2023, We Hardly Knew Ye
The most popular 3am Thoughts essays of the past year.
It is not without irony that I realised the first 3am Thoughts essay this year was a meditation on time, before another year melted away in the blink of an eye.
Another irony I couldn’t shake over the past couple of weeks is the number of Christmas songs that sing about “peace on earth” or something similar. Good luck with that.
2023 was also the year that the free speech debate came for Substack, as a response to an Atlantic article where the author managed to dig around the platform long enough to find some far-Right newsletters. I won’t chime in on this, because Elle Griffin, the author of The Elysian, laid out the case for Substack here.
3am Thoughts is a very modest corner of the Substacksphere, sitting at ~1,000 subscribers (you can see the growth curve, below) but with an average open rate of ~62%, which is the part I’m personally grateful for (I’d rather a greater proportion of a smaller number of readers actually read the essays).
Given said modesty, it can be hard to select the “most popular” essays from this year, i.e., some essays get more “likes” but have less total views, and some have the opposite. So, I’ve used a mix of total views, likes, and comments, to select 2023’s most popular.
And while “top 10” is always the default, given there are twelve days between Christmas and the Epiphany, here are the “top 12” from 2023. I’ve omitted any of the Israel-Palestine series given that this is a still a work in progress.
As a modest corner of the Substacksphere, if you know of anyone who you think would enjoy 3am Thoughts essays, I would be very grateful if you would share any of the below, and recommend they subscribe, too.
Wishing you a great year ahead in 2024.