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. 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:
- The content has to be shaped to a fit a platforms requirements (e.g. 140 characters); and/or,
- The content has to be shaped to fit algorithms (SEO); and/or,
- 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.
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