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Micro.blog

Volume 1, Issue 19; 27 Dec 2017

Trying to escape from walled gardens to get back the web we wanted.

The way it was supposed to work was, everyone would publish their stuff on the web and we’d use the web itself (in the form of links, search engines, feeds, etc.) to pull together the bits we wanted to see.

I stumbled across the Micro.blog site a while back and I’ve been meaning to give it a try. So today, while npm was downloading half of the internet, I thought I’d link things together and see how well it works.

I'm @ndw on Micro.blog.

The advantage of social media sites is that they aggregate and display content from the folks you follow in a useful way. The disadvantage of social media sites is that to the extent you use them, you’re pouring your creative efforts into someone else’s walled garden. It’s very clear that we the users of social media sites are the product; the customers are the advertisers and other data miners paying to identify, capture, cross-reference, and manipulate us.

Perhaps their intent is merely to entice us to spend money on shiny baubles. Perhaps it is much more nefarious, attacking the very foundations of civilized society. Whatever the motivations, I object.

I almost never use Facebook because it’s clearly a toxic swamp. I use Twitter, but I don’t really feel good about it. Other sites that I’ve used in the past have all gone away or eroded into something I don’t find useful anymore.

Micro.blog, as I understand it so far, is an attempt to provide a sense of community (the ability to follow, thread, favorite, etc.) without forcing content creators to pour their content into a walled garden.

If a critical mass of users take advantage of this, we’ll have made a step away from being the product. Micro.blog, of course, has to pay its bills so they do offer to host content and will almost certainly provide additional pay services.

It’s an experiment. I think it would be a net positive if it succeeds.

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