Micro.blog is a microblogging platform built around indie web and is easy to set up and use either self hosted ($2 per month to cross post) or hosted $5 per month with iOS app, crossposting and more.
I’ve been using and highly recommend this service. It is a future-proof replacement for Twitter, though it currently doesn’t have the appealing looks or feature set Twitter has. It seems more built-to-last and ethically designed than other alternatives like Mastodon, App.net or Ello.
I’m afraid we don’t think it’s a great alternative. I mean, it’s one step better than Facebook, but beyond that:
- It’s still centralised—you have to use their hosting/pay them to be provided with cross-posting by them
- It’s not free and open—so you can’t truly self-host, or own your own content
Odd grouping. I’d say Mastodon is absolutely ethically-designed. App.net had good intentions but was centralised. Ello was just trying to be another Facebook.
I think I’d slightly disagree in that it’s much more open than is realised. It’s is free to follow and mention but if you want to post your own blog you pay for hosting, but the content is 100% portable to any other hosting, sure it’s not P2P like heartbeat was and so the social timeline is not decentralised or distributed but the content is just a series of public blog posts connected together all text based. my posts are automatically copied as MD files that I can reuse anywhere. You can host your own content on WordPress self hosted blog and cross post. It’s really a blogging platform with a social element. And I think very much fits the indie web model. It’s also a lot easy to set up and use than many things and has really got me back into creating more content and moving it out of any data mined silos. Mastodon is not the same type of service. There is a great community and Manton is doing a good job of supporting the setup. What are the main concerns. Scalability is going to be the major factor. Sunlit adds story photo support and Microcasting support was recently added which I also think is super intresting. I’ve moved all my twitter / Facebook and Instagram activity to My micro blog. http://discursive.adamprocter.co.uk
Your statements are not quite true. You do not have to pay them for hosting, if you host your own site. There are a two ways of using Micro.blog:
- Pay Micro.blog for hosting and do everything using Micro.blog. This includes hosting and cross posting to Twitter/Facebook (if you enable it). If you’re using this as microblog in addition to your normal site, you can add your site’s RSS feed so posts there show up in your Micro.blog timeline.
- Use Micro.blog for free and host your own website wherever you want, adding your RSS feed into Micro.blog (if you wish) so everything you post on your site shows up on Micro.blog. You have the option to pay small fee for cross posting if you desire, or you can have your own website cross-post.
Both cases allow you to participate in discussions. With the paid option, you have the option to export your site to github and update the repository with each post, so you do completely own your content and can easily move it if you decide to leave.
Additionally, if you self host your site (whether your pay Micro.blog or not), replies within Micro.blog are sent back to your site as webmentions, so you can own your complete discussions as well. Ie. you post a new blog post on your self hosted site. This gets picked up by Micro.blog via RSS (assuming you added it to Micro.blog) and show up in your timeline. When people on Micro.blog reply to the post that was pushed via RSS, Micro.blog will send them back to your site via webmention.
I shortly visitied the side today, and I’m a little irritated that it tries to load external resources:
What’s the reason for this?
They are all related to New Relic which is a site for monitoring site performance, I suspect its to ensure the service is up and running and any issues are alerted to Manton. Its not something I have ever used - https://newrelic.com/about
Richard Stallman’s proposal to only gather data as necessary to support the core service is of course very applicable and interesting.
But I think the code is proprietary? (Not “free and open”)? I may be wrong, I only had a read of the site, and the information isn’t very specific on these details.
I like the idea of portability, and that is, of course, much better than other blogging platforms. However, because (it seems) that you need to be attached to either the micro.blog via hosting your site on there, or using their cross-posting bridge, you are still beholden to micro.blog. This is especially a concern if it’s proprietary (if someone else bought them, they could change the format so it is no longer interoperable), but also because all the metadata going through micro.blog’s servers means it could be sitting on an unethical goldmine of people’s data.
Yes, you can move your content away. But only if you are technically savvy enough to be able to export and import your posts. This is a huge barrier to many people (and also why the indie web model very much suits developers, but is not really designed with mainstream use in mind).
