Brad Enslen is doing some great work over at Micro.blog, spreading the word about this innovative service. He published a post titled “The Case for Moving Your Social Network to Micro.blog“, that’s pretty self-explanatory.

https://ramblinggit.com/2018/12/the-case-for-moving-your-social-network-to-micro-blog/

I think there’s certainly merit in shifting your social network over to something like Micro.blog, in the near term at least. As Enslen explains –

As the name Micro.blog implies the primary thing you can do on it is write short form posts like Twitter and Facebook.  But you can also post long form posts just like you would on a conventional blog, just keep typing and when you hit 280 characters in a post a Title Field appears and you are long form posting – effortlessly.  There is no friction or barriers between you and just writing.

Posting is easy, like posting on Twitter and the blog just auto-generates itself.  You can post, “I like pizza.”  You can post a picture of your cat plus a poem about your cat. You can post a 600 word essay about the Chicago Cubs. Whatever you want, however short or long you want. It’s one of the features I like the most.  Posting photos is very easy on MB.  There are quite a few dedicated photoblogs there.

And you can move.  If you decide to move you can export all your posts and import them on a different blogging platform.  This is exactly why MB strongly encourages you to use your own domain it makes moving easier.

Brad Enslen

There are two challenges, as I see it at the moment:

  1. If your social graph/network isn’t using Micro.blog, it’s value for you may be pretty limited (or you can create a new network!); and
  2. I worry that shifting over to another, single service is repeating the same mistake we all made focusing our social streams into a small number of social networks that we don’t control. Micro.blog is certainly more open than Twitter or Facebook, and you don’t even need to host your blog there to participate, so it’s better in that respect.

I’ve been using Micro.blog as a pseudo-Twitter for a little while now. My blog posts publish there automatically, and I’ve discovered some fascinating people there along the way.

The syndication aspect is why I think there’s definitely something to adopting Micro.blog as a social network, even if it’s more of a stepping stone to something else. I’d love that “something else” to be a distributed social fabric that’s informed by posts on our personal sites/blogs.

I don’t think we’re quite there yet (wherever there is?), but I’m hopeful that we can move beyond a site as a static site or as a chunky blog, to a point where a site/blog can be a source of articles, and also simpler shares like status updates, Instagram-like photos, and so on.

Micro.blog is the closest to that, that I’ve seen. Here’s Manton Reece’s overview of Micro.blog. I think it offers a pretty good perspective on what this distributed social experience could look like:

I’m not really interested in moving my site away from WordPress, and that’s not because I work at Automattic. Overall, I enjoy using WordPress, and I think it’s one of the best options out there for publishing just about everything from a personal blog, to more complex publications.

Hopefully WordPress will evolve, and incorporate technologies that feed this loose vision of a federated social Web based on personal sites that talk to each other seamlessly. In the meantime, there’s a growing collection of plugins that add these pieces along the way (such as the wonderful IndieWeb plugins).

So, perhaps Micro.blog is a good candidate for an alternative to Facebook, and Twitter*. It’s certainly a couple steps in the right direction, while we figure out what a post-Facebook/post-Twitter social Web looks like.

*well, certainly Twitter given that Micro.blog doesn’t support privacy options you may want to use in a Facebook alternative, and assuming that the people you want to follow are on Twitter too …

Published by Paul

Enthusiast, writer, Happiness Engineer at Automattic. I take photos too. Passionate about my wife, Gina and #proudDad.

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5 Comments

    1. That would be really interesting! I agree that there’s a lot of potential to do more with Reader. It would also be great if it was part of a broader, federated network, too.

