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Let’s have a group chat (now on the web)
Building a thriving subscriber community just got easier. Substack Chat now supports reader participation and is available on the web.
Today, writers can invite their subscribers, free or paid, to start chat threads, and host chats on the web in addition to in the Substack mobile apps. This update makes it easier to build a community around your publication.
In the Substack iOS and Android apps, there’s a tab that has two overlapping speech bubbles as its icon. In that tab, writers have been having conversations with their subscribers.started a chat with her paid subscribers for the Oscars. Hot takes flowed. of Webworm shared a photo of a dog in front of a house and said to his subscribers: “it’s time for the last animal photo you took on your phone.” Animal photos came pouring in. from The Isolation Journals shared photos of her first plane trip since her second bone marrow transplant and asked subscribers to share their small joys from the week. Joys abounded.
Chat has emerged as a compelling way for Substack writers to bring their community to life and deepen relationships with their subscribers. It’s also just fun. Although it has been only four months since we launched Chat, the numbers are beginning to tell the story of its power: writers who have hosted two or more chats on Substack are earning 19% more annual revenue than those who have not. And it’s about to get much better.
Today we’re excited to announce two important advances for Substack Chat.
At the same time, we’re expanding who can start new conversations in a Substack. Publishers can now choose to give all subscribers, only paid subscribers, or only founding members the power to start a chat. (See below for instructions.)
These new features make it possible for more people to participate in chats, from any device, while giving subscribers a more active role in the community conversations. It’s also a boon for those of us who prefer to type on a keyboard instead of a touchscreen.
Chat turns a Substack from a broadcast medium into a place to hang out with the people who share your intellectual interests. So let’s start a conversation!
How to use web Chat
How to empower subscribers to start chats
Go to your Chat settings.
Select which subscribers can start threads.
Let your subscribers know.
This is the most important step! Make a chat and let them know via a post. Learn more.
Keep the conversation going.
Writers set the topic and the tone for discussions. Model the types of conversation you want to happen in Chat by starting your own chat threads regularly. Learn more.
Novelist and essayistshared a utopian reading list and a subscriber invited others to a reading group. takes subscribers deeper into movies in his Substack, . Inspired by one another, subscribers go through their DVD archives.
Subscribers to's turn to one another for advice on what race to run next.
A special thank-you to the writers who helped us build subscriber participation in Chat:, , , , , , , , , , and Check out their chats to get inspired by what’s possible with reader participation.
Every conversation starts with an invitation. Invite your subscribers to start a chat today.