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How to let your audience know if you're going dark

There’s a big difference to readers between an announced interruption and an abrupt period of silence. Below are a handful of recommended methods that Subtext hosts have used to let their readers know if they’ll be taking a short break.

Why: Every now and then, you might find yourself needing to take a little break from Subtext. Not only is going radio silent for a brief period of time perfectly okay, it can even strengthen the relationship with your subscribers. Taking some time off reminds your readers that there’s a human on the other end of the text messages they’re receiving. Taking the occasional hiatus reminds subscribers of the level of access they’re getting through Subtext, that they’re receiving real-time texts from real-life people. And sometimes, those people take breaks. Let the audience know and when you return, make sure to acknowledge the absence and remind them who is sending them texts.


Joe Eskenazi, a San Francisco-based political reporter for Mission Local, let readers know he would be taking a day off to celebrate Yom Kippur with his family.

Whether it’s a wedding, vacation, the birth of a child or a surprise birthday gift, feel free to share your news with your subscribers and then enjoy whatever good fortune it is that you’re celebrating. Below is an example from USA Today’s Kelly Lawler of how that text could look.

After working on a developing story around the clock, Chad felt exhausted and admitted to readers that he needed to turn his phone off and recharge. If that’s ever the case, let your readers know and then take the time off that you need.

Despite the best planning in the world, it’s likely that at some point you’ll simply be too busy to use Subtext, and your feed might go quiet for a day or two. When this happens, there’s no need to worry or over-explain, but it will help regain readers’ trust if you acknowledge the hiatus. Below is a great example, from The Tennessean’s Cindy Watts, of how to let readers know that you’re back.