      (I don’t have any insight into future plans, so this is just my perspective)

  1. Replied to More thoughts about Micro.blog as an indie social network by Paul Jacobson (Paul Jacobson)

    Brad Enslen is doing some great work over at Micro.blog, spreading the word about this innovative service. He published a post titled “The Case for Moving Your Social Network to Micro.blog…

    Paul, I like how you’re questioning what is going on with micro.blog and what it is. The toughest part about it is that it is being sold by many different people in many different ways and it’s something slightly different depending on who you are and what you’re coming to it with. It’s all a question of framing.
    I might suggest that you’re framing in an odd way, particularly given what I think you’d ultimately like to see on the web which you mention in your closing paragraphs.
    To put things somewhat in “Automattic” terms, micro.blog is almost just like WordPress.com in that it’s a hosted content management system with a somewhat both open and closed community attached to it. If you’ve got a WordPress.com account you can easily post replies and likes on other blogs within the WordPress.com ecosystem and WordPress.com also has a slick feed reader you can use to easily subscribe to content (and even more easily subscribe if you’re within that WordPres.com community).
    Just like WordPress.com, micro.blog-based sites (if you’re using their CMS) provide you with a physical website that includes RSS feeds and most of the other typical website functionality, so in fact, if you’ve got a micro.blog-based site, you’re fully on the web. If you’d like you can take your domain, export your content and move to WordPress, Drupal, SquareSpace, or any other CMS out there.
    The real difference between micro.blog and WordPress.com happens in that micro.blog sends webmentions to provide their commenting functionality (though their websites don’t receive webmentions in a standalone way technically and in fact they don’t even allow manual comments as micro.blog-based websites don’t have traditional commenting functionality (yet?).) Micro.blog also supports Micropub natively, so users can use many of the micropub apps for posting to their sites as well.
    Now where things get a bit wonky is that the micro.blog feed reader will let you subscribe to other m.b. users (and recently ActivityPub accounts like those on Mastodon) which is why it feels like a Twitter or Facebook replacement. But the difference is that while it feels like you’re in yet-another-silo like Twitter or Facebook, over on the side, you’ve got a traditional free standing website!
    Incidentally micro.blog also uses their feed reader as a side method for displaying the replies of others to your posts within the ecosystem. If you have a non-micro.blog website that feeds into the system (like you and I–and incidentally Brad too–do with WordPress) then micro.blog sends webmentions to those sites so that they don’t necessarily need to be “within the community” to interact with it.
    In summation, I might suggest that while some people might be framing micro.blog as a replacement for Facebook or Twitter, the better framing is that micro.blog is really what you were hoping it might be. It is a traditional web host with its own custom content management system that supports web standards and newer technologies like Webmention, Micropub, WebSub, and pieces of Microsub. Or similarly and more succinctly, Micro.blog is a turnkey IndieWeb CMS that allows users to have a website without needing to manage anything on the back end.
    Now that we’ve re-framed it to look like what you had hoped for, let’s see if we can talk Manton into open sourcing it all! Then Automattic might have some more competition.

    1. In summation, I might suggest that while some people might be framing micro.blog as a replacement for Facebook or Twitter, the better framing is that micro.blog is really what you were hoping it might be. It is a traditional web host with its own custom content management system that supports web standards and newer technologies like Webmention, Micropub, WebSub, and pieces of Microsub. Or similarly and more succinctly, Micro.blog is a turnkey IndieWeb CMS that allows users to have a website without needing to manage anything on the back end.

      Sure, and in this respect, it’s in good company. As you pointed out, what makes Micro-blog stand out is that it bakes in these newer technologies that enable the core site to extend further than most other options.

      Now that we’ve re-framed it to look like what you had hoped for, let’s see if we can talk Manton into open sourcing it all! Then Automattic might have some more competition.

      I’m not so sure that open sourcing Micro.blog is necessary to compete. The IndieWeb technologies that Micro.blog incorporates are more significant from the perspective of creating this distributed social web of personal sites. As for competition with Automattic, perhaps a more sustainable goal is to advocate for inclusion of these IndieWeb standards into WordPress Core because those would find their way into WordPress sites, whether they’re running on WordPress.com or other hosts.

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