A thought in reply to: Followers on Microblog – Ron Chester’s Personal Blog

Ron Chester lays out an approach to finding people to follow on Micro.blog.

I like Ron’s four strategies, although I might call them four stages of evolution as I went through a very similar process—and still do. Strategies 2 and 4 are the ones that I find most rewarding.

The concluding paragraphs of Ron’s post, however, have some real gold. In particular:

There are no visible scores on Microblog. This is a very good thing. It means I can just concentrate on posting things others might find interesting and then being interested in things I might find posted by others. There’s no way to tell who’s popular, nor a way to game a system to look more popular. I hope that doesn’t change.

I hope that others might see this post, and choose to follow Ron on Micro.blog, or maybe to subscribe to Ron’s new blog on Blot.im.

If you’re a Micro.blog user looking for people to follow, take a look at Ron’s post, and perhaps also take a look at Colin Walker’s Webmentions directory, or perhaps my webmention directory.

7 Reasons Why Posting on your own blog (first) is better than Medium

Over on The Writing Cooperative, a blog hosted on Medium, Anna Sabino writes about 7 Benefits of Writing on Medium over Having Your Own Blog.

In this post, Ms Sabino articulates 7 reasons why posting to Medium have worked for her. I suggest that she is missing an important opportunity—to write first on her own blog, with the post syndicated to Medium, and then on to the group blogs such as The Writing Cooperative.

I’d like to take a look at Ms Sabino’s seven points, and add some thoughts to back up my perspective. My thoughts in italics follow Ms Sabino’s comments in bold.

  1. It’s faster to build a sticky traffic on Medium. The sticky traffic likely comes through the journals (group blogs) on which the original post is being shared, and would be the same with content created on a self-hosted site and syndicated to Medium.[1]
  2. It’s motivating when you see your posts are being read. Undoubtedly true. But having your posts syndicated from your own site out to Medium and potential other places is going to multiply that same effect by taking your content to more audiences, not just the audience that reads Medium.
  3. All the blogs are in one place. I don’t know the stats on how many blogs Medium hosts, and what percentage of the overall number of blogs that comprises. I’d hazzard a guess that it is much less than ‘all’ the blogs, and likely in the single digits.
  4. Medium interface is very clean and pleasing to the eye. And pretty much identical to every other blog on Medium, and you are subject to the possibly changing tides of Medium’s design aesthetic. As John Gruber notes “every Medium site displays an on-screen ‘sharing’ bar that covers the actual content”..
  5. The exposure on Medium, which gets over 30 million visitors a month is huge. Basically the same as point 2.
  6. Medium shows up high in google searches. Yes, and if the syndicated post on Medium links back to your original post, the search engines will find the originalbl post even more quickly. Both copies of the post will be discoverable by readers, not just those that read Medium.
  7. You can start a blog on Medium instantaneously. As can be done with a WordPress blog and in the near future a Micro.blog. Self-hosted WordPress blogs can easily be setup on a range of hosts.

I quite like Medium, and regularly read posts on it. It is in fact how I came to find Ms Sabino’s post. I syndicate many of my posts there. It is a decent source of readership, and to be honest I should submit more articles to journals.

Medium, however, has the inherent problem of being someone else’s playground. They might pack up their toys and go away, taking our content with them. Or they might start putting our content behind a firewall, reducing potential readership. They may even monetise our content without sharing that with us.

Because it is, ulitimately, their platform.

The problem is the same with any other environment that you don’t own (yes, that would include WordPress.com and others).

I personally prefer to maintain my own blog, which is a WordPress blog hosted on independent servers. This blog then syndicates to a couple of places. This is the spirit of POSSE – Post to Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere.

Most long-form posts are syndicated in full to Medium and Tumblr, with the titles of these long-form posts sydicated to Micro.blog and Twitter. Micro-posts just go to Micro.blog and Twitter.[2]

I might (re) add Facebook and/or LinkedIn syndication at some point. These would actually be the biggest multiplier of readership. But I prefer quality over quantity, and the quality of commentary from Micro.blog readers, in particular, is outstanding, while there is a lot of noise from Facebook and LinkedIn (in my experience).

I don’t discount the effectiveness and importance of Medium. I would just advocate owning your content and syndicating to various platforms as being a far more resilient approach.


