How-to micro.blog, a micro.guide

I’m completely smitten. I’m in love with micro.blog. I’ve been using it for nearly a year and am more or less off of all other social media. I think micro.blog made me a developer. Before micro.blog came around I was a full time product designer and project manager, then micro.blog came along and I started hacking on my own CMS. Now I’m a full time PHP developer!?

To start

What is micro.blog?

At first glance micro.blog is like Twitter — a micro blogging service (clever name, eh?). But that isn’t all.

Micro.blog is both a micro blogging service and a blogging platform. What does this mean?

From a practical standpoint, this means that micro.blog users can post short, tweet-like posts, and longer wordpress-y posts…and photo posts (a la Instagram).

Users can also reply to one another, building threaded conversations starting from some initial post.

Quick recap

Micro.blog is a (micro)blogging service. With it, users can post short, tweet-length posts, photos, and long-form blog posts.

How-to

This is where things start to get interesting! Micro.blog is different from most any other service (that I’ve ever encountered) on the internet in that it isn’t a silo.

To use micro.blog you do indeed need to register an account (just an email, no password necessary).

(ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

After registering you’ve got to make a choice (a choice that you can change up at any time) — where do you want your content to live?

Brief digression

In the world of Facebook and Twitter you don’t choose where your content (posts, photos, comments, replies, etc.) are stored. They’re stored on Facebook/Twitter’s servers. Therefore, they “own” your content. And your content becomes something they can mine.

Micro.blog is different. Your content lives wherever you want it to. As long as your content is accessible via RSS or JSON Feed, micro.blog can work with it.

Granted, there is a discussion to be had about dating mining RSS feeds…but that’ll wait for another day.

How-to, continued

A micro.blog user-account is really just 1 or more RSS/JSON feeds all streamed through a single spot.

It allows you to aggregate RSS feeds into a single social “feed” that represents you.

SO — back to that choice: where do you want your content to live?

Because it is also a blogging platform, micro.blog can host your blog for you for $5/month.

Alternatively, you can host your content elsewhere (e.g. using wordpress, tumblr, hugo, jekyll, coleslaw, etc.), and just add the RSS/JSON feed from that externally hosted blog to your micro.blog account. BOOM!

Up and running 🏃‍♀️💨

But how do you post?

Well — if you’ve opted for a micro.blog hosted blog you can post directly through the micro.blog website, or by using the micro.blog iOS or macOS apps, or even by using the dedicated photoblogging app, Sunlit 2.0.

If you’ve opted for a wordpress site, you can also create posts using the micro.blog iOS or macOS apps, and Sunlit 2.0, too! They’re interoperable 🕺

BUT WAIT!!! There’s more! All of the aforementioned apps (micro.blog iOS, macOS and Sunlit 2.0), are also micropub clients, so you can post to absolutely any micropub enabled website using them (that, however, is a longer discussion, so not fully explored in this here post).

Some closing notes

…this post ended up being a bad “how-to” guide, and isn’t really all that micro in length 🤷‍♀️ 🌮

Micro.blog is young and still growing. It is by no means perfect, but @manton, @macgenie and co. are doing an awesome job on both the technical, and (more importantly) the social front. They’re doing a lot of really solid work building the community, striving for inclusivity, and thinking through design choices at these early stages that could have major ramifications down the road.

There can be a bit of a learning curve to get up and running with micro.blog, but, I’ve found the community to be wicked helpful, and they’ve got a great help blog that I imagine/hope will continue to grow, and become the go-to repository for all questions micro.blog.

Post a response on your own site? Send me a webmention!


Aaron Davis

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This is a good starting point for Micro.Blog.

For me it is part Feed Reader / part Social Media platform, however as you point out, the content is always yours. I can imagine this platform, or at least concept, being used in an educational environment, allowing students to easily engage with various feeds in a central space.

vasta

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@eli I’ve been struggling to describe micro.blog and how it works (and why people should care!) and this post does exactly that! Bookmarking it and keep it to share with others. Thanks for writing!

Jeremy Cherfas

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A great intro to micro.blog and how it fits more generally into the #indieweb ecosystem. But I had to laugh at Eli saying that since he discovered micro.blog he is now a full-time PHP developer. I have just spent all morning, literally, trying to improve the sandpit ii8n which I play with PHP, and have just about given up, utterly defeated. How anyone ever gets XDebug to work is completely beyond me. VSCode, Atom, even PHPStorm all require the most astonishing acrobatics which I have simply been unable to perform. Now what?

modernlittleme

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@eli I love this! I’ve been thinking about where I want to take my micro.blog (and my social media in general) a lot this week. This not only validates some of my own thoughts... but also makes me think about my micro.blog in a much larger way. Thank you!

kaa

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@eli good primer. Favourites to send it to people in the future.

ronguest

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@eli this is a very nice write up. As a relative newcomer to Micro.blog I feel this type of info is sorely needed. Although I consider myself to be ‘up and running’ now I still don’t feel I have it set up the way I should/want.

Aaron Parecki

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Aaron Parecki

Eddie Hinkle

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Great simple guide to micro.blog! I think it’s great because it hits a couple practical and a couple conceptual things all simply. 👍

Zach Oglesby

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Zach Oglesby

eli

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@vasta my pleasure! I'm glad it resonated with you. Everything you post to inthemargins.ca is wicked excellent—your style of blogging is what I strive for.

simonmumbles

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@eli This is a great way to introduce MB from an outsider's POV. It's this kind of creative work that I consider core to the value of the web (the real web), not least because it immediately inspired some thoughts about how we, as MB fans can provide additive introductions to MB.

eli

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@simonmumbles my calling is to evangelize the open web...

Eli Mellen

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Seems like a lot of folks have been giving micro.blog a try this weekend. Thought I’d repost my short guide about the service and how to use it.

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