The Best Thing About Post
When you properly blunt speed and scale, information consumption becomes focused and efficient
I’ve left Twitter and have been using Post as an experiment and substitute for a few weeks now. The community at Post is growing slowly but steadily — instead of 2,700+ followers I had on Twitter, I have 310+, and growing. And there are people who I once followed who haven’t arrived yet, as the waiting list is being slowly whittled down.
The technology team at Post is rolling out builds and features, and the functionality is becoming more robust — however, direct messages and conversational aspects remain pending, and there are some browser-compatibility issues (DuckDuckGo, for instance).
One great thing about Post is a simple design decision, one that handily masters the scale and speed of the Internet — two aspects that once seemed desirable, but which have proven dangerous when not governed in some manner. This simple design decision is to blend reverse-chronology with the major UX divide between “Explore” and “Following.”
“Explore” is the default setting when you first visit, and you see whatever has been posted most recently. Sometimes, it’s a picture of a puppy, sometimes a diatribe about someone in the news, sometimes a straight-up news story. Scroll a bit, and it’s that kind of mix of reverse-chronology randomness. Nice, and worth a gander usually.
Click on “Following,” and you get only those posts made by people you follow, and in reverse-chron order. In a few seconds, you can tell if any of your trusted news sensors have been tripped. Usually, they have not, and you are able to move on.
Visits to Post are shorter and feel more efficient. But the “Following” pane creates a role I’ve been trying to remind us about — the trusted intermediary. The people you follow are implicitly your trusted intermediaries on Post. They were on Twitter, as well, but Post makes their role distinct and predictable instead of random and vague.
Post elevates your trusted intermediaries, and makes them obvious, privileging the right kind of information sortation and curation, allowing you to focus.
This is why user-focused design generates better results than user-exploitative design. Twitter and other social media are designed to exploit known biochemical triggers and psychological blindspots of people. Post is built to leave those untouched while giving people a way to turn to trusted intermediaries rapidly, easily, and reliably.
I’m impressed so far, and find my life is much saner without my neurochemicals being stirred up every few hours.
But that’s not the best thing about Post. After a few emails with people I know who are struggling with the post-Twitter world, it’s clear that the best thing is:
We’re all having to think about what we’re doing again, what any particular site is doing, and whether the two align. The best thing about Post is a chance to reassess.
If Post represents the kind of thinking emerging post-Twitter — and if many of us have stopped to have a think about what we really want from social media — the next round of innovation may be far more useful and user-friendly than the first decade of exploitation, manipulation, and aggravation.