Cheri's Hypertext Monster

03 Apr 2021

Three Years of Micro.Blog

Three years ago this month, I made my first post on Micro.Blog. Happy microblogaversary to me!

When it comes to blogging, I shift around like a tabby cat in search of that perfectly comfy spot. Perhaps that’s why I’ve moved from a hosted micro.blog to syndication on micro.blog, and back again. In recent years I’ve had anywhere from one to three blogs going at the same time. But after three years of experimentation, this picky feline has found her comfy place. I have a public-facing website for work, and I have this micro.blog, a humble, non-indexed place where I can be myself, warts, hobbies, quirks, and all.

In fact, when I decided to make hypertext.monster my permanent personal blog, I removed my last name and a lot of my work-related links from this site. I don’t mind that ya’ll know what I do (quite the contrary) but I’m not here for work, you know?

Early on, @Manton and @Jean said they wanted to create a safe place for bloggers. In my view, that’s what they’ve done. And I’m not talking about “safe spaces” in the sense that speech is curtailed or everyone has the same political bent. Micro.blog is “safe” in that community standards are maintained in cross-blog communication. I’ve bumped into a few grouches on micro.blog, and a couple folks who seem over-eager to take offense. (don’t ask) In other words, I’ve seen the kind of behavior that’s common on the Internet’s finest shouting parlors. Humanity online is still… humanity online. Yet, when I decided not to follow those folks, their posts aren’t shoved in my face by some algorithm. Coexistence is made possible.

It works.

But more than merely working, there are unique benefits to being here. On micro.blog, some of my “blog buddies” may as well come from a different solar system than me. And I love this! I’m a left-coast, old-school feminist, quasi-libertarian, (details redacted), childfree, Godzilla-loving, slightly-sweary married chick, yet many of the bloggers I enjoy chatting with on micro.blog have entirely different lives and perspectives than me. Being here reminds me that the so-called-divisions we take for granted are so often constructed by the media zeitgeist. Effective, enforced community standards make those enriching interactions possible.

Could micro.blog be invaded by jerks someday? I suppose that’s possible. But as the community is set up to give them neither heat nor light, my hunch is that most would simply slink away to a more advantageous algorithm. You might say that the lack of toxic incentives creates a self-selecting community of non-toxic people.

So what is micro.blog? Is it a blogging platform? A social media replacement? To me, it’s a community of friendly people who you might have found on a bulletin board or a neighborhood listserv back in the day. It’s what we all hoped the internet might become, back before it became something else entirely.

Lately, I’ve been amused by posts from micronauts talking about the other blogging platforms they can’t wait to try. In a community of tech-loving early adopters, this isn’t surprising or a bad thing. But I won’t be surprised to see my peers follow the same path I’ve walked. Swing out for a while to try new things. SPICY NEW PLATFORMS! Oh my! HOW INTRIGUING… But later on, most will come back to micro.blog. Why? Because this place feels like home. It’s welcoming and safe; you can be yourself here. You don’t need to be a coder to participate. And on the modern internet, all of those things are rare and beautiful qualities indeed.