Substack is riding the “Elon is going to implode Twitter” train so hard that it is bringing tweets (well, Notes) to its platform.
In a blog post, the company announced that Notes is now rolling out for all users on Substack — and not just the mobile app! The web app gets this new feature too. Substack describes Notes as a “new space where you can publish short-form posts and share ideas with other writers and readers on Substack.”
The company is hoping that Notes will give writers and their audiences a new way to interact on the platform outside of the usual newsletter-into-inbox method. It also hopes that Notes will give users the opportunity to discover more writers.
Notes helps writers’ and creators’ work travel through the Substack network for new readers to discover. You can share links, images, quick thoughts, and snippets from Substack posts. As well as being lightweight and fun, we hope that Notes will help writers grow their audience and revenue. Notes lives in a tab beside Inbox at substack.com and in Substack’s mobile apps. Unlike an Inbox post, a Notes post does not get sent to subscribers by email.
I’ve used Notes for two minutes and I have to say it — this is just Twitter with better formatting options. You can…note? Is that it? Do you note on Substack like you tweet on Twitter? That doesn’t sound right. Anyway, you can publish a note and reply to other people’s notes. There’s a Home feed and a Subscribed (cough, Following) feed. You can share photos and links in notes. If it sounds like Twitter, that’s because it’s a lot like Twitter.
There are some differences, though, but those mostly consist of features on Twitter that Notes doesn’t have yet. You also can’t follow someone to see their Notes without subscribing to their newsletter. That feels like a missed opportunity — I’d like to get to know someone first before making a commitment to paying for their content.
As much as Notes looks like the start of a Twitter clone, I am actually excited to use it. As a writer, I get to interact more with a community of writers. For everyone else? I’m not sure if people are going to subscribe to hundreds of newsletters just to interact with their favorite authors. We’ll see.
The launch of Notes comes rather shortly after Twitter started causing problems for those trying to link to Substack on its platform. There’s an ongoing debate over whether or not Elon Musk is trying to tank a potential competitor of Twitter misusing the Twitter API — but I’m not getting into that here. But Twitter did also recently accidentally make private tweets public, so maybe now isn’t a bad time to note instead. Nah, that doesn’t work.