@nitinkhanna @khurtwilliams It was a surprise to see Belle's post coming up again, nine months later! I didn't agree with what she wrote about owning one's content, and I said so at the time, but I do agree with her metaphor (which came right near the end of her posting) that said being on micro.blog was a lot like being at a party at Manton's house. I think that was especially true at the time she wrote her piece. But the website full of tutorials for beginners recently published by @Miraz at @custom has a good chance of totally blowing away that metaphor. I am hopeful that is the case and would prefer for Khurt to stay, as well.
@khurtwilliams yeah I didn’t realize that you’re specifically asking in context of that post. It’s old and I thought about it when she first posted it, but to me the salient points are - you don’t have to host your blog on here to support it. You can use his paid cross-posting features too. You don’t have to trust Manton to always be a good respondent. That’s why I tend to take posts from here and then run away with them... If I can reply on my blog, or someone else’s blog as comments, I do that. About the lack of support for the API and Android, well, I have no answers. Neither does Manton, I reckon. So it goes.
@nitinkhanna khurtwilliams I haven't read Belle's post either.
As an Android user and a Google enthusiast my interests may not be a good match for the ones of most Micro.blog users and possibly their values. And yet I find it's a community I'm able to engage with, and who engages with me. What's really important to me is the community's (re)discovery of and emphasis on blogging.
As for the platform, although it has a few rough edges and missing features I like Micro.blog and its approach to removing friction from blogging.
@nitinkhanna that approach hasn't worked well for. I am following six accounts. I can find dozens of developer accounts in just minutes. Not interested in them or their follows. Either idea that the community is diverse rings hollow or they are here and the discovery just makes it very difficult to find them.
@khurtwilliams So I agree the community is pretty developer heavy, but I also find that most of those developers have other insterests too. I'm not really here for any particular topics, just as a good place to host my blog and to follow intersting people. So I haven't had much trouble filling up my timeline with stuff and people I've found interesting. Some of what some folks post here isnt' of interest to me but often other things they post are. I guess it just depends on your goal. If you're looking for specific topics to talk to people about it may be harder, if you're just looking for people who post interesting things, often things you might not even realize you'd be interested in, then it it can work pretty well (assuming any of what they post is interesting to you of course!). One last bit, you mentioned you're interested in photography, have you gone through the pictures section of discover to find other photographers posting pictures who you could try to engage with to talk about the process?
Purely by accident, I discovered this with my posting about directories, search engines, indieweb and discovery. I started out posting just for myself, just a dump of thoughts and theories and to my surprise some people started responding, asking questions and providing their own input. I think I've tapped out that subject but that's what I would try. Pour it all on for six months on the topics you really want. Post for yourself and see if anyone comes aboard.
One last thought: You could also fill out your about page to tell people a bit more about what you're interested in. I noticed your current about section doesn't mention F1 for example.
But in the end it's possible Micro.blog really isn't the community for you. That's ok too. As others have pointed out you could move to a wordpress blog and just syndicate posts here, so if anyone here is interested in what you post about they could still find your posts, but you can use your wordpress blog to connect with other tools for discovery/community etc.
@khurtwilliams Forgive my verbosity but you struck a chord here. I had deleted my original micro blog account a while back and missed it dearly and ended coming back recently. My reason for leaving was different than yours but I'm really glad to be back. I kind of wish I would have just taken a break instead of deleting my account though.
Exploring people via Discover has been useful to me. Nobody's just a sofware developer or just anything. Though micro blog may "discourage search" as you say, I've found it does encourage exploration and discovery of new people and ideas (and blogs). There's a number of people who talk about a diverse range of topics if you explore. That's exactly how I found you and I've linked to Island in the Net from my 19-year-old daily pointers project 5 times since December. As a web "curator (of sorts)," I can't even express just how helpful this community has been to me (which pertains to more than just discovery).
I find it useful to explore a user's profile (such as micro.blog/khurtwill...) to see what things they talk about. Whether I find users to explore from Discover or from other people I follow (in their replies, etc.), the time put into exploration is worth it.
