The Rest Room Community Hub
Introducing our own private social network!
If you’ve been reading this newsletter for a while, you’ll know that a big reason why I was so excited to move my writing and podcast over to Substack (and away from social media) was because I was sick of feeling like I needed to feed an algorithm. Scrolling endlessly, becoming more reactive and more disillusioned as the years went by.
And as much as I could write essay after essay about the ways in which I feel like social media can be…unhelpful…in the chronic illness space, it’s impossible to deny its benefits: community, connection, research, understanding, friendship (to name just a few). And so when you move away from social media into a your own little digital ecosystem, how can you take the best of those things and bring them into a new space?
I often say that the stuff I make is always inspired by the question: “what would have helped me when I first got diagnosed?” and finding the right community for me (we are, after all, different) would been extremely important.
It has been surprising (I didn’t think anyone would join in!) and delightful to see the wonderful conversations that have been happening since I launched community threads. And I’m so grateful to all of you who have participated and shared your time, experiences and compassion so generously.
It’s the type of online community I want to be a part of - something I think would have benefitted me when I was younger and found myself in some horrible Facebook groups that made me believe my life was absolutely over.
Which is why I’m very excited to announce that Substack has just launched a new feature called Chat.
As Suleika from The Isolation Journals, who had the opportunity to beta test Chat, explains, “it’s a private space in the Substack app to have conversations with me and each other. Think of it as a giant group chat. From the very beginning, I’ve wanted a private place, free of ads and algorithms, where our community could connect and share ideas, where conversation is easy but also meaningful.”
And that’s exactly what I want too. It’s like…we’re all hanging out in The Rest Room - but like…an English chilled out resting room…and not an American loo.
Chats will be more casual, more personal than our monthly conversation threads, which I will keep making available to all subscribers of The Rest Room. We have a great one coming up on the 15th November with my friends over at Listening Books who will be bibliotherapy-ing you!
Since Chat is a new feature, there’s a lot of scope for experimentation. I will be posting in there at least twice a week - discussion prompts (I have lots of ideas for this), photos, updates of my own as I try to formulate some of my more personal essays, Q&As, and more. I’ll also use this as a space to better understand how I can make content that will best help you.
I’m making Chat a new perk for paid subscribers to The Rest Room, so if you’d like to join us please consider…
If you’d like to join us…
Download the app for free by clicking this link or the button below. Chat is only on iOS for now, but chat is coming to the Android app soon.
Open the app and tap the Chat icon. It looks like two bubbles in the bottom bar, and you’ll see a row for my chat inside.