Thoughts on micro.blog

By on August 19th, 2018 in General

Hi @manton,

One of my frustrations with micro.blog is the lack of post summary cards. Most of my posts contain my photography none of which can be found on micro.blog. All the posts from my self-hosted WordPress website appear as title + link.

It would be great if micro.blog could pull in the featured image from my posts along with the excerpt and some way of tagging post so that they can appear in the discover photos stream.

I’ve been with micro.blog since launch. But my content is mostly ignored on micro.blog. Perhaps my content sucks. But I think it’s mostly because it’s very hard for “birds of a feather” to be found on micro.blog. The Discover page is utterly useless to me. It’s basically random posts with no filter. Something more like Automattic’s Reader would improve the experience for me. I would be able to find and follow much easier.

Yeah, I’m tooting my own horn a little bit. I want to show off my photography. I am quite shallow and enjoy likes. One of my previous blog posts featured images like the one in this blog posts. The image was syndicated to Instagram and Twitter and of course, showed up in the WordPress.com Reader. The post received commentary from Instagram (via Brid.gy), WordPress.com viewers, and one from micro.blog. But comments from micro.blog viewers are rare. I’m invisible.

But I want the content to originate on my website. I want to post to micro.blog and a way to have the comments from there appear back on my website. I’m not sure of this but I don’t think manually posting a link to micro.blog allows for this.

It would be great if you could work on these things. It would help make me feel more at home on micro.blog. Currently, it feels like a silo for web developers. Where are the photography geeks and how do I find them? Where are the Formula 1 racing fans and how do I find them?

@klandwehr asked @Burk to create F1 emoji’s to add to the discover list. That helps, but how would a new micro.blog subscriber know to as Burk to do this? How would they find people with similar interests? My 51-year-old eyes can barely see the emoji. Where are the text hashtags?

Perhaps Ben Weirdmuller has a point. In this post, Ben writes of leaving the silos behind completely.

I think it might be more effective to move all the value away: publish on your own site, and use independent readers like Woodwind or Newsblur to consume content. Forget using social networks as the conduit. Let’s go full indie.

I control my blog entirely — from the OS layer to the application layer. Manton, you control micro.blog. It’s your platform.

I doubt few on micro.blog will see this post but just in case, I want to be clear. I am not attacking micro.blog. I want it to succeed. I am just pointing out what I think are some rough edges that need work. I have no interesting in working around those rough edges. I have no interest in moving my WordPress website to the micro.blog platform.

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on micro.blog”

  1. The Micro.blog experience and a few thoughts on the open web (Beardy Guy Musings)
    I write this and mull it over from the perspective of a creator and as a longer-term user of the “old web”. I have, at least, a basic grasp of the ideal (and importance of) the open web, ownership and access. I write it as someone frustrated with the nastiness of the business practices of the corporate entities that own the big social media as well as the lack of moderation on those sites making them potentially dangerous places. But even amongst the relatively tech fluent (and likely, financially affluent) community of tech/apple oriented users that I follow on Twitter, there is little impulse to move to alternatives such as Micro.blog or Mastodon. I’ve seen evidence of an almost complete lack of interest.
    As one of those "old web" guys who has been blogging for almost two decades, I understand this anguish over the open web. I've seen the rise and fall of alternative like app.net and despite what others may think, micro.blog's success isn't ensured. The lack of diversity, both cultural and economic, is perhaps why the "relatively tech fluent (and likely, financially affluent) community of tech/apple oriented users" ignore micro.blog. It's one of the reasons why, despite having backed the Kickstarter project, I chose to let my hosted micro.blog lapse and use micro.blog more like Twitter. Both are free but Twitter is less of an echo chamber.
    I visit micro.blog only a few times a month now. The discovery feed is boring.
    I've documented my issues with micro.blog in several blog posts. I don't expect anything to change in the near term.Community Norms?Thoughts on micro.blogMicro.blog and IndieWebYou Can't Start the Revolution from the Web Country ClubGoing Full Indie
    Others have voiced similar complaints.Why I'm leaving Micro.blogPhoneBoy abandons micro.blog
    I prefer the approach advocated by the IndieWeb and have also written about the issue of discovery for independent blogs who don't use social media.Share:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading...Related

  2. Reply to Khürt on micro.blog by Nitin Khanna

    Khürt, I absolutely get a lot of value from my micro.blog account. First of, this is a great community of bloggers, coders, amateur photographers and even one harpist. I’ve found this to be a great continuation of the community I found in app.net, which subsequently splintered into a few groups.

    I remember paying for an app.net account. App.net was also touted as saving people from Twitter. Whatever happened to app.net? Could that happen to micro.blog?

    I am, in fact, thinking of trying to woo some esoteric friends off twitter and onto here, though I’ll be guiding them to use micro.blog for free because the economics doesn’t work out for everybody around the world.