However, I understand your dissapointment first hand and if you want to quickly find people who share your interests, you might want to try searching Google for:
"formula 1" site:micro.blog
3 other things which might be helpful: 1) Post more and about things that interest you. 2) Engage with people who talk about (or share) things you're interested (a lot of photography in Discover, for example). Engagement makes it a community. 3) Follow more people (developers or not) and you'll be surprised at the diversity of ideas here.
Sharing is a funny animal. Its value is not found in how many responses one gets to something they share. If it was, I would have left the web long ago.
@khurtwilliams I'm glad to be the audience of your writing!
There are very obvious circles formed on m.b, just as there are on all these networks.
I butt into conversations often. Sometimes I make a fool of myself, other times I think I end up having a good conversation. I know it's not the ideal solution, but I don't know any better way to do this.
@joejenett Don’t assume I haven't tried. My complaints come after a year of trying. I’m not interesting in "working" at it. It’s not a selling point to encourage others to come to micro.blog. My experience does not what you have written about working at it.
Jean MacDonald, community manager at Micro.blog, wrote in a thread that …many of the people who sign up for an account aren’t interested in the social component..
NOTE: I tried the “Google search" trick. I found very few people that way.
@khurtwilliams I'm sorry it's not working for you. I understand your frustration at hearing the same suggestions over and over and feeling like they aren't working for you.
It's possible the people you're looking for just aren't here. At least not right now. But I hope you can find some communities somewhere that do work for you.
@khurtwilliams In the scheme of my online life, I get very little value from M.B. But I will add that I've never, ever found value from general-focus social media; and blogging has over the years decreased in value for me as well. Micro.blog is also not the kind of community I readily engage with -- not for lack of effort or interesting people, but for structural/technological reasons. For purposes of finding like-minded people, I gravitate towards, and find vastly more value in, topic-based web forums and chat servers on Discord (a chat/voice app originally designed for video games but has more diverse groups there now).
I wrote a bit about my experience in my recent blog post, "A house of infinite rooms." v.hierofalco.net/2019/06/1...
I keep my M.B account because there are still good folk here and it's an interesting place to peer into every so often. But for more intentional, focused "online socializing", M.B doesn't fit with my needs, and I've gone elsewhere.
@khurtwilliams I agree. I find that M.B's design encourages direct connections with particular people (who talk about topics of interest), whereas Twitter's hashtags are more conducive to the topics themselves, with the potential (but less emphasized) to get to know those particular people in the process. It's kind of what I meant by hubs and spokes in my blog post.
I can see the appeal of M.B, as it fosters deeper interaction and you become invested into persons on an individual, holistic level, instead of merely seeing them from one-dimension only. However, this kind of online social engagement does not interest me nowadays, as I prefer to focus on topics of discussion and nothing more. Structurally, M.B's goals don't coincide well with mine. It took me a few months of lurking around here to realize this. I don't think that's a problem, it just means that if I want better returns on my attention and engagement, I have to go elsewhere.
@vega I think you have identified something important here. There is some overlap because it is possible to become invested in individuals on Twitter, but the design of Twitter leans it more to topics and less on "direct connections with particular people." This explanation has been eluding me for some time. There has been some reason I haven't felt engaged with MB for several months.
MB is a place online, where one can find decent and civilized human contact about generalities. Coffee shop conversation. But as @khurtwilliams points out, specific topics are ephemeral and finding them difficult on MB.
This lack of deeper topical engagement and discovery thereof, on MB is a double edged sword: it prevents Twitter pile-ons, but it leaves many of us, not quite satisfied. This could be a problem for long term retention. I'd like to see if MB can increase the topical aspect a bit without losing the direct connections aspect which I also value.
@bradenslen @vega @khurtwilliams I'm starting a new reply here to make it easier to branch this conversation about topics... I think there's a lot more we can do with the Discover emoji, but I want to hear other ideas too. There are really 2 parts to this: finding posts that already exist, and encouraging new posts in different topics. Micro.blog is still small, so the most value comes from solving both of those together.
