Subscriptions must be the future

This is one of those predictions I make that I absolutely believe in but also kind of doubt, because they fit so well with how I consume media.

Matthew Inman, the artist behind “The Oatmeal“, “Exploding Kittens“, and much more, recently published a comic about reaching his readership through social media platforms.

The comic is not unlike the Dave Kellett comic from 6 years agowhy facebook is a doughnut-stealing mobster that i hatehatehate“, except Kellett’s brilliant solution back then was to follow him on Twitter.

I don’t think I have to mention that that is probably not a good long term strategy either.

Inman’s solution is better; subscriptions.

The problem of the social media platforms is that you rely on them to actually deliver your content to your followers. Facebook will only deliver to a fraction of your followers and you can increase that fraction by paying them. Twitter, so far, allows for a chronological view which should – barring deboosts, suspensions, etc. – deliver your content, but they are planning to do away with the chronological view and will therefore not be any better.

Other social media platforms may work, for now.

Inman’s suggestion is to subscribe to an email newsletter, which he then controls. This is also the model that Substack is using and I see more and more content creators go that way; taking back control with distribution.

Of course, this was actually something that was already solved with RSS. Too bad Google’s de facto monopoly, manipulation of the standards and subsequent deprecation of Google Reader destroyed much of RSS market. But I still use RSS and you can subscribe to both Inman’s posts by RSS, Kellett’s posts by RSS, and of course my posts by RSS.

The difference is that emails are pushed by the content creators while RSS feeds are pulled by the content consumers. Other than that, the control stays with the creators.















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