Inside the Elon-Substack drama

This week, Substack rolled out Notes, a new way to share short-form content on the platform to help drive discovery.

Not the quiet product launch they were expecting!

Elon dubbed it ‘the Twitter clone,’ which they deny – and apparently began to restrict promo and visibility for tweets with links to Substack posts (The Verge).

So much for Twitter being the platform of free speech.

How bizarre to block links to ‘competitors’. He’s cutting off his friends and allies publishing on the platform. How are writers/journos supposed to market their work?

“Twitter Files” journalist Matt Taibbi said he’s leaving the platform after Elon’s latest changes have made it ‘unusable’ for him. NPR has also quit over the government-funded label.

It doesn’t spread goodwill towards Twitter or make you inclined to pay for it, even with Creators Subscriptions to earn income from writing. They shut down Revue!  

Political battles and, once again, writers take the hit. It’s also backfired and given a tiny product launch full-scale media coverage. It’s not often we see a product story hit the headlines.

Shakespearian shenanigans! The ‘battle of the bros’ – Elon Vs Matt, Hamish and Chris 😉

Check out this interview with Kara Swisher (New York Magazine). No names mentioned, but Kara doesn’t shy away.

Chris and Hamish handled themselves well; you can read between the lines. They also discuss the challenging business model of newsletters. 

I am surprised Substack has gone into the social space, but I can see the logic. They are building “a subscription network”, and this will reduce their reliance on other platforms.

But building an ecosystem around social media is very different to running a paid newsletter – and content moderation is a big job.

I published my first note last night. It looks like Twitter, but doesn’t feel like it… much calmer, with no ads and a hospitable welcome from the team, appreciated. Less friction – you can subscribe directly from a note.

Substack is positioning Notes as a tool to help writers more easily get subscribers. It’s early days, so let’s see. Not keen to spend more time online, but if it’s fun to use and helps get more eyeballs on your work, all well and good.

Yet another reminder about the importance of owning your list and not building your biz on rented land.

I’ve redirected my Substack URL to my website, which will hopefully get around any Twitter nonsense.

Well, at least we’re not bored!!

Nika 🙂

The Shift Hot 5 🔥    

The 2023 Unsung Content Entrepreneurs. Usually, the 1% making the big bucks get all the attention. Great to see The Tilt spotlighting ‘middle-class’ creators who are making money from their content biz. A diverse and inspiring list!

Google’s latest update evaluates product reviews about services, media, and other things – articles, blog posts, pages. Worth keeping an eye on if you publish reviews beyond product reviews on your site.

Lofi Girl’s universe grows! French YouTube channel and music label Lofi Girl released a 24/7 livestream featuring Lofi Boy – a new character. Official title: “Synthwave – beats to chill/game to”. A new realm of retro-futuristic sounds to work to!

Is there life after influencing? Internet personality Lee From America wanted to see what life was like as plain old Lee Tilghman. How easy is it to leave lucrative brand partnerships and high follower counts behind? NYT profiles her move from TikTok creator to corporate (got round the paywall on Reddit).

Lee’s new creative outlet is a Substack called ‘Offline Time’ – interesting comment about having to take the app off her phone: “Oh god, this is becoming a social media app”… 🤦🏻‍♀️

Bionic Reading – become a super reader. Oh, to read a book a day again! Shallow forms of reading can dominate the internet. Read faster and retain info better. A typographical trick that works by highlighting certain words in the text – your brain reads faster than your eyes. Free to download.

Thoughts, questions, or topic suggestions? Email or follow me on LinkedIn for content tips.

Have an good story to share or want to nominate a creator? Get featured in a Creator Business Spotlight | Hot 5

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By Nika Talbot

I help badass biz owners get their big ideas noticed through strategic storytelling and kickass content so they can shine online, grow their tribe, and get outside and LIVE LIFE ⚡️

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