Write substantial posts on your favorite topics. Include a question for discussion, and perhaps a cover photo. For some reason pretty posts get more chit-chat. 🤷🏼♀️
Expand tagmoji types (?) and take on an unofficial role as your tagmoji’s ambassador. Welcome new people of your tagmoji and facilitate some discussion. Toss out a question.
I could easily see some interest groups forming around programming, photography, travel, language, writing, teaching, and parenting.
Webrings by topic?
I’m just thinking out loud. 🙂
@manton I'm going to post this on GitHub as well but just wanted to put it here in the context of the conversation. A couple of technical suggestions:
My assumption is that the mechanics are complicated for both of these things but I think a decent design can help conversation; for example, discovery on Twitter means absolutely nothing to me because the design of the whole thing, especially threading is just awful and only causes me to become confused and overwhelmed.
@simonwoods Thanks! Conversation improvements (and reply length limits) are something I've been working on. The current UI is great for a few replies, but not good for very long conversations like this one. 🙂
@bradenslen @manton @vega @khurtwilliams I realized something while reading Brad's post - that my m.b discovery is actually exported. I actually discover most of the topics through RSS. For example, I'm having a conversation with Eddie Hinkle that I found on his site, but came to m.b to chat with him about.
This is a roundabout thing and not everyone does it, because - 1. This is not easy to do, since there's no easy link between m.b and people's sites (whether or not they're hosted on m.b; and this is by design, to keep people's blogs independent of m.b cruftware). So I find a person's m.b profile (which they mostly link to on their blogs, but often, don't), find the relevant post, and reply to it.
I guess that what m.b is trying to do - be a conversation centric service, while allowing feed inputs, is a difficult thing to do. If it were like WordPress Reader (or a social feed reader), posts would get more space, and conversation would be pushed down, which would then need a further space for conversations (a la Facebook), which would then require a notifications center, which is a spiral we don't need to go down.
Instead, this flat model makes older things difficult to find, but great to follow in the moment, or if you're all about low volume, then you're fine finding old content.
Just some more fodder for thought.
@nitinkhanna What if every WordPress.com and JetPack enabled WordPress.org website supported Webmention, Micropub and Microsub? What if replies in WordPress conversation which started via WordPress Reader could be a new blog post on the commenters WordPress website? The comments and blog post would originate on the commenters website where they could retain 100% control? Full IndieWeb.
@bradenslen This is interesting for me to read (about twitter being more about topics). For me that's not the way I use Twitter at all. I almost never follow hashtags or so searches for topics. I use Twitter almost exclusively to follow specific people and what they want to tweet/retweet. I have a list of people I know in real life that is the main timeline I follow, and my "main" timeline is them plus a lot of other people I dont' knwo in real life but have found interesting. I discover poeple primarily through retweets, or from outside twitter, or from recomendations by other people. I do find Twitter and MB pretty different in their feel but it's not becuase I use one for topics and the other for people.
@simonwoods I 100% agree on the exceprt field. I think one of the biggest problems on MB for encourageing engagement is that anything longer than 280 characters just becomes as single title with a link, which doesn't tell the reader much and requires extra action to see what something is about.
I think an excerpt field would be great, and for posts imported from places that don't support that (and maybe as a default if you dont' want to fill it out) just the first 280 characters of a post would be a good place to start.
Also agree on threading, maybe less so on the limits though.
@simonwoods Yes! This would be a huge improvement for me on the web (which is where I end up using MB the most since I'm on a PC at work).
@khurtwilliams Gone back to your original post to respond. I “found” you today because of your conversation with people I follow. I know what you mean; I’m no developer, was a backer, but I’m finding it ok here. I also rather like F1, as it happens. I got into IndieWeb because of here - my posts come from a WP blog, though long posts tend to come from a different blog. It’s not easy, but I’m finding new friends over time.
@khurtwilliams we're nowhere close to that and WP won't support it.
But the IndieWeb is basically going in that direction. There are implementation discussions where people disagree on the nitty-gritties, but the overall is pretty awesome!
