The Future. Substack is hatching a Twitter clone, dubbed Notes, to make it easier for writers to attract new subscribers all within the Substack ecosystem — no more farming for followers on Twitter. Understandably, Twitter isn’t happy with the added competition in the midst of its financial woes. But the rollout of Notes may be an existential necessity for Substack as it fights its own battle to make money.
The long and short of it
Substack wants to get a bit pithier.
- Notes allows writers to share “posts, quotes, comments, images, and links” without having any character limit (although Substack hopes you keep them short).
- Writers can include six photos or GIFs, but video isn’t yet supported.
- Users can then like, reply, and “restack” (basically retweet) the notes, and they can subscribe to a writer’s substack directly from the post.
Notes will appear as an independent tab on the Substack website and app, with two separate feeds: “Home” (all the people you follow and the people they recommend) and “Subscribed” (just the people you follow).
Substack’s Notes feature is the main reason behind Twitter’s temporary suppression of Subtacks links and even talking about Substsack. Musk justified the restriction by saying that Substack was “trying to download a massive portion of the Twitter database to bootstrap their Twitter clone.” Substack CEO Chris Best said that was nonsense.
What’s happening here is more likely that Musk is not happy about Notes coming in hot, just as Twitter is going through some growing (shrinking?) pains. It’s common practice for writers to market their Substack newsletters on Twitter — the last thing he wants is to lose that engagement.