there's a new host on the block
It is a cohost
I am there. You can find me here -> https://cohost.org/bluelander
However, even once I get posting privileges, I can't see myself using it that much, at least in its current form.
I think the team seems cool as heck, and their goals are very much aligned with my own, but I doubt I'll be able to find a home there the same way I have on the fediverse. That's not to say I think the fediverse is better, or that cohost is committing dire internet crimes for not being federated or open-source (seriously, what the fuck is wrong with people,) it just doesn't align with the kind of internet experience I'm most comfy with.
I signed up for tumblr at around the same time I signed up for twitter, but I ended up using the former a fraction of a percent as much as I did twitter. There was nothing wrong with it, at least not inherently, it just didn't click with me the same way twitter did. Feeling like I should come up with a title and tags and having a lot of control over how everything looked, well, a lot of that stuff was the reason I stopped using livejournal. Twitter was the low-friction experience I was looking for in a social media platform at the time. And still am, I guess. If I want all the bells and whistles, I'll make a blog. Hey, I already did!
Also, I found the culture of boosting posts around and adding commentary on top of commentary very confusing; I could never tell who actually said what originally. Twitter hell threads are their own kind of nightmare, but at least I can pretty easily figure out who said what when.
This isn't to say that cohost will have all the same problems for me as tumblr, but it's clearly taking a lot of cues from them, and for the people who want a tumblr-like posting experience, that's awesome. I hope it does well.
It's hard to tell exactly how functional cohost will be for me until I'm able to post and really dig into all the options, but it already feels like I'm going to have a hard time curating my experience. Everything is chronological, which is good, and it doesn't shove suggestions in my face, and it is far and away a better experience already than any of the corporate social media platforms, but I've been spoiled by fedi's keyword muting. I'm only following a handful of people, and I'm already getting annoyed seeing posts I don't want to see boosted into my timeline over and over.
There's also the media issue; cohost is definitely going for a media-rich experience, and that's awesome, I love all the little CSS gizmos and gadgets people are making, but it totally precludes me from using it on my phone at work, where I spend the bulk of my time. I can hang out on fedi because I use Subway Tooter, on which I set the options to unobtrusively hide all media, but the client also displays image descriptions inline. That's crucial. Most of the time, when a post includes an image, I can get a sense of what the post is about without needing to risk blowing a big chunk of data downloading what might be a gigantic uncompressed image. Cohost doesn't have any of that; as far as I can tell, it doesn't even have image descriptions. If I used cohost the same way I use fedi, I'd burn through all my data even faster than a rogue RSS client.
They might add all this stuff eventually, they might not, but either way I'm comfortable enough in my little fedi niche that it still might not be enough to get me to use it regularly. And that's fine. It doesn't have to be for me. The team seems like they really want to make something
Actually Good and not just sell it once they get a critical mass of users, so even if it is centralized and closed-source I support their project 100%, because anything with a chance of getting people off twitter and facebook is a net good for humanity.
And hey, maybe there's a chance that people will actually stick around on a platform where they're not forced to be exposed to linux bros!
I say this sincerely, and as someone who appreciates and develops open source software: one advantage to making your social media platform closed source is that it's not immediately overrun with people posting about free open source software.
It honestly might be a better move to start closed source, grow your user base, and then make it open source so the FLOSS nerds you attract can't overwhelm the platform
So yeah, follow me if you want, I don't expect I'll be using it much, but maybe they'll surprise me. Either way, I'll be keeping an eye on it and hope they build something cool 🦝