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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at NCSU chapter.

At the beginning of the month, I was listening to my favorite podcast Binchtopia and one of the hosts, Eliza, mentioned trying to move away from the lightning-speed pace of Instagram and X and into a platform called Substack. Substack is a long-form content platform centered around personal and topical essays for influencers, authors, and journalists to be able to publish work on their own terms. There are free and subscription based articles, with most authors choosing to make some content free and others paywalled. I really found myself gravitating towards this long-form thoughtful content, not necessarily as a replacement for the things I’ve been consuming but more so as a supplement to the less thoughtful posts I take in on a platform like Instagram. 

Substack as a platform is revolutionary to journalists and content creators wanting to connect with their readers and form an online community around more autonomous journalism. In 2017, Substack began as an email newsletter to allow readers to subscribe to some of their favorite journalists to get more personal and less editor-regulated content. Shortly after, it became a monetizable platform where authors could paywall their work and make money in addition to the freelance or residential writing that they were already doing. In an interview for the Verge Magazine, CEO, Chris Best, responds to questions about what he feels the role of Substack is for the consumer by stating, “We’re building a new part of the internet that’s based on different laws of physics, like a different business model — subscription instead of ads. It’s a different way of relating to people, where you subscribe directly to the people you trust rather than signing up for the platform as a whole”. This is more recent and reflects how the platform has evolved from its start, claiming a unique role in the world of subscription-based content. 

Personally, I feel that Substack is not a replacement for our favorite social media. However, I think with all of the “brain-rot” content I see on social media, it’s useful to expand what we’re consuming to include researched and intelligent opinions as a way to stay on top of current events. Hardly anybody that I know reads the news. We all get our information from misleading Instagram infographics meant to spike your cortisol and guilt and leave you with nothing but the feeling that you’re not doing enough to stop the atrocities of the world. On Substack, I see a much different and more nuanced atmosphere of people engaging in compassionate conversation about what it means to be a human being in a world filled with a lot of confusion, suffering, and pressure to always perform as the right person for your followers to see. 

On the other hand, there’s other content on the platform to engage with, like Eliza’s own page where she writes personal essays about anything from childhood traumas to body image. In these essays she’s raw, open, and connected with the reader but still professional and eloquent. I find this format a more meaningful version of morbid posts on the internet of people who share their thoughts into the abyss of the internet hoping for a cry back in commiseration. It provides a healthy and well-articulated space for people to share without the dead-endedness posting on the internet typically has to offer. There’s a sense of coming together towards something better and more positive, which I feel is an area that typical social media falls flat in. Some of my favorite creators are Eliza’s profile “words from eliza,” Rayne Fisher-Quann’s infamous “internet princess,” and James Francis’ “NOW IS GOOD.” All three of these creators hold a space for nuance and confusion but also growth and hope, which to me is a necessary balance to the way other social media functions. Overall, I think both have their place and that’s why it’s important to have grace and realize it’s not about giving up your self-deprecating memes that make you feel seen. It’s about expanding the scope of the content you ingest because it really does affect the way you come to view the world around you. 

Marisa is a 3rd-year Psychology major and a Non-Profit studies minor. She hopes to use her degree to work with non-profits around the Triangle in order to improve her community. Currently, she works in an adulthood well-being psychology lab for credit hours on campus analyzing data concerning mental health and cognitive impairments such as Alzheimers disease. Overall, Marisa is trying out multiple things in order to build her experience and find her area of interest. After graduating in 2025, Marisa plans to take a year (or more) off from school before returning to get her Masters degree in Psychology. Marisa has always enjoyed crafting, and has really embraced this side of herself all her life. Currently, her favorite crafts are crochet, knitting on the Sentro machine, collage, jewelry making, and candle making. Oftentimes she finds herself perusing the shelves of Hobby Lobby or Michaels in search of her new craft hyper-fixation. One of her favorite things to do is keep a creative scrapbook to abstractly put together some of her favorite memories and keep track of books and movies she enjoys.