twitter's domination of the space, especially since Twitter has plans to add revenue opportunities as well, which sound to some agree similar to Substack's.