Expanding to Substack

A new way to read my writings

July 29, 2023

So after the few years I’ve had this website and however many dozen or hundred articles I’ve put up here I’ve come to realize that I am a writer. I obviously have things to say and all of you who regularly read my stuff obviously think the things I have to say are worthwhile. This website has been a great place for me to host my writings, I have a fairly easy system for posting new articles and I have come to like the look of my site. That being said I have also come to realize that it is not 1999 anymore and this site, and others like it, is not the best way to read stuff on the internet, or at least not the way that the average internet user is used to reading things, so I am making a change.

I have opened up an account on Substack and will be publishing articles there. I have already put my last article up there and I plan to post most (but not all) of my future articles there as well. I also plan on revising some of my older content and posting it there as well so that new readers can have a chance to see some of my best work. Some of those revisions may be combining articles, others may just be some edits made while I proofread (which I really have never done for anything on this site) and other articles may not get changed at all (likely the more recent ones, I’ll probably just copy and paste my Fluoride article right in there within the next week). Ultimately I want my Substack page to be a more modern, accessible and polished version of what I have here.

Now this site will not change, I still plan on posting all of my new articles here and they will probably still end up here first. Really the only things that my Substack will have that you won’t find here will be the ability to comment, a thumbnail for posts (which will likely all be AI generated), and the ability to subscribe via email. If you’ve been reading my stuff here and you like how you’ve been able to do it then you won’t have to change anything to be able to see all of my new ideas, however the revised versions of my older articles will be exclusive to Substack, having two different versions of the same article on the same platform doesn’t make sense to me.

Of course the question you are probably asking is why am I doing this and I’ve already touched on the main reason. I want my content to be more accessible and I also want people to have a legitimate way to subscribe to my content.

In web design classes they teach you to have a mobile first attitude towards development because these days the vast majority of internet traffic comes from smartphones. My site was not designed with that philosophy in mind and I don’t intend to change it. Of course my site still works on a phone but it is not the best, I don’t think I should have to explain why. There are three different ways that you can read a Substack article on your phone and all of them have a good mobile experience.

Subscription is another issue. Of course I know RSS exists, I have it on this website and I’ve written articles about it trying to get people to use it. The problem is normies don’t use RSS, in fact I don’t even use RSS anymore; I’d much rather go to someone’s actual website than read an article on an RSS reader. The only times I have used my RSS reader in the past several months were just to make sure I didn’t break my RSS feed when updating it with a new post (and I haven’t even been doing that lately). Windows is the most popular desktop operating system and the iPhone is the most popular phone in America, good RSS readers don’t exist for either of these operating systems and even if they did subscribing to an RSS feed is not an easy task, people have become accustomed to being able to do that sort of thing with a single click, Substack allows people to do that and for the people who want to subscribe privately RSS is still an option all one has to do is slap a /feed to the end of a person’s Substack homepage URL, I was even kind enough to provide that link to it on my Substack page.

But the biggest appeal of Substack to me is feels familiar and friendly to the average 2023 internet user, it has a modern design, a mobile app, and most importantly an actual user base. There are lots of independent journalists and other prominent figures who use Substack and have already attracted people to the platform. I’ve been familiar with what Substack was just from hearing people bring it up on podcasts and whatnot probably for over a year now but it wasn’t until recently that I decided to look into it and realize that it was for me. If I want new readers I can’t expect to lure them to my corner of the internet rather I need to go to them, Substack may be the best place to read and write on the internet these days because it is where people already are, it is a place that I can send a normie that won’t make them feel out of place.

Of course there are other benefits to Substack as well, the option for monetization is another one. I’ve been considering monetizing my writing for a long time now. Putting ads on this website has always been an option but it just feels wrong on a personal site so I will never do it. I’ve known about Medium for a long time and I’ve considered writing articles there to try to make a few bucks but I never got around to it because I didn’t feel like I could be myself on Medium. In many ways Medium is the YouTube of blogging, your monetary success depends on your ability to get picked up by an algorithm and on a platform where Obama is one of the most popular writers I didn’t feel like I fit in.

Medium is also a paid service, there is a limited number of articles one can read per month for free so if I wanted to bring new people there I wouldn’t only have to convince readers to read my stuff but also to pay for Medium. With Substack I am in complete control of what is and isn’t free regarding my content. I can paywall everything, I can leave everything free, I can paywall the ability to comment I can just paywall a few articles, it is up to me to decide what I think is fair. Currently I don’t have monetization set up at all so everything is free and I don’t think I will ever paywall any content (although that is not a promise) although I may paywall the ability to comment in the future. Within the next week I’ll probably enable a paid subscription option there without any perks, I don’t feel fully comfortable with the idea of pressuring people to pay me for the kind of thing I’ve been doing for free for years now but it is important to remember that there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

Joining Substack now is also an insurance policy for me. It has always been a possibility that someone could take my writing and throw it up there trying to profit off of it pretending to be me. This has of course been unlikely but by establishing my presence there I make it more difficult for bad actors to impersonate me there. That’s a practice we can all adopt, I have advocated for quitting social media but I have come to believe that while we shouldn’t use social media we should all have accounts on the major social media platforms (protected with a good password and two-factor authentication) and follow our close friends and family there. Doing this prevents people who seek to harm you from impersonating you on social media. Once you have everything set up on these platforms you can log out and never touch it again so you aren’t poisoned by the social media mind virus but you need to be aware and in control of who uses your name and face there.

Now I’m getting off on a tangent so I should probably wrap this up. For my regular readers this change will only affect you if you chose to let it affect you, this site isn’t going anywhere so if you’ve enjoyed visiting it please continue to do so but consider subscribing on Substack to support me there. This will always be the home of my writing, not everything here will make it to Substack (for example this article won’t) so don’t think I’m abandoning my little corner of the internet, I’m expanding so I can bring more people to it.