I am all for useful services charging for their use (I mean “free and open” as in free software, not free as in no money). And while everything one posts to one’s micro.blog is public, it is relatively harmless as long as it remains interoperable. But this is why we would probably categorise this as a “stopgap” (much like many indie web solutions) rather than a full alternative to the surveillance capitalist mainstream.
You are correct code is not free or open.
I know Manton is trying to make sure that import and export is a easy as possible and that the interoperable nature will be built on open web standards (micropub).
I wouldn’t say you are beholden to the service but to join the timeline you need a free account your content could just be anywhere or your own thing that supports a rss feed and this can then feed that into the MB timeline, thats free. I do this with @gamesdesignart and connect RSS feed from Medium, I dont need to cross post or host with micro.blog
Cross-posting is for out to Twitter and Facebook can be added to registered RSS feeds for $2/month, or this can be added to a hosted Micro Blog account at $5pcm which is cross posting + hosted blog.
I would suggest its a bit further than a stop gap but I understand that is is not a full alternative at this stage.
Could Manton opensource / free software his Ruby / Server tech, yes he could, he is using RSS / micropub which is great.
I think its a great alternative to twitter/facebook/wordpress and I think the nature of the set up RSS / plain text etc makes is very interesting i have turned off cross posting and no longer post any content on FB or twitter and just use Micro.blog, if they go down or get sold I have all the text files saved, yes via github which is as you say too technical, however I think it would be easy to write a export tool for Micro.blog thats easy to use… such as a RSS reader to text, i suspect that would be easy to build…
Hopefully that makes sense, I agree that the site is not doing the best job of explaining all the details on the types of account it offers, which I know has been in discussion a lot over the last few months on the Slack (i know ) team
Can you explain this a little bit more!? Why are many indie web solutions are stopgaps? In my view the indie web solutions are the core to get back a distributed web!
A lot (not all, I’m sure) of indie web solutions rely on existing centralised solutions because it is not possible to cross-post to those platforms otherwise.
For instance, posting to your Instagram account and that post being syndicated to your personal site. Because the other way around is not possible. So you’re still stuck with using Instagram.
In theory, it is progress towards completely self-publishing, and owning your own content, but in the meantime you are still giving your stuff to surveillance capitalism. So it’s a stopgap, not a full alternative. We do need stopgaps all the while we don’t have alternatives. But while these approaches are steps towards alternatives, they are not alternatives themselves. Does that make sense?
The “Indie Web” community also (mostly) has a very different approach to us. Their tools and approaches are (mostly) aimed at folks with tech backgrounds. It is fine for them to have that priority. Our tools and approaches (see Better Blocker, and the Indienet) are to enable the mainstream to have an alternative to surveillance capitalism (so you don’t have to be able to write code or deploy your own server etc etc.)
Thank you @laura . I understand your point and agree with you mostly. I have already bothered with micro.blog, but I could not really make it clear.
The indie web is too complex for the mainstream. And although I’m a software developer, I’m not willing to invest the necessary time. Not in a stopgap solution.
And since mastodon already uses an open standard (ActivityPub), I think that is the better approach. Mastodon has it’s own complexity, but it’s not so high then the indie web stuff. I tested it with trying to explain both, indie web and mastodon/ActivityPub, to non-tech friends. And the result of that not representative test is, that they understand mastodon much easier!
Thanks again @laura to bring some clarification in my head.
I totally agree the indieweb is way to complicated and we can imagine a decentralised micro.blog quite quickly, in fact you and @aral built it with heartbeat.
And what we’re working on with Indienet is even more so
Cool be good to try and have a detailed chat with @aral and you about tech and such related specifically to my PhD work. I have also applied to Mozilla fellowship for a set of work related which even without extra backing will start summer of this year. Is it best to DM on Mastondon or just email?
Email! We might not be able to give you a thoughtful reply right away, but we’ll get to it! (I’m useless at using Mastodon!)