When people used the word blog posts to refer to their Substack posts, I found it difficult to understand why. I thought of each post on Substack as an edition or as an issue. When people pushed back to ask me for the difference between a Substack post and a blog post, I felt that it was fundamentally wrong but could not articulate the reasons for the same. I was reading Venkatesh Rao’s blog, Ribbonfarm, where he has articulated the reasons much better than I have.
I don’t agree with all of his points but these are good points to begin thinking about this.
2021 Ribbonfarm Extended Universe Annual Roundup, Venkatesh Rao
- Blogs are ontic media; newsletters are epistemic media
- Blogs encourage you to invent concepts and coin terms; newsletters encourage you to use existing concepts and terms to lay out persuasive arguments
- Blogs are portals; newsletters are flags. Blogs encourage you to build seductive worlds to draw people into. Newsletters mark out territory in existing shared worlds.
- Blogs encourage true essays in the original sense of the term — explorations; newsletters encourage explainers, sermons, speeches
- Blogs are promiscuously and publicly social; newsletters are clannish and tribal
- Blogs are stocks; newsletters are flows
- Blogs invite internal and external hyperlinking; newsletters fight both
- Blogs are relational; newsletters are transactional