Substack has launched Substack Chat, a discussion feature allowing authors to communicate with their audiences directly via a mobile app.
This move positions Substack as a direct competitor to Twitter, which is experiencing turmoil in the wake of Elon Musk’s acquisition and subsequent firing of top executives.
The release of Substack Chat comes just days after the company began openly targeting Twitter users.
New Feature Allows Community Creation Without Outside Platforms
Intended to help creators cultivate a community of support, Substack Chat seeks to fill a need the San Francisco-based company has observed in its offerings.
Substack says in a blog post:
“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.”
The release of this new opt-in feature provides the desired chat functionality without needing third-party platforms. Instead, newsletter creators can initiate discussions from their settings page or iOS app.
Designed more like a traditional chat app rather than a scroll-to-read timeline, it seeks to facilitate natural discussions while keeping authors in control over topics and tone.
Musk’s Twitter Role Causing Uncertainty
Twitter has been a popular social media platform for content creators since its inception, but its recent takeover by Musk has many users uncertain about its future.
The company is allegedly undergoing internal strife as employees brace themselves for widespread layoffs. Additionally, employees claim to have been under additional pressure as Musk pushes the company toward a paid subscription model.
According to an article in The Verge, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO wants to raise the price of Twitter Blue from $4.99 per month to $19.99 per month.
In addition to giving users early access to features, the increased price will also include verification. According to reports, anyone who does not opt into the new subscription version will be stripped of their blue checkmark.
Twitter users and advertisers seem to be taking a wait-and-see approach to the platform, particularly regarding content moderation. This follows a 500% increase in tweets using racial slurs following Musk’s first weekend as the social media site’s owner.
Other Companies Seeking To Compete With Twitter
Twitter founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey has also unveiled plans to compete with Twitter. Bluesky Social, his new company, is currently accepting beta testers for a platform that is intended to give users more control over their algorithm via what it’s calling the AT Protocol.
Mastodon, a decentralized Twitter competitor, saw more than 230,000 new users following the Musk acquisition.
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