I've tried micropub (or was it microsub) but it seemed cumbersome the way it's setup right now. If my WP blog could do everything, including be a reader, I would be all in.
But that's my own laziness in not figuring it out... It's definitely worth doing if one found the right community there.
@DrOct Perhaps I should have said Twitter "lends itself to"? Twitter has so many features that one can use it however they want. When I first came to Twitter I knew nobody online so I had to use topics to follow accounts that seemed to be talking about stuff I was interested in. But everybody approaches Twitter from a different place and your experience is certainly valid.
I still keep coming back to search in some way, and I know this is a huge resource hog, but that is the primary way I find topics on Twitter.
Another way might be to have spaces for subject keywords of topics they are interested in in their profile page and then make those profiles searchable. That way it's opt in. Still it seems clunky like 1990's meta tags but it might help us find like minded people.
Do something to encourage grass roots catagoriazation be it lists like @JohnPhilpin is doing or webrings or some otther method.
This is just a vague thought: somehow having timeline discussions appear on hosted blogs will help. The commercial search engines will index them and that should better lead people to threads and members participating. It's roundabout but the cost is low.
Badges? Make up a list of topics you want to see covered more and then when somebody posts X number of posts on a subject they get a new badge. You could keep the list of subjects secret like an Easter egg - you don't know it's there until you trip it. That might be fun but I worry about quality of the posts.
These are just off the top of my head.
@bradenslen Just to be clear I wasn't trying to say that either way of using it is more right or wrong, just that the idea of using Twitter for topics is very different from the way I've always used it. I remember Jack Dorsey saying recently that "twitter works best when based around topics rather than people" and I was baffled that the owner of Twitter would have such a radically different idea of whats best on the service from me. It does explain a lot of the choices the company has made that I haven't been too happy with.
@macgenie @khurtwilliams Another useful tip on this front is to post a Micro Monday following recommendation aggregating a few people you know are interested in a particular topic. As an example, I posted one about a few educators and researchers I knew on micro.blog in July 2018 and it quickly blew up with lots of additional recommendations from others following me within the community.
Over time I've kept up with adding to it, and even within the last month that post is still helping to benefit others on the service: <blockquote>blair says: "@c this made me very happy, thanks for tagging me, I’ve now got a bunch more interesting folks to follow!" May 30, 2019 at 4:28 pm</blockquote>
@macgenie I've been thinking about this thread for some time now and my own experience this week brings me back to it. To reply to something you said in your post:
“Anything that meets our guidelines gets added, while striving not to have one person or topic dominate the feed.”
There's 60-65 posts in the discovery feed right now with dates going back to 6/25. I am sure that's a tiny percentage of posts meeting the guidelines since the evening of 6/25. My point is this. It is hard to discover new people or to be discovered with such a limited representation on the Discover page (and discover/photos too).
Curation is what I do, so for me it's not like work to explore and find new people and sites, though I'll be the first to acknowledge that it takes a lot of time. That's why I responded to @khurtwilliams as a did - he was right to say it was a lot of work.
Only a fraction of things meeting the guidelines get added. I think all members of the community deserve to be included in Discover now and then. Going weeks, even months at a time without being included can make one feel kinda invisible. Just saying.
@khurtwilliams See also the recent post from @macgenie for the ideal characteristics. I’ve got an archive of all of the recommendations I’ve made (some posts better examples than others; no-one I can recall who had made a point of being an F1 fan, though, but in terms of photography, my very first recommendation @desparoz should fit the bill).
@joejenett Thanks for the feedback. Remember that Micro.blog is still small. As the community grows, this will be less of an issue. (Spreading the word about Micro.blog really helps.) The goal of Discover is to be a good representation of all posts, even if not everything is included. I also want to fix the 60-post limit in Discover, so that as there are more posts they aren't all in the last day, and to improve search. Discover isn't and shouldn't be the only way to find people.
@smokey I'm all in on F1, I just don't talk about it very much on my site, maybe because these last few years have been a procession? I'm waiting for the new rules and cars to kick in and then I can get into it.
