Au revoir social media

I'm spending less and less time on social media but I’ll be right here every week!

I feel overwhelmed by social media and this has really surprised me. I generally feel good about my tech hygiene: I take long breaks, I don’t feel chained to my devices, I am thoughtful about what I consume and I am pretty good about remembering that social media posts are not the full story about what’s actually happening in anyone’s life. Social media doesn’t actually make me feel bad about myself like is increasingly the case for a lot of people and yet anytime I take an extended break, it becomes more and more tempting to stay off forever.

I can barely keep up with the emails and text messages I get everyday. And now every social app has its own damn messaging feature. There are simply too many ways to get in touch. Too many damn inboxes. Direct messages. Private messages. Primary inbox vs General inbox. And of course we are not even agreed on what the intended use of each of these inboxes really is. Personally, I think instagram DM is not a good place to send a work request and sliding into my Twitter DMs to pitch your startup is a boner killer but some people say my rules are too rigid.

Lord, release us from the shackles of the many inboxes.

Big Tech is churning out new app features at a pace that doesn’t agree with my anxiety or my boundaries. I am not one for nostalgia and don’t believe in the “good old days” of anything but I find myself really longing for the heyday of blogging, that wild period of time between roughly 2005 and 2013 when my internet at least felt slower, less of a weaponized AI machine and… just more manageable. Before all the websites became apps on a device that fits in my pocket and follows me everywhere.

What I’m saying is blogs and email are more my speed so that’s the spirit in which I am writing this newsletter. Slowly and deliberately. Not in reaction to the hot take of the day and only guided by curiosity.

What am I signing up for?

Wow you’re in for a real treat. This newsletter will feature thoughtful cultural commentary as well as my observations on politics, tech, capitalism, skincare, scams…basically anything that delights or infuriates me. There will be book recommendations because I love books and because books are the answer to rampant 21st century charlatanism. There will also be occasional, tasteful product recommendations because I buy a lot of things and I have strong opinions about anything I spend my money on.

You’ll find me in your inbox twice a week. Every Saturday, you can expect links to articles, videos and/or memes I find thought-provoking or just simply funny. On Wednesdays, I’m doing things a bit differently so you will either get a discussion thread, a specific recommendation or Savoir-Faire et Savoir-Vivre, my monthly advice column about trying to live well.

In 2021, I will be adding an audio component but more about that in 2021. Let’s try to survive 2020 first.

How much does it cost?

Good question! It’s free. Yes, free.99! Anyone who knows me knows that I am really vocal about paying people and that I love money. So why is it free? One answer is just privilege. I want to focus on writing and growing this newsletter and I can afford to not charge for it. Another answer is that I am genuinely curious how many people would pay for something they can get for free and I also wonder if there are enough generous readers to keep the newsletter free for everyone? So consider this an experiment. It might fail spectacularly. But who knows?

If you would like to support my work and you can afford it, there are 3 options available to you: you can chip in $7/month or $70/year if you want a discount. If you are very rich and $70 doesn’t break the bank for you, you have the option of being a Crème de la Crème sugar zaddy for an amount of your choosing. The suggested amount is 200 American Dollars but you can pay any amount over $70.

Your money makes it possible for me to do my best work every single week. It pays for all the hours I spend writing, researching, curating and thinking. It also pays for the hours I spend on the phone or hunched over my computer doing admin. It means I can start dreaming about hiring an editor and justify the hours I will spend getting the podcast off the ground next year. Your money helps offset my ridiculously expensive health insurance.

More importantly, your support also means that many more people get to read this for free every week. That is very kind and generous. You’re the real crème de la crème around here. I do not take it for granted that anyone is willing to spend even a penny in a pandemic so thank you for even considering it.

If the dollar amount numbers are making your head spin, giving you agita or making you feel some type of way, don’t worry we are going to talk about it! Like I said, this is an experiment and I am choosing to believe that people are good and generous. Ideally, I would like to not run ads or sponsorships in this space and I believe that with your support we can make that happen. Stay tuned because I will periodically be sharing insights. We love transparency about money!

Truth in advertising

Speaking of transparency, let’s talk about a couple of things:

  • Affiliate links: from to time, I will make use of these and will always disclose when that is the case.

  • Free stuff: from time to time, I get sent free stuff but I am committed to only recommending books or products I have purchased with my own money. Sometimes though the free thing is actually very good and I just have to talk about it. Again, I will always disclose when that is the case.

    Thank you to the good people at the FTC.

Terms and Conditions apply

Dear reader, we are most likely strangers to each other. I don’t know the details of your life but I suspect that like me you have your challenges and your life has its ups and downs. This newsletter binds us together for a few fleeting moments every week but all we owe each other on the internet is kindness and respect.

I say all of this because I am enabling comments on these Substack posts and I have to admit, I am a little reticent to do so. My reservation isn’t because I’m a fragile snowflake from the language police who can’t handle dissent or robust conversations (LOL) In fact, I welcome thoughtful critique and disagreement but I do not suffer assholes or any kind of boorish online behavior. You’re in my house now and as the host of this party, I feel a sense of responsibility for your decorum or lack of it.

My only real ask is that when commenting, we would all assume good intentions on the part of everyone else here. Please always ask for clarity on someone's position rather than jumping to conclusions. That’s it. My hope is that we will create a thoughtful and generous community here together.

I need to speak to a manager!

If you find yourself bored or annoyed by this newsletter, please unsubscribe—life is way too short to spend even a moment hate reading anything on Beyoncé’s internet, and complain about it in your groupchats. Honest to god, it is the most satisfying place to complain or shade anyone. If however you find yourself enjoying this newsletter, please forward it to a friend. That is the highest compliment you can give me.

What else? If it’s an absolute emergency and you must get in touch, I guess you can drop me a line || hello@aminatou.com. Real emergencies only!

It really means a lot to me that you’ve read this far. Thanks for coming along.

The first issue of crème de la crème drops tomorrow.

Subscribe and see you tomorrow!