    I have tried to do the same. However, it is challenging to articulate the value of doing so. What is the value of micro.blog over free Twitter? And if my friends aren't on micro.blog, it's not a social network.Jean MacDonald, community manager at Micro.blog, wrote in a thread that …many of the people who sign up for an account aren't interested in the social component. That means that most of the user base is looking for a blogging platform. That makes discovering community more challenging.Discovery on micro.blog is challenging by design.

    In our quest to keep people safe from harassment or harmful viral waves of trolling, we limit the usual parts of a social network like search and trending posts for discovering new people. We do want like-minded people to be able to find each other on Micro.blog. We tried a few strategies in the beginning: a short list of people to follow, then a photo gallery of the images that microbloggers were posting. Neither was really working for us or for the community.

    But for Discover we want to provide an easy-to-skim cross section of posts, so the culling is done by hand: no algorithm, no upvoting, no promotions. And from the response we’ve received, it is a very popular feature with the community.
    The curation is done by me and Manton.Jean MacDonald

    By design, the Discover feed lacks a diversity of viewpoint. Manton tried so hard to remove what he thinks is cynical about Twitter, that on micro.blog, two people get to decide who gets discovered. How can I trust whatever inherent bias they may be brought to that process? How do I know that they aren't pushing their agenda? But whatever, it’s their house. Their rules.

    Second, micro.blog is an interesting experiment in blog comments. The other day, I saw your post about house parties and responded. I knew I could respond right here, but I had a little more to say, so I put it on my blog and let that reflect here. That exchange can happen independently too, but this centralization of feeds is difficult to attain. We’re all avid users of RSS readers, but with that comes its own challenges. In some senses, micro.blog is my people feed reader, while my other feeds readers are relegated to follow webcomics and networking news.

    My website supports Webmention as well as WordPress.com comments as well as pulling in replies from for syndicated links via Twitter, Flickr, Instagram. To paraphrase you “In some senses, [Twitter] is my people feed reader”. micro.blog could be just another comment stream, albeit at this point a very small one. micro.blog provides no unique value in that regard.

    Third, any tool is what you put into it.

    I’m not sure what you mean by that. I don’t want to make assumptions, but my initial reaction was, “is he saying it’s my fault that I feel left out“.I already have Twitter and host my own website which I have done at the same domain so for over 15 years. When I post a link to Twitter, I can add hashtags to help like-minded communities on Twitter find me and my content. Likewise, I can use hashtags to find like-minded communities with whom to engage. And the communities on Twitter are more diverse than what’s available on micro.blog.The user base on micro.blog is mostly software developers. I could yak all day about topics of interest to me, but only a small handful of people would see those post. Unless like-minded people view and interact with those post, I have no way of knowing they exist.Others have suggested ways to keep discovery useful while toning down the negative:

    Whilst search and tagging can be used to manipulate a platform and thus spoil it, as we have plainly seen across lots of social media platforms, implementation of them with as much care and consideration of the rest of Micro.blog would be a significant improvement for Discovery. Perhaps these features would be only available for Verified users (to verify yourself on Micro.blog involves either a paid account or enough effort for free users as to discourage malicious users).Simon Mumble

    Phoneboy, and early user and often quoted fan of micro.blog eventually stopped using the service.

    The diversity of participants and resulting conversations are somewhat limited and are likely to remain so. This might suit some people just fine, but I appreciate people of different races, creeds, colors, economic backgrounds, and even those with differing political opinions. The kind of people you might find on a more mainstream social media service or the right Mastodon instance.Phoneboy

    As I mentioned above, discovery (i.e. finding people who post on topics of interest to me) is challenging on micro.blog. I have spent days hitting refresh hoping to find one Formula 1 fan, or one etc. to follow.I'm an immigrant to the USA. I sometimes feel like an "other" even after three decades of living in the USA. I would like to find others like me online. Can this be accomplished if the only place for publishing my thoughts is on a website few to none exist because I have chosen to refrain from using a social broadcasting service (aka Twitter and Facebook)?

    Lastly, deleting your account – I know it’s the cleaner thing to do. It severs your ties, Manton is obligated to delete your data, it removes the mindshare micro.blog takes from you, etc. And frankly, you’d be better off deleting your account than mindlessly posting to it like a bot, or like dave. But not deleting it gives you the opportunity to come back whenever you want. If you want to keep the connection open, however tenuous, keep this account in your back pocket for a rainy day.

    I wonder why Dave doesn't interact on micro.blog? In any case, mindlessly posting like a bot is what I had been doing the last few months.I've quoted Ben Weirdmuller before. In this post, Ben writes about leaving the silos behind entirely.

    I think it might be more effective to move all the value away: publish on your own site, and use independent readers like Woodwind or Newsblur to consume content. Forget using social networks as the conduit. Let’s go full indie.Ben Weirdmuller

    When Facebook changed it's API and I could no longer automatically submit links to my post to my timeline, the traffic to my website dropped off. When I analysed past traffic I noticed that most of my incoming views were from Facebook and Twitter.I guess the question I am strugglgn with is "How would people find my website if I never engage on large scale social media?"
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