“Not all who wander are lost” - J.R.R. Tolkien
Welcome to the first Wednesday Wander edition of chasing answers.
You know when you pull a jacket out of the closet that you haven't worn since last winter and find a $20 bill in your pocket?
This is like that.
Only it has no actual value.
And half of you probably won't pay any attention to it.
Anyhow, don't expect one of these every week. There may be times when you get two in a row, or you may go two months without any.
So, like my wife tells my daughter, "take what you get, and don't throw a fit." 😉
I'm going to use these Wednesday editions to wander down some rabbit holes a little further than usual. So, they are only going to cover one topic. That topic may be anything. The only thing they will all have in common is that I have enough to say that I believe it warrants its own newsletter.
Hopefully, they don't suck. And hopefully, my being in your inbox more often doesn't make me like that co-worker that ALWAYS stops in your office when you're in the middle of a big project.
Is Post a Viable Twitter Challenger?
Since Elon Musk acquired Twitter, there has been an exodus of users from the platform. Many have left for Mastodon. Some have left for nowhere, in particular, choosing to become social media nomads for the time being. And others have jumped ship in favor of Post.
It is this last option that I find intriguing. And thanks to a heads-up fromI was able to get my name on the Post waitlist early on.
There are several features that Post promises that I find unique and exciting. A few of them are:
Write posts of any length and share them broadly.
Buy individual articles from different premium news providers so you can access multiple perspectives, not just the ones you're subscribed to.
Read content from various sources in a clean interface without jumping to different websites
Tip creators of engaging content to help them create more of it via integrated micro-payments
Once I was notified that I was off the waitlist and my account was activated, I decided I would invest at least as much time in Post as I do Twitter (which isn’t much) just in case Twitter blew up and to see if Post really was a viable Twitter challenger. While I haven’t tried all of the features, such as putting individual posts behind a paywall, I have been active on the platform for four weeks. And after 50 posts, these are my biggest takeaways.
It’s still quirky. As with anything new, there are kinks to be worked out. Some features are still not functional, and some still need fine-tuning, but the improvements are coming rapidly. It already feels very different than it did just two weeks ago. Based on what I have seen so far, I have no doubt there will be vast improvements in the coming weeks and months.
The user interface is much friendlier for people who want to focus on writing. There are no character limits, and the ability to format text and add links to your posts makes it feel like Twitter and Substack’s love child.
Unlike Twitter, you don’t get penalized for directing people away from the platform. As I said above, you can include links to external resources right in your post. And there are buttons built into your profile where you can direct people to your other social media accounts, making it easy to promote all of your distribution channels.
So far, it feels much less pyramid scheme-ish and transactional than Twitter. When I’m on Twitter, sometimes it feels like a combination of being at a large Amway convention and watching TV late at night with one infomercial after another streaming across my screen.
Everyone on Twitter is trying to sell something; a class, course, subscription, service, etc. I mean no disrespect by this; I am guilty of it as well. And many of these classes, courses, etc., provide value and are viable products, but sometimes you don’t want to be sold anything.
Despite having a paywall built in for everyone to use, Post doesn’t have this vibe. It very much feels like people sharing for the sake of sharing. There are still a very small number of users on Post compared to Twitter, so this could very well change, but right now, Post feels like someplace to go if you want to write or read, not if you want to sell or be sold something.
Post feels like a free market. I’m sure this will change as the platform grows, but there isn’t a bias toward large accounts right now. While there aren’t many large accounts yet, the ones that do exist don’t get shoved down your throat.
Twitter’s algorithm so heavily favors accounts with large followings that the same tweets end up in front of everyone. Currently, there are two ways to view posts. You can view those of just people you are following, or you can use the Explore tab, which shows you everything chronologically with no bias toward the size of your account. This is a great way to find new accounts you typically wouldn’t and to be found by others.
I imagine with time Post will have an algorithm that performs similarly to Twitter’s. However, I hope they always allow an option to use the Explore tab as it is currently used.
When I joined Post four weeks ago, I had 240ish followers on Twitter. A small amount by any measure. On Post, I obviously started with zero. So I decided to run a little test and duplicate some of my tweets on Post, word for word, to see where I got the most feedback.
It wasn’t even close. Of the 32 tweets/posts I did this with, I received 22 likes on Twitter and 107 on Post. Not to mention the number of replies on Post, which also outweighed those on Twitter. And in that time, I gained roughly 10 followers on Twitter while gaining 50 on Post.
I’m sure the fact that Post is new contributes heavily to people’s willingness to interact with small accounts they are not familiar with, but I still found this experiment interesting.
I think Post is here to stay, and I believe it will eventually give Twitter a run for its money. Just a few days ago, Elon announced Twitter’s character limit would increase to 4,000 in the future. He also mentioned that he wants to allow creators to monetize their content directly on Twitter.
These are features Post already provides. It seems as though Elon's goal is to make Twitter more Post-like. Soon, we may end up with two platforms that are more similar than different. I feel this would be great for both companies. The competition will continually push both to better their platform and give the user the best experience.
If you are a Twitter refugee, and even if you aren't, I highly recommend giving Post a try.
Thanks for reading, and I'll see you all on Sunday!
Thank you, Sandra! 🙏
More Randy in the inbox!!
"take what you get, and don't throw a fit." is so good. We used a similar one with students at my work: "you get what you get and you're thankful for it!"
Thankful for more Chasing Answers 🎉