Poetica Is A Clever Text Editor That Lets You Phone A Friend

I’m a sucker for text editors. I’ve got all of them. Scrivener is my favorite by far. But I do enjoy me a good Google Docs now and again. Ommwriter, too. Now there’s Poetica. It’s really nice.

Created by a team of programmers and designers, Anna Maybank, Blaine Cook, and James Weiner, the program is surprisingly elegant… at first. You type into a blank window (or you import files) and then share the documents with friends via email or a public link. Friends come in and edit your document using standard editing marks familiar to those who grew up in the 20th century. The screen becomes overrun by comments, arrows, and text changes You can then edit, accept, or reject changes. Because it’s free and web-based you don’t have to give away much of your privacy or money (looking at you, Google Docs and Word) and the whimsical editing tools are more geared to commenting on text than simply changing it.

Natasha and I messed around with it a little (feel free to log in and do your own edits) and I found it a little cutesy but really fun. I probably wouldn’t use this for long form documents but I could definitely see it as a tool for copy writers or designers who want a clearer view of what they’re writing.

For example, here’s a document before:

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 10.58.46 AM

And here’s the document after:
Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 11.03.38 AM

It can get pretty messy pretty quickly, which is kind of fun. It basically looks like a high school teacher went through it between sips of wine after school. It’s oddly calming to see edits this way, even though I still prefer direct edits to text without notifications.

Would I use Poetica? I’m not sure yet. As I said, I love to try text editors but I rarely move from one to the other. I’m happy it exists, however, because it’s really cute. Incidentally, if you didn’t like this post feel free to fix it and I’ll screenshot the changes you guys make. Let’s see your edits, people.