Substack launches Chat service to better connect writers with readers

Substack has launched Substack Chat, a new discussions feature designed to provide content creators with the means to build up their own online communities outside of social media.

Substack Chat allows writers, podcasters, and other creators to host conversations with their audiences, setting a topic for discussion without needing to hack together integrations with services such as Discord, Telegram, or Slack. Chat can be made available for all subscribers or restricted to those that pay for your content.

“Chat is a community space reimagined specifically for writers and creators — it’s like having your own private social network where you make the rules,” Substack said in a post announcing the feature. Substack has been openly trying to capitalize on Twitter users leaving the platform since Elon Musk took up the reins as chief Twit. While other platforms haven’t been quite as brazen, Twitter alternatives are nevertheless seeing an influx of new users in recent weeks, with Mastodon reporting that 199,430 people had joined the platform since Twitter changed ownership.

Endorsements from creators who are already using the Chat feature also appear motivated by the Twitter acquisition. “Elon Musk isn’t the only guy who can run a Social Media company,” says sports journalist Joe Posnanski, a quote that was pulled from his JoeBlogs subscriber chat announcement.

Substack Chat is currently only available via the iOS app, though the company says the feature is rolling out gradually with both Web and Android to follow.