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Prose. 3.0.2 review: Safe haven for writers, far from maddening social media crowd

J.R. Bookwalter | April 12, 2016
Prose delivers a social platform for the creation and consumption of literature in a completely censorship-free environment.

Posts can optionally include a single imported header photo, but there’s not a great deal of control over formatting aside from vertical positioning. There are also options for assigning hashtags, attaching links, and selecting which portal the work will appear. Just be sure to do this before publishing, because there’s no way to attach links or edit the portal later on.

I found the web app best suited for these enhancements, since the iPhone app can only do them in preview mode. Very often I’d get everything just the way I liked it, only to lose some or all embellishments after navigating back to write mode. By comparison, all changes take place on the same screen from the web app.

Because Prose. is cloud-based, writers can start typing on iPhone, save as a draft, then load it into the web app and pick up where they left off from a browser on any device with changes saved automatically. Once everything is to your satisfaction, click the Publish button and your post is shared immediately with other Prose. members.

prose. web writing

On the web, Prose. offers a clean, distraction-free workspace for writing in just about any form you’d like.

Meaningful interaction

Although the Prose. apps work well, I found the lack of a native iPad app a curious omission. This is particularly true for iPad Pro owners like myself, who now have access to large, luxurious software and hardware keyboards that allow our fingers to really let loose.

Thankfully, the web app works in a pinch with Mobile Safari, although if you log in with a Facebook or Twitter account, you may need to tweak or disable any installed content blockers first. (1Blocker caused my login to hang until I deactivated it.) You can also sign up with email or username to circumvent this problem.

Likewise, the lack of native Mac and Windows apps also feels like a lost opportunity since the web app can’t be used offline, and the iPhone app isn’t comfortable for long-form writing without a Bluetooth keyboard. These quibbles aside, I appreciate the simplicity of the existing apps, which keep the focus on your prose.

The one thing Prose. currently lacks is privacy. Aside from draft mode, there’s no way to publish posts only you can see, or those intended for a specific group of users. To be fair, this is in keeping with the general manifesto of “meaningful interaction” for all, but those accustomed to Facebook’s granular control over the audience for each post will be disappointed.

prose. web challenges

Prose. users can challenge each other, and the service occasionally offers cash prizes to reward good writing as well.

Bottom line

Assuming you don’t mind sharing everything with other users, Prose. is the perfect middle ground for writers, falling somewhere between blogging and the cacophony of social networking.


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