Walled gardens in disguise



At the end of June, I subscribed to micro.blog with some amount of hope. Nine weeks later, I canceled my account.

Yeah, isn't that public timeline gorgeous? All pretty photos and thoughtful posts. Surprise! It's heavily curated. To the point of being suffocating in fact. You'll never going to see the real micro.blog community because there is no such thing.

Second, a big selling point of the service is that you syndicate your blog to it and then you can have conversations without having to self-host comments. Surprise! Most people syndicate their blogs all right, but then never seem to monitor their timeline, reply to comments or follow back. I'd blame them, but see above: the service doesn't encourage that kind of interaction. It wants people to share their oh-so-artistic photography and little else.

Oh, it's a lot more open than other walled gardens: hosted blogs get an RSS feed, and even federation via ActivityPub if you connect your domain name. How generous! write.as makes all that available on anonymous blogs. Not just the free plan. The anonymous plan.

As part of the IndieWeb movement, micro.blog is obsessed with identity. It wants to know that you are you and nobody else.

Real people have failings. Even the best of us are sometimes cranky or not at their most perceptive. Like, earlier this morning I argued with my friend fluffy about the aforementioned IndieWeb. Got to write a post about it, too.

I'll syndicate it manually to people who want to hear what I have to say and not just pretend we somehow live in a perfect world. Better that way.


Tags: social media, critique