Is Substack good for the world? Is Substack worth it for writers?
A Substack post about Substack.
Tiffany Hsu of the New York Times recently wrote an article about Substack. People love to argue about everything the New York Times says, so naturally it generated a fair share of controversy. The cynical take, of course, would be that the NYT is choosing to highlight criticisms of a competitor because it doesn’t want the competition (and especially doesn’t want its best writers leaving to strike out on their own). It’s certainly plausible, I suppose — the online media space has certainly become a more cutthroat space as new entrants have flooded the market, and the proliferation of independent newsletters just adds to the pressure. It was certainly a bit shady that the NYT article talked of an “exodus” from Substack, while quietly noting lower down in the article that the platform is actually growing by leaps and bounds.
But anyway, I’m not so interested in that sort of media business sniping. For me, Hsu’s article provides a good opportunity to reflect on this platform I’ve been using for a year and a half now. The criticisms of Substack’s role in the national discussion, I think, are worth taking seriously. And for people contemplating starting their own Substacks, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the pros and cons of the platform, whether it’s worth the fee, whether to take the Substack Pro deal, and how to know if it’s a good fit.
And of course I’m going to paywall it. If you only want to read this post, of course, you can always use Substack’s free trial feature. ;-)
Is Substack good or bad for the world?
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