41 Comments

The reason I read Honest Broker on Substack is the long form writing. The reason I am NOT on Twitter or Facebook, aside from those platforms' inherent untrustworthy content (yes, I hate that word too, Ted) is their fueling of the attention deficit generation. Please say you'll continue primarily in the original Substack! I have no interest in bite-sized topics or cat photos.

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Have no worries! I will continue to publish on Substack, much like I've done in the past. Anything I do on Substack Notes will be in addition to this.

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C'mon Thom(as)...take a bite! It's fun!

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excellent last name sir!

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I wholeheartedly agree with Thomas. Things like this are driven by tech and marketing egos desperate to justify their existences to their VC overlords. Look, we have our very own Twitter feed now! Which ends up dropping even more garbage into the Internet landfill. Just because we “can” doesn’t mean we “should.”

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I'm a fellow Substacker (PortlandDissent) and my initial response is--who the hell wants to emulate Twitter. Which is one of the most odious developments in human communication history.

Jeez--just what the world needs: shorter stuff!!!

I am baffled why the owners of Substack--and God bless 'em--would want to tinker around with a whole new batch of algorithms when the basic Substack software is far, far from perfected. (Substack's graphics and typography are notoriously limited.)

As for Notes...it will fall victim to the inevitable dilemma of the common. Twitter is like an open-air insane asylum full of creeps working out their neuroses (I know; I live in PDX). The length of the typical Substack post is the secret-sauce that keeps the morons from flooding the zone.

This will not end well.

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Richard, I'm sad to say you've been proven 100% correct about Substack Notes. It hasn't turned out well.

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From this day forward I will exclusively refer to this place as Pub-Snack. I am partial to a pub snack. So thanks for that, Ted.

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Been using Notes since it launched earlier today - fairly convinced this could be a powerful tool to connect writers to make their work even more discoverable. I am interested to see how this will influence my continued use of Twitter.

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I'm in. I'm not sure what I'll do with notes, but its here, and we can find out. It's great to not have some of the limitations of Twitter, like the number of characters, as a writer, brevity is not my strongest point and having a limit on characters has helped me at times to be succinct.

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Dear Ted,

I appreciate your work on Substack. I'm looking forward to the Notes feature and hope it will help with an issue I have with your newsletter. As a non-native English speaker, I find it challenging to keep up with the frequent publication schedule of new articles, which are often longer for me to read compared to native English speakers. With my other commitments such as following other newsletters, my full-time job, family, and household responsibilities, I often feel overwhelmed. I was wondering if there could be an option to read a brief summary or introduction of new articles in 3-5 minutes, so that I can decide if I want to read them in depth or skip them. I hope the Notes feature can address this for me.

All the best!

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The Notes function definitely supports an excerpt or summary, but it's up to the content creator if that's how they want to use Notes. Given it's designed to drive traffic, probably quite a few will use it this way, now that it's live.

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How will Notes be from a privacy pov. Will they be aggregating and selling my preferences? Will they be curating my experience and turn my feed into an echo chamber?

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I agree, and as a poet and songwriter I see a possibility for a new culture in this! Very exciting!

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Tēnā koe, Ted Gioia...another home run! You have inspired me to post. Thank you!

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Thanks Ted. I'm gonna give Notes a try. I admire what Substack the company and platform have achieved thus far, and it seems to be hitting its stride just as twitter is losing its own plot.

Question for anyone getting up to speed on Notes: I don't see a way to limit the Notes feed to a subset of substackers except by Subscribing to those people--but that also subscribes me to their newsletters (correct?). I don't want all that many newsletters, just a select few. Whereas I'd like see the latest Notes from many of those people whose newsletters I don't necessarily want right now. Is that feature place and I just don't see it?

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I expect that Substack will eventually offer several different ways of accessing Notes. The easiest starting point is for people to get Notes from the same sources where they have subscriptions. But many of us have expressed a desire for other options—including the ability to follow people without subscribing. I suspect that this will be allowed in the future.

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There are two tabs at the top of the Notes page, with Home showing a broader selection of Substacks, and Subscribed, self evidently being the people you currently follow. On the top right of the page you'll also see a rotating selection of Recommended Substacks, if you hover on any of them you'll see the pop up description. Yes, you would need to do a free subscription if you want to see feeds from particular creators (you can always turn off emails).

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Thanks Caz. I think you are correct on all those points. But there's a whole lot of friction in that process, and I'm sure the designers at Substack will streamline it in time. Right now the problem isn't so bad because the signal to noise ratio is pretty good here in the early days of Notes. As more folks get on board and start posting, Notes will become a much noisier environment.

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Valid point. Even in the second week of beta I noticed more creators were posting.

I'm following nearly 30 Substacks at the moment, being newish to the platform, and am working at cutting that back to manageable number. Too much to choose from, and I've barely touched the surface!

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Here's hoping you will no longer ignore classical music and that you will welcome photos of dogs (since we already have lots of cat photos on whyevolutionistrue).

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One of the reasons I left Facebook several years ago, was the interminable photos of dogs, cats, someone's aunt Mary's cousins, sister's children, and snippets of "conversations." In my last Facebook post I said, "If anyone wants to have a conversation, here is my email." I currently have 3 people with whom I "converse." That's enough.

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I don't know what the purpose is of social networks and conversing via the internet with strangers. I prefer direct one on one contact, with people with shared interests. I could barely understand any of the commenters on this list. Few have anything of interest to say. Most of it is very abstract and not grounded in any issue or great thought. My interests, in case you want a fourth correspondent, are science, nature, language, anthropology, interspersed with food anecdotes or good jokes. Or recollections of foreign travel, evolution, and anything about Rome.

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Hi Lorna, thank you for your offer of correspondence. I don't see many areas where we intersect. I don't know what "food anecdotes" are, I prefer humor to jokes, know little about science, I've only spent a week in Rome in 1962, I've travelled a great deal, I'm at the stage where food is something I eat to live, and I'm not sure that we've evolved, at least on the emotional scale. My interests are music of all eras and styles, poetry, reading in general, health (mine mostly), philosophy, but not in a formal sense, and sex. 😶

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Hey: If Twitter is annoyed then we’re doing something right. Twitter is a bin of it obnoxious trash. The real creators are here.

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exactly. That's almost exactly what I thought in office hours: they must be scared.

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Why do you feel the need to return to Twitter ? I can already hear your answer, so no need to explain.

As far as this need to follow (Notes) - don't need it so not even gonna bother.

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Really liking what having you on notes promises . looking forward to it 🤠

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Thank you so much for sharing this info. I loved Twitter and hated to see it go downhill. I just couldn't get excited about any of the apps that tried to take its place. Maybe this is the one.

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