Tag Archives: press

Owning your content matters right now

Twitter and Facebook are both powerful tools to help people organize. We’ve seen some of that over the last few weeks of protests. While these social networks are also broken in significant ways, they’re not all bad. They bring people together and expand the reach of posts from our own web sites. That’s why many people embrace cross-posting.

Even more important is the free press. Not just big sites like the New York Times and Washington Post, but also small sites like yours and mine. Trump will continue to attack and undermine the mainstream press. Everyone who publishes on the internet should consider where that leads.

It’s not a good foundation to concentrate so much writing into one place like Twitter or Medium. Distributing writing across more web sites protects us if one massive site shuts down. It gives us flexibility to move to the next popular network if one emerges.

Sometime in the next 2 years, a reporter or blogger is going to break a story about the Trump administration. It’s going to be too important to ignore. But to be taken seriously, it can’t be an anonymous Twitter account that’s easy to cast doubt on. It has to come from someone accountable who has built a reputation by publishing good work and owning it.

Owning your content by having a microblog at your own domain is empowering. Maybe you’re writing about what you had for lunch. Maybe you’re photo-blogging an important trip. Maybe you’re posting from your iPhone at a protest outside the White House.

It doesn’t matter what it is. If it’s happening and worth writing about, it’s worth owning. Now more than ever.

The fight for truth and progress

Kevin Hoctor has a great post about staying above name-calling and focusing instead on positive change during a Trump presidency. Standing up for people, exposing lies, and supporting the free press:

If you have a website, use it. Write more words than you can fit into a tweet. Call out injustice and hold your House and Senate representatives responsible for their actions and their voting. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

You’re not alone if you’ve been aimlessly reloading news sites all day for weeks. It’s easy to fall into a trap of indecision, failing to create anything, unsure of what to do next that will matter. I struggle every day to rebalance my time on the right things.

But to Kevin’s point, a marathon is finished one mile at a time. And I’ll add a quote from Steve Jobs, which I think about sometimes when I can’t focus on making real progress:

Everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.

Remember that Twitter was still in the middle of taking off 8 years ago when Obama was first elected. Not quite mainstream, no Trump account. We’re going to blink and it will be 2018 and then 2020. Everything can change again if we work to make it better.

Kickstarter, first week wrap-up

One week down. The launch on Kickstarter is going great. It’s fantastic to see everyone’s reaction to the project. More than ever, I’m convinced that the time is right for this.

I wanted to highlight a few posts and links. I was a little caught off guard by activity on the first day, so I’ve yet to really reach out to press contacts who might want to write about Micro.blog. I’ve been focused on replying to questions about the service and book.

John Voorhees wrote for MacStories about the Kickstarter:

Micro.blog has a lot in common with social networks like Twitter, such as replies and favorites, but with an important difference. Instead of locking users into a proprietary system owned by someone else, the content created by individuals is owned and controlled by them. As part of the Micro.blog service, Reece is also building publishing tools with Markdown support, including a native iPhone app, to help people get started with microblogging.

John had interviewed me at WWDC last year about what I was up to. While I didn’t have the name Micro.blog yet back then, I was actively working on the service and you can hear many of the same themes from back in June as I’m saying today.

I thought Marco Arment summed up the urgency well:

We’ve all been pouring a lot more of our writing and attention into Twitter and Facebook than the rest of the web, and the diversity and decentralization of the web has suffered greatly. Far too much power now rests in far too few hands, and we’re starting to suffer tremendous consequences.

Reaction from the WordPress community has also been encouraging. I knew I wanted to reach WordPress fans, because Micro.blog works great with WordPress, but I’m not as plugged into that community. I was excited to see Matt Mullenweg tweet a link to it. And WP Tavern did an excellent write-up, mixing interview questions with previous posts of mine:

During his 14 years of blogging and 10 years of using Twitter, Reece became an advocate for the open web. He said he used to be excited about Twitter and built apps for the platform but grew disillusioned at their approach to locking down the API.

I’m thankful for local articles as well, such as this story from Silicon Hills News by Laura Lorek. Laura is just in the last day of her own Kickstarter campaign for a podcast companion to the Austin news site.

Not to mention blog posts from Brent Simmons, Gus Mueller, Becky Hansmeyer, Ben Brooks, Dave Peck, Chris Aldrich, John Johnston, and the hundreds of tweets and links I’ve seen over the last week. It’s really special to see it spread so far. Thank you again to everyone who has linked to the project.

Now that I’ve had a week to reflect on the campaign, and listen to feedback, I’m starting to form a much clearer picture of how the rest of the month needs to play out. This is the kind of opportunity that doesn’t come around very often. I’m looking forward for the work ahead.

Two weeks notice: press reviews

I need to set aside some time to contact folks in the press about my new project. I can tell just explaining the app to my friends that it’s confusing to understand on first glance. It’s different enough from existing social networks that it requires a high-level explanation for why I designed the architecture this way.

The short answer is that I wanted to build something open and extensible. Something that embraced the open web. By necessity that makes the concept a little more geeky than what has come before it. Having reviews of the product out in the wild even before the app is fully released may help get people thinking about what to expect.

Press for Sunlit

We’ve been really happy to see the reviews of Sunlit popping up around the web. With a new type of app like this, there’s always the risk that people won’t get it. But that hasn’t been a problem at all. I’ve included some quotes below.

Jon Russell on The Next Web:

“The design is beautifully clean and the app is easy to navigate. […] Sunlit is an easy way to curate a collection of images that you actually want to share.”

Federico Viticci on MacStories:

“You choose some photos that ‘tell a story’ – could be a trip, a family gathering, anything you want to remember – and the app pulls in their metadata for date and location. You can add text comments to jot down memories, import photos from Dropbox if you don’t keep them in the Camera Roll, and even add check-ins manually, from Foursquare, or from Steve Streza’s Ohai app.”

John Gruber on Daring Fireball:

“Sunlit has an interesting collaboration and sync model, based on App.net, and a clever integration of maps. You can publish stories on the web, but most of the features are geared toward private group sharing and collaboration through the app.”

Thorin Klosowski on Lifehacker:

“The app itself is great looking and provides fantastic maps to go along with your photos as well as a place to write down any thoughts you might have.”

Charlie Sorrel on Cult of Mac:

“Apps like Sunlit make sharing your pictures easy, fun and fast.”

Thanks to everyone who tried the app and told people about it. Version 1.0.1 was approved this week, and you can download it for free and upgrade inside the app. Enjoy!