users now have another way to interact with their favorite writers, podcasters and video makers. The platform now has a chat feature, where creators can hang out with their subscribers and perhaps forge deeper links with their communities. “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,” in a clear .
The feature is only available through for now. You won’t be able to chat with your favorite Substack writers and podcasters on the web or Android just yet, but chat will eventually be available there.
The company noted that creators can decide the tone and topic of . They can switch the chat function off and reactivate it whenever they like, and they can decide whether to open it up to everyone or only paid subscribers.
Today we are launching Chat, a new space for writers and creators to host conversations with their subscribers.
— Substack (@SubstackInc) November 3, 2022
The first time that a creator starts a chat, will go out to all of their subscribers. That seems a little spammy, but at least it’s a one-time thing. After that, readers will be alerted to a new chat thread only if they have push notifications switched on.
Creators have a few moderation options, . They can turn off replies in a chat thread, delete replies and stop subscribers from posting images (readers can flag and hide explicit images as well). Creators can also ban users from chat threads and comments. However, it doesn’t seem that there’s a way for a writer to appoint trusted moderators to handle that stuff on their behalf for the time being.
Substack pointed out that many newsletter writers have taken to the likes of , and to chat with their subscribers. Its developers have been working with a group of writers over the last few months to simplify things with an in-house chat option. However, writers may not be willing to give up on external platforms until Substack has more robust chat moderation options. This marks just the beginning of the chat feature and other social functions on the platform, as Substack says more updates are on the way.
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