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Home Technology Substack targets Twitter with launch of discussions feature, Substack Chat • TechCrunch

Substack targets Twitter with launch of discussions feature, Substack Chat • TechCrunch

One other firm hoping to capitalize on Twitter’s upheaval within the wake of Elon Musk’s takeover is the publication platform Substack. The corporate has openly targeted Twitter’s user base over the previous few days and has now thrown its hat into the ring as a extra direct competitor with the launch of Substack Chat. The brand new characteristic permits Substack writers to speak immediately with their most avid and constant readers proper within the Substack cellular app.

With Chat, Substack shouldn’t be solely taking over Twitter, the place many back-and-forth threaded discussions between writers and readers already happen, but additionally different on-line communities the place writers have been constructing out networks of their very own, like Discord, Slack and Telegram.

The corporate says the brand new Chat characteristic will remove the necessity for its writers to “frankenstein collectively totally different software program instruments and cross-reference subscriber lists,” it explains in its announcement.

Picture Credit: Substack

Chat shouldn’t be a Twitter clone by any means — although there’s overlap with how writers have used Twitter previously.

For starters, the Chat characteristic will probably be opt-in, that means not each publication could have chats enabled presently. Publications will have to first enable the feature on their Settings web page or by merely beginning a brand new thread within the Substack app. Already, Substack says writers, together with sports activities journalist Joe Posnanski, popular culture author Hunter Harris, and comics writers 3 Worlds / 3 Moons, have launched chats on the service.

In some instances, these chats have been used to debate reside occasions — like Recreation 3 of the World Collection — or they’ve been used rather than e-mail or different methods writers could have chosen to work together with their readers previously. Readers can react to posts utilizing emojis and add their very own feedback within the chat threads.

The characteristic may gain advantage those that spend loads of time studying on Substack or those that wish to extra carefully community with fellow creators or readers. Nevertheless, it isn’t actually a direct substitute for tweeting extra publicly because it lacks Twitter’s attain.

Plus, the person interface is designed extra like a conventional chat app — not a timeline you scroll.

Nonetheless, the launch may relocate among the discussions that will have usually taken place on Twitter to a extra non-public networking house. Mixed with the continued exodus to alternative social networks like Mastodon, and later maybe, Bluesky, Twitter could lose entry to among the conversations that it could have in any other case hosted.

Picture Credit: Substack

Chat’s launch isn’t the one manner Substack has tried to capitalize on the Twitter chaos in latest days. It additionally took a extra direct shot at Twitter, when it warned in a post on October 31 that “Twitter is altering, and it’s powerful to foretell what may be subsequent.” The publish had inspired creators of all types to port their Twitter follower base to Substack, given the present uncertainty round Twitter’s future.

The launch of Chat arrives at a time when there’s been a broader shift to extra private and personal social networks, which we’ve seen with the rise of friends-only apps like BeReal in addition to the launch of private discussion groups on WhatsApp, called Communities.

Substack Chat additionally displays Substack’s bigger objective of turning into a extra non-public social community itself. The corporate alludes to its plan, writing in its publish that “these are simply the early days for Chat and all of Substack’s social options,” and including there’s “extra to come back” sooner or later.

Given the corporate’s propensity to host controversial writers and the in any other case deplatformed, nonetheless, this route may see it wading even deeper into the culture wars surrounding what constitutes free speech — an space Musk’s Twitter can be having to grapple with. The extra Substack associates its model with the extra excessive private manufacturers of divisive media personalities, the much less it is going to be capable of appeal to the bigger (and sometimes extra reasonable) readers that represent the majority of any community’s person base. That would restrict Substack’s capacity to go mainstream, regardless of how intelligent its social options could also be.

Substack Chat is simply out there within the Substack iOS app at launch however will come to Android quickly, the corporate says. [Update: the Android version went live after publication, but isn’t yet allowing users to sign up.].

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