The distinction to remember about posts on Substack Notes is that it isn’t a traditional social network, that is, by default it doesn’t expose people’s “notes” to the whole network via some algorithm. The product does two things instead:

  1. The “Subscribed” section only shows notes of people readers have explicitly subscribed to. So subscribers of your Substack blog+newsletter will see your posts in that section.
  2. The “Home” section shows notes from the “Subscribed” section as well as posts that people you follow have re-shared or commented on. So your second degree connections, via your readers, could see your notes there.

It’s essentially centered more around organic growth than an implicitly algorithmic one, and to better engage people who have already subscribed to your Substack rather than explicitly get new ones. Note how there are no hashtags, and how you don’t currently see the likes on a note influencing their position in the Timeline. And yet people, bloggers and journalists most of all, are assuming that Substack Notes is exactly like Twitter.

I’m still figuring out if I like Substack Notes or not but it’s best not to be prejudiced.