On Monday, I launched my Kickstarter project about independent microblogging, with a focus on owning your own content and making blogging easier. On Tuesday, Lindy West left Twitter in a post about Twitter’s inability to deal with harassment. On Wednesday, Ev Williams announced that Medium would lay off 50 employees.
The message is clear. The only web site that you can trust to last and have your interests at heart is the web site with your name on it.
That’s the main goal with Micro.blog. Build a service and write a book that makes independent blogging more approachable. No one knows exactly what the web will look like in 10 years, but we can take the first step to get there. If you’ve been frustrated by the ad-based silos and waiting for a reason to post to your own site again, I’d love your support.
There’s new activity at the W3C around independent blogging, with new proposals recently posted as working drafts. Helped by a push from the IndieWebCamp, two of the highlights include:
- Micropub: Simple format for adding content to your site from native apps.
- Webmention: Modern replacement for Pingback/Trackback, for handling cross-site replies.
I want to support these in my new web app. At launch, I hope to allow Micropub POSTs alongside the classic XML-RPC Blogger API (and my own native JSON API).
And of course the IndieWebCamp is also known for POSSE: publish on your own site, syndicate elsewhere. That strategy has helped me refine my own cross-posting.
I don’t think it’s my imagination that more and more people are blogging again. Now’s the time to resume your blog, start a microblog, and take back the future of the web from silos. If we can roll some of these new standards into what we’re building and writing about, the open web will be on the right track.
As a follow-up on Twitter and links, I want to point to this great post from Rian Van Der Merwe about platform silos as “shortcuts”:
“The point is that publishing on Medium and Twitter and Facebook gives you an immediate shortcut to a huge audience, but of course those companies’ interests are in themselves, not in building your audience, so it’s very easy for them to change things around in a way that totally screws you over (remember Zynga? Yeah, me either).”
My current thinking on Medium is that it’s a shortcut to building an audience for a single post, but doesn’t really help build a true audience. In other words, you will get more exposure, and maybe one of your posts will be lucky enough to be recommended and included in Medium’s daily email, but after someone finds it they aren’t as likely to read your other posts and subscribe to your entire site.
We can’t talk about silos like Twitter and Medium without talking about cross-posting. Noah Read says:
“While it is relatively easy to post to a blog, syndicating that content to Twitter, Facebook, or Medium still requires additional configuration, which many users won’t do. I think it would be in blogging software’s interest to make these POSSE features a standard part of their core product. In order for the open web to not lose ground, ironically they will need to play nicer with closed platforms than they are likely to receive in return.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about this too. For beta users of my new product, I’ve been telling people to use IFTTT to wire up cross-posting to Twitter. But that’s another step that will be confusing to people — an opportunity to lose interest and give up. Cross-posting should be a core feature.