Introducing Substack Chat

Your own private social network where you make the rules.

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Today we are launching Chat, a new space for writers and creators to host conversations with their subscribers.

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. Writers set the topic and the tone for every discussion, and can turn the feature on or off at any time.

Download the iOS app

Writers, podcasters, and video-makers can turn on Chat for their publications from within the iOS app. We are rolling this feature out gradually, with Android and web to follow.

Turning on Chat extends the relationships that writers and creators have already developed with subscribers on Substack. Writers can host Chat conversations for all of their subscribers, or just those who pay. 

Why we built Chat

As the quality of writing on Substack has blossomed and comments sections lit up with intelligent discussions, subscriber communities began to take shape. Some enterprising writers have taken matters into their own hands, hacking together integrations with Discord, Slack, and Telegram to cultivate communities of supporters. 

For the last few months, our product teams have been working closely with a small group of writers to address this problem. The result is a simple-to-use space where writers can have more frequent conversations with the people who appreciate their work most. Chat also eliminates the need for writers to frankenstein together different software tools and cross-reference subscriber lists. These are just the early days for Chat and all of Substack’s social features. There’s lots more to come!

How to turn on Chat

If you have an iOS device and would like to turn Chat on for your publication, here’s how to do so: 

  1. Get the Substack iOS app

    Read On Substack in the Substack app
    Available for iOS and Android
  2. Start your first thread

  3. Announce Chat to your readers—the most important step!

  4. Keep the conversation going

If you have questions about Chat, visit our Chat FAQ, check out our getting started guide, or head to the support center.

How writers and creators are using Chat

Here are a few examples of how writers, illustrators, journalist, comics creators and more are using Chat:

This On Substack publication will also be using Chat. Stop by our first thread and say hi:

Have questions about how Chat works? Ask in the comments section of this post and we’ll do our best to answer. You can also head to the support center or visit our Chat FAQ and getting started guide.

Thank you to all of the writers who helped us test and build Chat: Bill Bishop, Wendy MacNaughton, Terrell Johnson, Elle Griffin, Haley Nahman, Marc Stein, Leslie Stephens, Bernard Hickey, Tic Toc Trading, Snowball.xyz, Hunter Harris, Darryl Cooper, 3 Worlds / 3 Moons, Jessica Reed Krauss, and The Isolation Journals. We couldn’t have built Chat without you.