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Meet the man bringing community back to social media

Matthew Peltier’s Community is a compelling startup devoted to creating a direct line of communication between stars and fans via texting.

Meet the man bringing community back to social media
[Illustration: Peter Oumanski]

The rise of social media upended the entertainment industry, providing an instant, intimate conduit for fans to interact with their favorite celebrities and influencers. But over the years, the culture on sites such as Facebook and Twitter has changed considerably, becoming louder, more diffuse, and more toxic. Serial entrepreneur Matthew Peltier launched Community in the summer of 2019 as an alternative. Celebrities get a phone number that they can share with their fans, who can then text them with questions or comments, and often receive replies. Peltier has signed up 2,000 celebs, from Kerry Washington (who interacts frequently with fans) to comedian Jim Gaffigan (who has invited his community to watch a live stream of his family dinners) to popular physician David Agus (who interprets new COVID-19 news)—all of whom pay a monthly fee based upon the size of their audience. Collectively, the celebs and their fans currently exchange 2 million texts daily. Peltier says that Community has seen marked growth since the quarantine took hold in the spring. “Everything’s shut down, so there’s this real need, within any industry, to build moments with your audience.” Fans open 90% of texts within three minutes.

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About the author

KC covers entertainment and pop culture for Fast Company. Previously, KC was part of the Emmy Award-winning team at "Good Morning America," where he was the social media producer.

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