The issue is that until the discover emoji gets added for F1 and other categories, you can't really form a mini-community around a subject. Of course that also means that a subject cannot be targetted and flamed like on Twitter...so you have to keep looking for find those that like a subject and that will interact more regularly.
If you don’t mind me asking, did you have a specific goal for your micro blog?
I’m asking because I just recently made MB the blogging component of my main site/portfolio. The goal of MB for me was to have an easy to use method of blogging, which it is delivering on. In the process, I ended up finding a community that talks about a wide array of things. For me as a photographer it’s a good thing, as it keeps my mind away from the exposure triangle while I work on my next project.
I know that doesn’t address your points about discovery, but I’m genuinely curious as to how do you think of finding community vs what would you like to find community in.
I’m specially curious because I like to write about the effect social media and social networks have on people (I shot an editorial on the subject), and am thinking about my next editorial piece.
@manton I'm with you when it comes to finding people (see my post in this thread from 6/18). In this case, I was really talking about the being found type of thing. You might recall we communicated privately in the past about discover/photos and my disappointment with never showing up there - I was good with your response back then. With the time that's passed since then though, the situation hasn't changed much and I guessd I wanted to express the new-felt disappointment I was feeling this week. I appreciate your responding and understand. Not to worry, I'm not going anywhere and still love what's happening here (and promote Micro.blog now and then from my 'webthings'). It's a real community here. Carry on.
@joejenett I have the same disappointed feeling I suppose. Not in the same degree as the “I’m leaving micro.blog” folks but I do often feel like there is a clique in Discover. It kind of reminds me when people figured out how to game Flickr’s “Explore” section. Sure there would be some new photo blood in the Explore mix but a small set of folks tended to dominate it and even more so a certain style dominated to the exclusion of others I would say had equal or superior merit. There were even several guides stating how to “make it” in Flickr’s Explore - and sadly they worked. Generally speaking I have no problem with the @macgenie post on the approach to Discover. Yet the approach seems to result in exclusions I can’t quite be settled with.I suppose it is an inevitable “eye of the beholder” problem.
@ronguest It is tricky, because it is by definition subjective on both sides! Eventually we will have better tools to help human curators notice if something is being overlooked. In some cases we just miss a post that could have been included. We do strive to give exposure to contributors outside the dominant demographic here to encourage folks from other backgrounds to give Micro.blog a chance. Because we are not very diverse as a group, those contributors will come up more often than others. (And I recognize I have a bias toward photos of kids and pets. I will see if it helps to rein that in a bit.) I would hate for something I create to feel cliquey, or promote cliqueishness, so thanks for the input.
The issue is that until the discover emoji gets added for F1 and other categories, you can't really form a mini-community around a subject.
Yeah, that’s the Catch-22; no one uses/knows to use the emoji in posts because it’s not already in Discover, but it won’t get added to Discover unless there’s use.
And we haven’t had a tagmoji addition in a long time; we probably should bug @manton more frequently about proposed tagmoji that are seeing use (certainly 🏏—and I think there’s a growing community for 🧶 based on photos, but the emoji itself is not widely used).
There are other folks I can think of who post landscapes/cityscapes/birds now and then, but for most it’s a “when that subject is available” type thing, rather than a focus—which I understand is part of your frustration, that’s there’s not a large, dedicated group of professional/enthusiast photographers here (I’m not aware of one, either).
@pip and @johnpeterharvey are two who (only) post photo-a-day, and they do have some landscapes. @tgray has some great Iceland scenes, but also posts about physics and such ;-) @Gabz periodically posts photos of Boise. @dswanson’s done a few birds, as have @Miraz and @tones and @johnjohnston, but they all post lots of other things. I’ll stop there, because I don’t want to just toss out a huge list of people who only partly meet your criteria, because I know that’s frustrating.
@macgenie I can easily imagine it is tricky and I don’t in any way feel there is any bad intent. I’ll follow up with you via email as I think that is the best way for a topic like this. I appreciate your note.
@simonwoods love the excerpt idea. My marketing hat being on, it could literally populate the meta description for SEO, which currently just includes the first X characters of the post