Subtext started with one concept in mind: simplify how people connect with the personalities and topics that impact their lives. We wanted the technology to be ubiquitous. No app downloads. We wanted the conversations to be clear. No clutter. We wanted the access to be direct. No algorithms.
So, we bought a burner phone. We found a journalist, who valued these same principles, wanted to know his audience better and had important information to share. We asked people to sign up for texts about a 2018 special election for San Francisco mayor. Host Joe Eskenazi sent us his texts over Slack. We sent them to his subscribers via the burner, and they responded with questions. We “slacked” Joe the questions for his responses, so on and so on. It worked!
Since then hundreds of thousands of people have signed up to receive texts from their favorite writers, personalities and journalists but our mission hasn’t changed.
Back to the basics
When we were building Subtext we had no idea just how meaningful it would become. Over the years we’ve found that texting pairs friendly, familiar technology with the connective benefits of social networks to create real relationships and healthier communication.
It serves as a critical information source for communities across the U.S. and Canada as they navigate life in a pandemic - offering individuals in their preferred language information on food banks, unemployment and testing. It connects fervent sports fans to their favorite beat reporters, giving them a communication line to talk shop whether games are on or off. It gives creators a sounding board so they can get their fans involved in the creative process. It brings home cooks recipe ideas - and a lifeline to top chefs - while we can’t be inside their restaurants.
Whether you’re a media company that is looking to create deeper engagement with your audience or a creator looking to collaborate with your fans, we believe you should own your relationships not rent them from the social platforms. Your audience want to hear from you, let’s help you reconnect.