Almost two years ago, Dustin Curtis
launched Svbtle, a blogging platform that caused
a bit of a stir for its exclusive nature. The platform seems to have been a success (I've been a subscriber of Svbtle's Featured posts for awhile now), despite the exclusivity.
Curtis apparently feels it's time to take Svbtle to a new level. In that spirit, he's opened the platform to everyone. Initially, I didn't think of this as very noteworthy. After all, Svbtle's community blogging platform has largely been overshadowed by Medium, and rightfully so- Medium is a wonderful platform.
Then I read Dustin's post, and opened the dashboard. I came away with the distinct impression that Svbtle can provide a very valuable and unique writing experience.
Some platforms simply have an awful writing experience. The design is confusing, cluttered, or simply ugly. Medium, on the other hand, provides a gorgeous experience.
That's not always a good thing.
Publishing a piece on Medium feels very finished, almost professional. There's a bit of pressure that comes with the feel of writing on a beautiful platform, as if the ideas must be fully fleshed out, must be great, must be worthy. It's a bit like writing in a $40 notebook.
Svbtle, on the other hand, feels clean and uncluttered, but it also feels a bit more inviting, especially to unfinished thoughts. That mood is intentional, as Curtis explains:
It works like your brain. Svbtle’s dashboard is designed to work the same way your brain works. It encourages you to dump ideas, links, and thoughts into a flow of draft posts, and then makes it easy to slowly sculpt those ideas into publishable articles. It just feels natural.
This feels more like grabbing a dollar notebook from the corner store than defacing a pristine notebook. That's not to say the interface feels cheap; it's simply sparse, as if waiting for you to fill it in. The result is a platform that encourages more writing-as-thinking than polished essays. That setting, ironically, would probably appeal to a much wider audience than most other platforms (not everyone is a writer, after all). Even those of us who do write for a living could certainly benefit from treating blogging more like a conversation than a performance. I'm not sure if Svbtle will ultimately widen blogging's audience, or if it will take some of the formal edge off of it, but if that is the goal, it seems built from the ground up to do just that.