Just as there is “podcast voice”—that inquisitive, staccato bedtime-story cadence—there is Substack tone, a semi-professional quality suited to mass e-mail. Some newsletters convey intimacy, in the language of psychotherapy and self-help, but their style is more polished and structured than that of the looser, rangier blogs of the early two-thousands. “Maybe Baby,” for all its vulnerability, is also aware of itself as a commodity, dialled in to its audience. Still, it’s nice, from time to time, to receive a chatty, engaging, personable e-mail from someone who doesn’t expect a response.
I think Anna hints at something here that I’ve struggled to describe, the way that blogs were somewhat hidden and when you discovered them it was like finding a treasure map; something intentionally obscured from view. Or rather, they felt like they were written for a much smaller number of people and they weren’t necessarily designed to be popular.
Either way, Anna’s piece is annoyingly good.