The Case for Moving Your Social Network to Micro.blog

This is a continuation of a series.  You may want to start with the first post:  Populism and Today’s Social Tech vs. Blogging

What is Micro.blog?

Micro.blog (MB) has two elements the 1. hosted blog and 2. the social network. They exist sort of separately but they are also intertwined. You have to have a blog, either hosted on MB or elsewhere, to be a member of the MB social network.

“Micro.blog is an easy way to host and share your posts, photos, and even a podcast in a way that maximizes what’s great about social networks and minimizes what’s troubling about them.”

Dan Cohen.

 

Now watch a 2 minute video: Welcome to Micro.blog

 

Micro.blog can certainly be many things to many people–possibly too many. In large part, what it is depends on what tools you’re bringing into it and how you’d like to use it.

It can be:

  • a web host
  • a Twitter replacement
  • a Twitter client that allows you to own your own data
  • a Instagram replacement
  • a microcasting platform
  • a full blogging platform
  • a new, well-curated community with a strong code of conduct
  • a customized feed reader for a new community
  • a syndication platform for one’s personal blog
  • a low barrier entryway to having your own IndieWeb-capable blog on your own domain.
  • a first class IndieWeb citizen with support for multiple types of posts, IndieAuth, Webmention, Micropub, and Microsub.

Chris Aldrich

Chris pretty well sums up all the things you can do on Micro.blog.

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.

Migrating from Twitter or Facebook to Micro.blog

What is the difference between Twitter and Micro.blog?

I was going to write a big long comparison between Micro.blog and Twitter then Facebook, but I don’t think I’m really up to the job.  Which is why this post has been sitting in my Drafts bin for several weeks.

Here is the best thing to do:  Micro.blog offers a free trial.  Sign up and really try it for the trial period.  You can set MB to cross post to Twitter so all your posts appear on both MB and Twitter at the same time.  Give it a try.

At the end of the trial, you have a choice:

  1. pay $5 per month to continue the hosted blog on MB, or,
  2. discontinue the hosted blog, it will no longer work but the social network will still work. See below.

Even if you choose #2 you can still participate on the social network side of Micro.blog for free.  Just go get an outside blog like at WordPress.com and attach the RSS feed to your Micro.blog account.  Every post you make on your outside blog will also appear on MB for free.  You need the outside blog to start new conversations.  You can reply to others directly on Micro.blog.

Paying the $5 for easy posting is the easiest way to go.  The five bucks pays for the service, keeps it free of ads and tracking and helps keep the riff-raff out. (That’s my opinion.)

But either way, if you are looking for a replacement social network I urge you to give Micro.blog a try on the free trial.

 

 

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Masto.host has fully managed Mastodon hosting starting at 5 Euros a month.

Over the long run this is bad news especially for Twitter.  This is turnkey hosting, all you have to do is work the admin panel.  I  think we a crossing a threshold here in social networks and breaking silos.

The problem with Mastodon are that the weaknesses of Twitter remain, it is too easy to have pile-ons, mobs etc.  And so much depends on how well the Admins of each instance manage these things.  Plus there will be a lot of churn.

But with all that said a lot of small groups (including fringe groups) can have their own social network and it’s affordable.

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When the Social Silos Fall

#search engines #social networks #silos #indieweb

I hear a lot of people wanting the social network silos (mainly Facebook and Twitter) to go away.  I too want them to go. Eventually.  But before they do, I want to examine some things in this little essay.

Some Good Things that the Silos Did

Search: Facebook and Twitter punched a hole in the Google search monopoly.  Before these social networks, Google and Google alone dictated what you would find on the Web. And you did the finding through Google.  With, first Twitter and later Facebook, suddenly you didn’t need Google to find stuff on the Web.  Suddenly a little obscure website could become famous without or in spite of Google.  If you really sit down and think about it, that is no small thing.

Moreover, that hole in Google (plus Google’s bad record on privacy) gave smaller search engines just enough breathing room to try and become established (ie. Duckduckgo, Qwant, Mojeek.)

Web Advertising:  Again, before Facebook and Twitter, Google had a lock on both search advertising and display advertising.  Facebook in particular opened that up. Suddenly, sellers had an alternative place for ad campaigns besides something owned by Google.  If you are not selling stuff this means nothing to you, but if you are in business, large or small, it means a lot.

Traffic:  Posting on Facebook and Twitter can drive a lot of traffic to your website or blog.  Syndication (crossposting) is just another way of posting.  I’m convinced that a whole new generation has grown up that really does not remember the times before Facebook, Twitter and the other social network silos.  I can see it by their actions and inactions.  They don’t know how to get traffic besides syndicating to Facebook and Twitter.  What happens if those two cut off syndication?  What  happens if everybody leaves FB and Twitter so nobody reads your posts?

See, right now as a blogger, I don’t really need Google traffic.  I have Indieweb webmentions, Twitter and other social networks for traffic.  But if Twitter goes down or walls itself off, it is going to be lean pickings for visitors.

My biggest fear, is that if Facebook and Twitter suddenly crumble, we will go right back to having Google control everything.  By that I mean Google will control both traffic and discovery on the Web.

Yes it won’t be quite as all pervasive as it was before, at least as long as Bing sticks around and does not jump the shark.  Indieweb stuff is good but still a tiny niche (heck blogs are a small niche).  Smart things are being worked on, experimented with, new kinds of automated directories, new innovative webrings, – all discovery tools but they are not ready yet, that and nobody among the public know how to use them.  Things like RSS, which is a good source of repeat traffic, are experiencing a revival, but again this is just a small segment.  Given time I think RSS will be big but it ain’t there yet.

Google is a silo too. And I can tell you Google is part of what sucked all the fun out of Web 1.0.  Facebook and Twitter were not even around.  It was Google. And living under Google dominance is no fun.  Right now the Facebooks and the Twitters are still around so word can spread without Google.  It’s a rare opportunity but you better hurry.

Seriously, if FB and Twitter unravel quickly, how do we counter the Google silo?  Ideas?

 

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Bookmark: ADN Finder

This is a social network username directory.  If you know your friends username on Twitter, Micro.blog, Mastodon or (defunct) App.net you can find their handle on the others.  Very handy if someone you follow has left Twitter, or if you are migrating to some new social networks and want your friends to find you.

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