  1. Ms Sabino herself acknowledges that contributing to The Mission and The Writing Collective are the source of the immediate exposure.  ↩
  2. I treat all my (original) Tweets (i.e. not replies to other Tweets) as micro.posts, which start in Micro.blog and are syndicated to Twitter. If Twitter goes away I still have my original content. At least from when I started doing this. I wish I had downloaded a copy of all my app.net posts…  ↩
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A thought in reply to: Blogrolls are coming back

I’m really enjoying the back-to-the future nature of IndieWeb blogging, and am intrigued to see the return of the blogroll.

Maintaining the blogroll is likely to be the challlenge for many, as there are many moving parts of a blog.

I love that your approach focuses on IndieWeb blogs…

Micro.Blogging — The Future of Short Form Blogging?

A while back I wrote a post called The Micro Blogging Evolution Begins, in which I discussed being a Kickstarter backer for the Micro.Blog initiative by Manton Reece@manton.

Since then I, and other Kickstarter backers, have experimented with this new platform and its iOS app (developed by @manton). Some of the initial users are lurking, some haven’t really done anything with it (yet), and the rest of us are trying to see how it fits into our writing.

At its core, micro.blog is a way of making short blog posts, either on your own, existing, blog, or on a hosted micro.blog. As a Kickstarter backer, I have both — this blog at DesParoz.com and desparoz.micro.blog — and have been playing around with both approaches.

The key to micro.blog is that regardless of where you host your content, it is on your own platform, but then there are powerful social interaction tools. The stream is comprised not of tweets inside a “walled garden”, but instead of micro posts from all over the web that are loosely coupled to gain interaction.

Noah Read described micro.blog well in an excellent blog post:

Micro.blog is a social timeline, similar to Twitter, where you can post short snippets of text with links and photos, and converse with others. The biggest difference from most other social networks is where these short posts come from. They come from people’s own websites, where they control the content and can do whatever they like. Micro.blog aggregates its feeds from each member’s personal site and gives people chances to reply and favorite content on the the service.

You should take a read of Noah’s post to get a better understanding of micro.blog.

Blogging pioneer Dave Winer emphasised the importance of owning your own content, and not being constrained to fit the format of platforms in a post on wanting his old blog back:

Before 2010, on my blog, I could have long and short items. I could use HTML. Link to as many places I wanted, where ever I wanted. There was no character limit, so the short items could grow if they needed to. The same format could accommodate post-length bits with titles that were archived on their own pages. Every item appeared in the feed, regardless of length, regardless of whether it had a title.

I think Dave nailed it nicely with this post[1]. Over the years since blogging took off platforms like Twitter, Medium, Facebook and others have sprung up and provided various “solutions” to people sharing ideas, thoughts and content online. In the process they created (at least) three problems:

  1. The content has to be shaped to a fit a platforms requirements (e.g. 140 characters); and/or,
  2. The content has to be shaped to fit algorithms (SEO); and/or,
  3. The content ends up in a “walled garden”, in which it is virtually (or actually) owned by the platform.

micro.blogging forms a part of the Indie Web approach where content owners should own their own content, where they focus on writing, designing or otherwise sharing content for humans first (perhaps primarily, or even just, for themselves), and not to serve an algorithm.

Another key aspect of the Indie Web is the concept of POSSE wherein a writer publishers first on their own platform, and then syndicates to other platforms. This post for example will be published first on DesParoz.com, and will syndicate to my micro.blog and Twitter feeds as well as to a mirror site on Tumblr and perhaps to Medium.

micro.blog and IndieWeb tools are important parts of this process. The ‘glue’ that helps to bubble the underlying content up into the social web.

The potential of micro.blogging is best expressed by blogger and micro.blogger Colin Walker in an excellent post on the State of Blogging:

Blogging seemed to die back for a while but, as I wrote more recently, getting involved with the Micro.blog and, now, #indieweb communities has meant finding people who are, again, enthusiastic about their own sites.

So where does it all stand for me?

My main site here at DesParoz.com will continue to be the home for my content, including micro posts. My hosted (paid) micro.blog site will be a link blog, and the overall micro.blog feed will marry up all my content, providing the underlying social glue.


  1. As I am about to publish this site, I’ve just noted that Dave has also published about why he won’t point to Facebook posts  ↩
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