With Chat, Substack is not only taking on Twitter, where many back-and-forth threaded discussions between writers and readers already take place, but also other online communities where writers have been building out networks of their own, like Discord, Slack and Telegram.
The company says the new Chat feature will eliminate the need for its writers to “frankenstein together different software tools and cross-reference subscriber lists,” it explains in its announcement.
Chat is not a Twitter clone by any means — though there is overlap with how writers have used Twitter in the past.
In some cases, these chats have been used to discuss live events — like Game 3 of the World Series — or they’ve been used in place of email or other ways writers may have chosen to interact with their readers in the past. Readers can react to posts using emojis and add their own comments in the chat threads.
The feature could benefit those who spend a lot of time reading on Substack or those who want to more closely network with fellow creators or readers. However, it isn’t really a direct replacement for tweeting more publicly as it lacks Twitter’s reach.
Plus, the user interface is designed more like a traditional chat app — not a timeline you scroll.
Substack Chat also reflects Substack’s larger goal of becoming a more private social network itself. The company alludes to its plan, writing in its post that “these are just the early days for Chat and all of Substack’s social features,” and adding there’s “more to come” in the future.
Substack Chat is only available in the Substack iOS app at launch but will come to Android soon, the company says.
Substack targets Twitter with launch of discussions feature, Substack Chat by Sarah Perez originally published on TechCrunch