Self-hosted microblogging, where does it fit?
With the official rollout announcement of Micro.blog to Kickstarter backers I find myself thinking about exactly how I'm going to use it and what impact it may have on my current activity.
It also brings back to mind the issues related to cross-posting I previously considered.
Micro.blog is a social platform, there's no getting away from it and more on this later, but one where users have the option to own their content - at least their original posts as opposed to replies they might make directly on the service.
The self-hosting of microposts creates a multi-layered environment where intent and purpose are key. New posts will originate from your own blog (syndicated into the social feed) or from within a client application (then posted back to your own property) and I can see where you post influencing what you post.
Conversations become something separate, their own thing held entirely within the social platform. Webmentions may provide reply notification to your blog but the conversation itself is purely, and should be, a social construct thanks to the context of its creation.
By self-hosting microposts they are already being cross-posted which gives a duality to the content and, perhaps, a distinct separation between intended audiences.
I have fully embraced microblogging as another means of posting to my blog, and will continue to do so even if Micro.blog closes or I decide to stop using it. This extra layer, however, makes me think about these different audiences and how the different types of post are exposed to them.
As a social channel also becomes a distribution channel I wonder (and worry) about the duplication of content and exactly how connected, or separate, the blog and microblog should actually be.
A visitor to the blog will see all post types but a follower on the social platform needs the link shared for a full post in order for it to be visible. This, however, creates that duplication for the direct visitor.
There is already a division of sorts in that the main RSS feed does not include the short form items but should this extend to the site itself?
A first world problem if ever there was one but one that, I feel, deserves at least passing attention to preserve the experience of each audience.
For a blogger, like myself, the intent is usually to merge these audiences wherever possible, converting followers into readers.
But this will only happen with a subset of the former.
Any conversion from follower to regular reader, however small, relies on engagement within the social environment.
Despite my recent dissatisfaction with social networks I see Micro.blog as an opportunity to begin again and define an environment that is more conducive to sensible, tolerant discussion.
The ownership and enhanced proximity to our words (because they are also held on our own sites) combined with the "safety first" approach to community management means that this should become an environment we want to engage with rather than just a self-promotional link dump.
If that was the only reason to use it then we might as well stick with Twitter.