When I started building Micro.blog, I tried to limit dependencies on external platforms. The main connection is via cross-posting, which is an optional feature and not what I consider the core platform. So for example, I resisted integrating tweets into Micro.blog’s timeline, even as many people asked for it.
We are seeing now with Twitter’s implosion why that matters. I didn’t think Twitter was going to last forever, but Elon Musk has greatly accelerated Twitter’s fall beyond what I expected even when I was most pessimistic about massive, centralized platforms.
Even so, I find myself this week investing time into keeping Twitter cross-posting in Micro.blog going for a little longer. I’ve rewritten the API from version 1.1 to 2.0. Auth has to change to make that work, and an unfortunate side effect is that photo upload also has to change. I’m forced to simplify tweets so that they link back to your blog for photos.
Twitter’s paid API rollout have been chaotic. Bridgy developer Ryan Barrett found that Bridgy’s API access was shut off already, weeks ahead of the expected April 29th deadline:
The silver lining is, after all the chaos and destruction and flight to the fediverse, Twitter doesn’t feel nearly as important now as it did half a year ago.
Back in 2012 when I stopped using Twitter, I would never have guessed that 10+ years later I might be paying Twitter $100/month for the privilege of using the API. But I don’t like shutting off a feature without warning. The compromise I’ve come up with is to continue supporting Twitter cross-posting for a limited time.
Here’s where I see things going from here:
- After I finish testing the new Twitter code, I will deploy it to Micro.blog. This will happen within a few days.
- I will email every Micro.blog user who currently has Twitter cross-posting enabled, letting them know they will need to sign in to re-enable Twitter posting, and that the feature is winding down.
- We will update the documentation and provide some tips for moving away from Twitter.
- After 2-3 months, the Twitter feature will be turned off.
In a bit of “lemonade from lemons” good news, I’m working on something new for Twitter users that we can control. Tweet archive import! We had a version of this feature a few years ago in Micro.blog but had to disable it because it wasn’t quite right. I’m taking those lessons and also my experience building Tweet Library to make something that will last.
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