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TIMO ZIMMERMANN

balancing software engineering & infosec

Microblogging

posted on Friday 31st of July 2020 in ,

When micro.blog came around I really liked the idea. Especially not having to post five tweets to express a thought seems very appealing – but that was not all. A platform besides the traditional (are we at the point where the word Twitter and Facebook go well together with traditional?) social media platforms certainly does not hurt. I actually spent more time thinking about various solutions for microblogging and platforms than most would consider reasonable, so of course I also put some thought into micro.blog.

I appreciate what micro.blog did, does and hopefully will be doing for a long time. But there are a few things missing I would consider a requirement before starting to use a new platform. I am certainly open to pay for hosted solutions, in the end when I pay for a service, it is not my problem to keep it online. That is the best part of being a customer!

First of all I am not investing any time in closed source platforms anymore. Micro.blog certainly is as open as it gets, but whenever I would have or want to migrate to my own server I would have to get all the content and somehow build something that can put it on the new server. I cannot just run the app. This being said I still believe micro.blog is one of the best platforms out there when talking about openness.

The most important reason why I decided micro.blog is not the right platform for me is splitting content between my main domain and micro.blog. I can obviously cross-post, link and all of the nice things you would expect to „simply work“ when the platform you are using is not build around the concept of locking a user in. But with every platform some constraints like character limits come into play, forcing me to either cut content short or cross post and have this split where posts live and I simply do not want this.

Having a separate category on my blog for microblogging is easy enough to set up. Coming to this conclusion was easy. The harder decisions came after that.

Should micro posts be part of the regular post „stream“ or completely separated? As in different archive, not part of index and a different RSS feed. Most arguments come down to noise vs focus of my primary post stream with long form articles. Considering that post frequency will still be relatively small compared to Twitter for example I am okay to mix long form articles and micro posts for now.

How much effort should I spend on a post? When I am currently writing an article I usually have my wife read it to make sure I did not do too many horrible things to the English language. If I am writing a longer, more technical article I sometimes ask a friend to do the same, kind of a second review round, with the difference that they are native English speakers. Which is also a very good reminder to spend more time improving my language skills. For micro posts I am more thinking of something like the scene in Social Network where the actor playing Zuckerberg codes Facemash while blogging on LiveJournal. Just without being a horrible, sexist, drunk human being.

Should I integrate pingbacks, webmentions and all the other fancy indieweb features? As someone who removed comments from his blog for a very good reason I am a bit hesitant to invest the time to make it work. But I certainly see the appeal and value in having webmentions set up. My curiosity might win, I have no idea how hard it is to build a small service that plays nicely with a static site generator. Especially considering all the spam pingbacks I am seeing on WordPress today.

After publishing my last post I got more and more dissatisfied with WordPress. This was likely the biggest reason why I did not start microblogging earlier. But with a new solution in sight, it is time to get started. I am actually curious to see how – and if – microblogging changes the way I publish content. Especially if I move more content off of other platforms and just link back or if using other services will still be more convenient.