(Because this post is about cohost, I typed it up there; here’s the link to it on cohost.)

I’ve been signed up for cohost for about four weeks now; what’s surprised me the most is how unlike Twitter it feels. And I don’t mean that in terms of me following a much smaller number of people, and those people generally not posting much: I mean that my feed looks completely different.

For example, people will write long posts, posts that, to me, fit in the category of “blog post”. (Like this one; I am planning to copy it to my blog as well, though I’m writing it using the cohost tools.) Twitter doesn’t allow you to do that in a single post (unless you screenshot text); and of course people do twitter threads instead, but visually that looks like a lot of small things instead of one big thing. People do post lots of pictures both on cohost and on Twitter, but on cohost the pictures take up more vertical space than they do on Twitter, generally. And cohost handles retweets quite differently from Twitter: the retweeted post is there in full (so it takes up more space), and cohost doesn’t seem to do the same sort of retweet deduplication that Twitter does, so I’ll see the same post taking up a bunch of space on cohost. So the upshot is that the average post on cohost takes up a much larger portion of my screen than a tweet on Twitter is allowed to at all, and the sizes of posts are much more varied on cohost than on Twitter.

Also, cohost doesn’t infinite scroll, and there’s no iOS app. So I have to scroll down and click the next page button (possibly more than once) to get to where I last was; right now, the traffic is low, but if I were following more people on cohost and they were posting more, then it would take a noticeable amount of time for me to get back to my previous location.

So, if my current cohost experience holds, it feels to me like cohost won’t work for one of the things that I like most about Twitter: that I can reliably see little snippets that my friends post about what they’re thinking / doing. I’m afraid that those small messages would get drowned out by the large physical size of most of the posts here, possibly to the extent that I’d even inadvertently miss them entirely while scrolling; and also I will probably miss them because of the difficulty of getting to my last scroll position. And even if I didn’t end up missing them, they would feel out of place. (Unless, of course, a lot more people decide to use cohost like Twitter, which is entirely possible!) (And yes, I know that the Twitter web site and official app love using an algorithmic timeline; my view of what Twitter is is very much mediated by the experience of old Twitter or of Twitter as viewed through third-party clients.)

This feels like a solvable problem, if the cohost folks actually see it as a problem: they could show smaller snippets of blog-like posts, they could shrink image previews, they could change the way they handle retweets, and that would not only make the physical size of posts be more homogeneous, it would mean that it would be much more reasonable, I think, to have 100 posts on a page, making the scroll position issue more tractable.

Having said that, there’s also no reason why cohost should be like Twitter in that way – cohost can be its own thing, and differences are awesome! (E.g. for all I know what I’m proposing would really mess with cohost’s desire to let people do custom CSS for their posts.) Or, to the extent that cohost is like some other site, maybe it’s more like Tumblr than it is like Twitter; that’s fine too.

It does feel weird to me that cohost seems to encourage blog-like behavior but doesn’t provide ways to let other people reliably read those blog posts, either by having them show up in cohost itself in a way that’s hard to miss or by providing RSS feeds. (Which I don’t think cohost has, I looked through the head portion of the HTML of a random user’s page here and I didn’t see any RSS link.)

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