With Discord shuttering its creator efforts and Twitter becoming…well…that, the number of digital spaces where creators and their fans can interact has shrunk a bit.
But now Patreon is joining the mix: It’s launching chat rooms where members of a creator’s community can talk to one another and to the creator.
Creators make and manage the chat rooms and can customize them by topic, name, and member tier. Creators and patrons are able to text chat and send photos, and creators will also be able to share previews of Patreon posts directly within the chats. Moderation tools seem sparse for now, but Patreon does say members of chats can flag messages, and those messages will be sent to creators for review.
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Patreon is also introducing member profiles. They’re like Discord’s server profiles, and let people customize how they show up in each individual community they’re part of. They can have a separate name, photo, and bio for each creator’s community, and Patreon says that in the future, they’ll also–again, like on Discord–be able to display their roles within the community and any community contributions.
“It’s harder than ever to be a fan in a world where algorithms prioritize consumption over connection,” Patreon said in a company blog post. “There’s no surefire way to stay in touch with the creators you care about and find the work that moves you, which means that the communities built around these creators may be lost altogether.”
Rachel Maksy, a YouTuber who has ~6,440 patrons on Patreon, said the new feature is like “a little group chat for my community to talk about the random things that interest us, or to bounce project ideas off.”
“There’s something so specific and special about having that real-time aspect to it and knowing that we’re all in the same space together, rather than leaving a comment on a post after the fact,” she added. “It just feels like a little hang-out for friends and I hope it leads to friendships within the community! How wholesome would that be?!”
Patreon says it’s still in the early days of developing community features. Chats start rolling out today to all creators, but they’re considered to be in early testing, “so if you don’t see chats just yet, you’ll start seeing them in your communities in the coming months.”