Moving back, full time to Micro.blog hosted blog from self hosted Wordpress, went far smoother than expected. For the most part the experience has been interesting.
It’s interesting to try and replicate some of the features of Wordpress on MB without having the crutch of a massive library of Wordpress plugins available, which means that for some things, like Related Posts and outside Comments one must find a third party provider and do some theme editing on MB.
Tools effect behavior and I’ve noticed some effects on me with the differences between WP and MB. Some of these are good, bad or neutral, but all are something I notice.
- I post less on MB. I’m not sure if this is good or bad. On WP I had bookmarklets and browser extensions that made sharing URL’s and snippets of interesting articles to Wordpress very easy. MB has none of that so there is more friction to sharing. I find myself using the Pinboard bookmarklet much more and saving as a bookmark to Pinboard instead of sharing. That’s kinda not good.
- Markdown - I had harbored thoughts of making long posts on MB in HTML. But, having learned a bit of Markdown, I use Markdown. Not good or bad, just different.
- Draft Posts - I really miss being able to save half finished posts as drafts to work on later. I’m using Simplenote as my work around. I compose most everything on Simplenote and then paste to MB.
- No spell check in the Web UI on MB. It’s a real pain in the rump. It is also a part of posting less in point #1 above. (If they have it, please don’t tell me that the Mac and iOS apps have spell check. That was never irritating to me until I became totally dependent on MB. Now it grates. Deeply.)
- Comments from the Indieweb - one of the things I truly loved on WP and miss deeply on MB was receiving Comments and mentions from both other Indieweb equipped blogs and Twitter and the Micro.blog timeline and having them all displayed on the proper post page (after moderation.) Hopefully MB will grow into that. Soon.
- No more Scud Hunts - the bad thing about WP was - WP is such a mess. Things would constantly break, which would lead to my wasting a lot of time trying to find the source of the WP breakage in a Scud Hunt. On MB all that stuff is managed and support is excellent and that is no small thing. I spend a lot less time fixing things and worrying about things on MB.
- I’m still getting used to Themes Without Sidebars (one column themes).
- I added a third party comment host to MB. To my surprise, it’s been used much more than I ever thought it would by three groups: a. Micro.bloggers that want to comment but don’t want the comment to appear on the MB timeline, b. Indieweb people who realize they can no longer contact me from their own blogs, c. total strangers. I added commenting, because I was leaving Facebook and some very dear friends behind and I wanted to give them a chance to comment on the off chance that they might be reading my blog blatherings. I never expected this much use, so I’m doubly glad I added comments.
- Syndication: On WP I was using JetPack to syndicate to Twitter and it worked. But I think MB does a better formatting job on syndication to Twitter.
- Built-in Social network: Never underestimate the value of having a really good social network intertwined with your blog. This is where Micro.blog blows away the competition. A lot of old time bloggers, back in the 00’s quit blogging not because of Twitter and Facebook, but because they got tired of having no feedback other than spam. We blog, publicly, partly for interaction and when you don’t get that occasionally it’s hard to keep talking to yourself.
- Micro.blog is great for posting photographs and is easier than WP. I say this not that I think I’ve found the cure for my sideways photo syndrome. For awhile there I wasn’t sure if it was me, Android or an Essential phone problem. I think I fixed this.
- Even though I’m getting used to single column themes on MB, I have to say the stock theme selection on MB is, IMHO, quite good. Limited, but quite good.
- The third party “Related Posts” service I used isn’t very good at figuring out which posts are “related” to the current posts. I renamed it to “Recommended Posts” in the interest of truthiness. But, when positioned directly beneath the content, they do get used. So a few people are exploring deeper into the blog because of this.
- I still have not added a third party email contact form to my MB blog because I don’t have a compelling need for it other than my conviction that it should be a standard option. But I can see that people using a Micro.blog hosted blog for business or authors, freelancers, journalists etc. blogging on MB would really want a contact form. I did put a email address up, but its encrypted so that most spambots cannot read it. Not as good as having a form though.
- Markdown does not appear to have nofollow or open in new tab or window type links.
- I really like the Indiepaper, read later service bookmarklet and it’s integration with Micro.blog.
- I also like using Indiebookclub which Micro.blog gives me access too.