This Stack's For You, Elon
Meta is your enemy; not Substack
Mike Solana over at Pirate Wires has a great post up about Meta’s new challenge to Twitter that I highly encourage everyone to read.
The part that stood out to me most was Solana’s point that Substack is actually Elon Musk and Twitter’s natural ally in that they both have the same enemies.
Until yesterday, the only apolitical Twitter clone of note, and our exception that proves the rule — that this is all just war for power — was Substack’s Notes, the introduction of which led to Elon’s most dramatic and unfortunate overreaction to date. In stripping Substack of distribution on Twitter, Twitter nuked the only real long-form alternative publishing platform in the media ecosystem, inadvertently benefiting every one of the company’s full-time assailants from the Washington Post and the New York Times to the sinking ships of Buzzfeed News and Vice (links from which are all still amplified over Substack), while significantly damaging the legacy media’s only natural critics, and Elon’s most natural allies. At the time of the Substack nuke, I warned of the greater threat, and the more ambitious challenge, in Meta. Twitter’s potential was not the upper bounds of a media company like the New York Times ($6.5B at the time of my writing), but of a social media company like Meta ($753B at the time of my writing, after a peak of over $1 trillion). Elon’s competition wasn’t Chris Best, I wrote, it could only be Mark Zuckerberg.
I pointed out in my last post about Threads how Musk flipped out at journalist Matt Taibbi and claimed that Substack was trying to “kill Twitter” by introducing the Notes feature and he then proceeded to block Substack content from appearing on Twitter and blocked Substack from using Twitter’s API. Substack itself is, of course, no threat to Twitter whatsoever being a long-form newsletter medium compared to Twitter’s short-form content, let alone the Notes feature which is more or less just an internal “twitter” for people who already use Substack for its newsletter capabilities. I personally hope that the Notes feature can become more independent from the newsletter feature, but that’s neither here nor there and not how it exists at present. So the idea that Substack is going to or even wants to kill Twitter seems laughable, but Mark Zuckerberg has openly said that his goal is for Threads to replace Twitter.
This is one of the areas where Elon Musk needs to admit that he made a mistake and forge a partnership with Substack. Unlike Solana, I don’t even want to entertain the idea of Twitter creating its own Substack, which would pull Twitter’s attention away from what it does best, and even less so the idea of Twitter acquiring Substack which could only diminish Substack the way that Google’s acquisition of YouTube or Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram diminished those platforms. No, I believe an independent Substack doing what it does best in partnership with Twitter, and throw in Rumble for good measure, taking on the corporate media and their shills at Meta and Google is the best possible situation for all of us.
If Musk were to change his mind and allow Substack’s content back onto Twitter, I would even be willing to create a new Twitter profile in support of a freer internet. While I don’t believe that Musk’s commitment to freedom goes far enough, I know that he’s better than Mark Zuckerberg and the people promoting Threads. An internet where Threads overtakes Twitter is a worse internet.