Robb Knight

Thoughts on Micro.blog

2022-05-14

A couple of weeks ago I signed up to Micro.blog and stopped using Twitter, Instagram, and Pocket.

Twitter

Micro.blog (MB for the rest of the post) has no likes, no follower counts, no retweets, and no post dunking quote tweets. If I post something, I don't know who saw it or who enjoyed it but it doesn't matter; I'm posting it because I want to. Might be something interesting or me being nostalgic for a time when I thought I was, but definitely wasn't, cool but none of it is being posted to try and "go viral" or get likes.

The lack of follower count, or even knowing if someone follows you, means there's no guilt for unfollowing someone or wondering why someone unfollowed you. No likes means if someone really does like a post a lot, they can reply and say so. Alan Jacobs has an excellent post about this.

I've looked at Twitter a few times in the past month and I was reminded just how negative it is. I'm as guilty as anyone for dunking on politicians, crypto bros, and general idiots. They probably deserve it but it is exhausting and it's pretty much every other tweet. I don't follow news sites or "brands" on Twitter, these are all just normal people but we're all (rightly) angry about the things. I just don't think it's good for my mental health to be that annoyed about a thousand things all the time.

Instagram

I hadn't posted to Instagram for a long time. I'd felt uneasy about feeding content to the beast that is Facebook for a while but I also thought perhaps I didn't have anything worth posting. A few days after I signed up, MB were running the May Photoblogging challenge. 30 days, 30 prompts, post a photo each day. Turns out I do have things to post and you can view my challenge photos here. Challenge photos are collected in this nice grid view and it's been a great way to find all the cat people.

Pocket

This one is less "stick it to the man" and more "just use one service for a bunch of things". MB has a bookmarking feature that works for exactly my needs and I whipped together a shortcut as well as making a little web app to manage my bookmarks.

Other things I like about Micro.blog

Editable posts. What a concept.

The discover timeline is a manually curated timeline of features posts from real people and is an excellent starting point to find users to follow. Jean does an excellent job of curating posts for the discover page as well as helping new people to the service. The other way to find interesting posts are the automatic timelines based on emoji topics.

You can follow Mastodon users from MB which mean I can still get updates from the duck haus or any other Mastodon instance. Mastodon users can follow MB users as well. When using a custom domain with MB you can set a Mastodon-compatible username. For example mine is robb@toot.rknight.me.

There's an API which I'm sure I'll be using more in the future.

Missing Pieces

As much as I've complained about Twitter, there are people who I still want to subscribe to. Of course Twitter doesn't have RSS feeds any more but thankfully NetNewsWire allows me to subscribe to specific people so I'm "following" a handful of Twitter accounts there instead.