From someone whose brain was broken by Twitter and has the journal entries to prove it (it me)
fun fact, I am a monkey – a monkey with NOTIFICATIONS TURNED OFF
I asked if anyone felt like notes was a middle school dance and got no response and then I really felt like notes was a middle school dance. I’m glad to see these ponderings. I’m struggling with notes. It feels like a lot of noise and people shouting across the divide. It’s a lot of information in a time when we are already overloaded with information. It has actually made me appreciate that anybody is reading my writing when there’s so much out there. I am setting boundaries and not opening the app between 8 and 6. I’m also trying to only give it small space in my day and mind. If you are someone who doesn’t need such limits, I admire your fortitude. I listened to this podcast on silence this week, and it really helped especially the part about thinking I’m going to find the answer I’m looking for. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-one-you-feed/id792555885?i=1000599072615
I’m most definitely not going to find what I’m seeking on Notes. I might find a good joke or book rec but I’m not going to find the answer to life, the universe and everything.
And...sometimes someone shouts something across the divide that really resonates and makes me smile like this
Shit I zooted this one out and forgot to update the intro so sorry I guess but honestly who cares we get one little life mistakes are good !!
Alex it’s so funny to read this, because just this past Monday I did it. I turned off all the Substack notifications. All. I no longer get a notice when someone likes my newsletter. Or comments on my newsletter. Or likes a comment I left on someone else’s newsletter. Or likes my comment. Or mentions me in their notes post. Or comments on my notes comment.
In one step I totally eliminated maybe 100 distractions/interruptions a day popping into my inbox. It is like living in a different world! So much peace! And thanks to the Substack app I can see them all and respond as needed at reasonable intervals. A few times a day seems right to me. And it’s a lot more fun.
Highly recommend this to everybody!
1. Can't, won't, shan't.
2. Nothing. Not on my radar, so Notes: knock yourself out with the whole shebang and just get on with it without me. I'd say I'm watching from the sidelines, but that's a lie. I'm so far away from the sidelines that I'm in a different ballpark. In a different country. On a different planet.
3. 126%* of my time is spent in the Comments sections of the 945** Substack newsletters I subscribe to. Zilch per cent is spent on the traditional social media platforms. I am addicted to YouTube tutorials on a whole smorgasbord of learning matter, and I'm a sucker for Apple News (because it's way more fun than the Daily Telegraph, the Saturday edition of which I spend actual real money on JUST for the crossword). Absolutely none of my professional life is spent online, and for that I am grateful.
4. Come on, do I have the time for anything else?
*not quite true. I'm working on my maths.
**probably nearly true
OK, I'll bite:
1. How do you feel about Notes? What are you finding difficult about using it, and what do you love about it?
I'm taking a cautious approach to Notes, being a recovering Twitter addict. It has some of the stuff that I used to love about Twitter but the audience is more focused. I don't know if it will take with me or not.
2. What do you wish Notes had, feature wise or anything wise?
Gonna wait and see on that one. I'd be OK if it stays as it is.
3. What percentage of your social life is online? What about ur professional life?
Very, very low percentage of my social life is online. One one-thousandth of my professional life is online: the streams rarely cross.
4. What else is happening that has nothing to do with any of this?
My newsletter How About This will be one year old on May 3!
5. How's it hanging?
It’s fine it’s just the usual thing with the internet - time suck.
Yes, the lady in Reno is in us all. And Reno casinos are the most depressing places on Earth.
I don’t know how you do it (even if you explain it step by step to us) -- writing so that I read practically everything you write. Does that make us Gollum? We wants it too!!
I’ve noticed that there’s a lot of writing about Notes and Substack on Substack, and it’s getting, well, boooooringg! With the exception of your post because you can write about anything and still make it digestible. Everyone seems to think they should write about this place and I think it’s time to move on and focus away from this tool. We’re here now, so let’s be here. If that makes sense.
The three things I'm digging most about Notes so far:
People are smartish. Substack is filled with writers. Writers think and care about ideas. Thus, the conversations there are a level up from the Petty Hate Machine™️ that is Twitter.
It’s not reliant on advertising. Ad-supported business models lead to mind-capture crap. But Substack and its authors make money from paid subscribers, removing some of the worst incentives of the attention economy.
It’s not algorithm-based. The content you see comes just from people you actually subscribe to as opposed to whatever randomness the algorithm decides to show you. People choose what they want to see.
Wrote more about it here fyi:
Thanks for this. I have indeed been panicking a little about Notes... like, what's all this now? Why is everyone immediately in there like a dirty shirt, as my grandmother might say? Why does everyone immediately have a million "short form" things to say?
Maybe my problem is that I never could get into Twitter, and left a couple of years ago. I know, I know, that's not actually a *problem*. But now that Notes have arrived and all the cool kids are doing it, I feel at a loss. I only post my newsletter once a month, and all the "short form" things I have to say get used on my husband at the end of the day. I don't, you know, REMEMBER them.
How I feel about notes as a newbie writer:
99% of my subscribers are family & friends. So I know none of them are on the actual substack app, they just get my emails. I feel like I’m speaking to a void on notes, but maybe that’s okay?? It gives me room to mess around (like how I posted that incredibly primal stick figure drawing of my boyfriend being scared by me LOL). It’s making me more comfortable with being less of a perfectionist online without the pressure of performing for likes.
I also like reading thoughts from writers and seeing their tips for writing and growth. I’ve never been immersed in a writing community before, as most of the ppl I know IRL don’t write, so it’s been motivating to feel digitally surrounded by these ppl!
But sometimes I find myself comparing myself to other really established ppl. So I just stick to the subscribed tab most of the time.
Loved this and finding myself nodding along to much if it. If I wanted Twitter Light, I’d drink the full alcohol version and get lost in the buzz. I want something else after14 years on Twitter. Notes is my social me Xanax at the moment.
Well thanks for this, these were all the things I needed to hear. I'm in the middle of my great insta-detox and still I let myself be a wee bit panicked about Notes. But the more I use it, the more it's clear it's not the same as regular social media because everything is still developing. So you're right, post or don't. Chill out. Have fun. NBD :)
Notes showed up at a lousy time for me. I had just made the decision to unplug more so I wouldn't drive myself crazy with the USUAL amount of FOMO (and its lengthier cousin) I have about Substack - I was feeling the benefits of said unplugging and then BOOM! NOTES! BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!
I am, so far, being relatively square. Showed up a couple of times to boost others and once to boost myself. Response was MEH.
Now I'll pop in once a day to see if there's anything new, but I'm finding I see a lot of the same posts over and over again. Not sure why that is. Am I not subscribed to enough people? Or is this just a sign that only 2-5% of Substack writers are using it, as you say. I'm okay being among the 95%. But FOMO is real. No wait! It's NOT REAL.
You've saved me, Alex Dobrenko. You've saved us all.
Notes (and really it's not about Notes, it's about everything on Earth, more or less) has got me feeling overwhelmed and a little freaked out. I haven't touched it yet, but this post made me feel a little better about it. Nothing is real! It's fine!
lol, maybe there's something in the water (I live in NorCal and I'm pretty sure we send all our water to you in LA), because I posted this Note literally a minute after you published this piece: https://substack.com/profile/3404592-lyle-mckeany/note/c-14991988