I’ve been exploring cohost.org for a few days now. I made an account months ago (cohost.org/LiteraryWizard), back when the whole Tweluskian debacle began, and didn’t really use it much. Also, Tweluskian is a fun portmanteau of Twitter, Elon, and Musk I made up that feels like it’s probably either memorable or pretty clear about its meaning without attracting weird nerds who wanna defend their billionaire bestie from any kind of rightly earned criticism since even my account attacts them if I type his name into a tweet. Anyway, I wish I had spent more time on cohost, so I’d be more familiar and immersed in the social media platform by now as I’m trying to use it more. It is difficult to figure out how cohost works, as a social media site and media sharing platform, while also monitoring the development of whatever the heck is happening at Twitter.
So far, my experience on cohost has been pleasant. It seems like a fun little place to be. The team is rather small, consisting of three people so far as I can tell, though they recently put out a job post to bring on a fourth person to streamline support stuff. Which means progress is currently on the slower side of things, but the team provides excellent feedback about what their priorities are and what timelines might be when it is reasonable to do so. Rarely have I ever felt so well communicated with on a software development project that wasn’t a part of my day job. That said, it is clear that they’re still figuring this stuff out as they go along and that can make things seem a bit more precarious than they actually are any time something slips through the cracks.
The general format seems to be a sort of mini-appending blog with space for media or text. By which I mean that you can share an existing post and add to it with your own text or other media, creating a growing post that tells the chronological tale of everyone who has interacted with it. It seems fairly robust from what I’ve seen, handling all sorts of media and text editing, though I haven’t really tried to put it through its paces yet. So far, links show up properly, media has played every time I’ve wanted it to, and pictures show up nicely in both their embedded forms and when I click to enlarge them. I haven’t found a way to automate blog post sharing there yet, but I’ve also only got one follower so it’s not like I’m missing out on a huge audience. And it’s not that difficult to just copy and paste the text and link from Twitter or whatever.
Eventually, I might do some testing to figure out what my text limits are, but I followed Everest Pipkin just in time for them to share a really cool poem using an “expand details” function to great effect so I’m really not sure what I can do that other people haven’t already done. Unless, you know, I break out my QA hat and really go to town. But that’s work and I’m not getting paid to do it, so I think I’m just going to stick to reporting bugs that I encounter through regular use of the site for now.
Since the site is still being actively developed and it’s a small team, every page has the “report a bug” window hovering over it, making it easy to provide rapid feedback. There’s even a homepage development stream you can check for updates which frequently includes a link to the official support and bug tracking forums so you can check to see if someone else reported your bug already, participate in requesting features, and discuss the future of the site with the community. Or just endlessly lurk there like I do because I’m really shy about actively participating in any space that allows for conversations to happen. It’s a lot easier to post on a blog that almost no one comments on since I’m not really engaging in a dialogue.
Anyway, this site seems to be quickly developing communities as people find others to follow through the search function, using tags (which are fairly easy to use since the interface suggests existing tags based on what you start typing into it) you can bookmark as focal points. Finding users is also fairly easy, since the search function includes similar results based on either their display name or their username, but I’m personally struggling to think of people to follow here. I’ve been checking twitter for people I follow who’ve mentioned a cohost account, but that’s less than half a dozen people so far. Hopefully it catches on since I think it shows great promise for sharing and adding to media.