Use this space to cheer the creator along, ask questions, and talk to your fellow backers. Please remember to be respectful and considerate. Thanks!
Nick: Yes, rather than sending special invites, there's a URL you can visit to get access to the Slack team. Check out the "Slack community" update in the Updates tab for details.
Ruffin: Thanks for the feedback, and for backing the project even with some skepticism. I just read your post and you ask some good questions. I think part of the answer is in your "truly open" phrase, since open means different things to different people. Specifically with the community manager, in the "New feature and stretch goal" update I tried to outline the strategy, which is that publishing is open — it's your own site, your own domain, open APIs — but that management can still happen in protecting users from replies and notifications without "censoring" the actual posts.
@Manton Thanks for the reply. I used different plugins but a similar approach and I'm pretty pleased with the outcome. Can't wait to use micro.blog instead :)
Partially related, did you end up sending the Slack invites? I never got one...
Okay, I'll bite. How can you have a truly open service that includes content management? Are there really two systems?
(AIA if I missed that explanation -- I read through the comments quickly, but could've missed it.)
Congratulations Manton on such a resounding funding success! I wish you as much success with the microblog revolution!
Yay! Start of a (micro) revolution ;)
Thanks everyone! I'm so excited to move to the next steps of finishing the book and launching Micro.blog. Means a lot to me that we were able to hit the stretch goal.
Answering a few questions...
Colin: Currently if you host somewhere else, the username.micro.blog URL is reserved for you but doesn't actually go anywhere. I'd like to open it up so that it can be pointed anywhere, which will also help portability for people who don't have their own custom domain yet. That's not implemented yet, though, so will have to follow later.
Paul: Absolutely, I want to encourage any developer (Android or other platforms) to build clients both specifically for Micro.blog and more broadly for indie microblogging.
Nick: That 2015 post is pretty good in terms of some general WordPress tips, but the "iPhone" and "tweeting" sections are out of date. I now use Micro.blog itself for those because it just handles it much better than other solutions.
Way to go, Manton. Congrats!
Great stuff, Manton. Does your 2015 blog post on Wordpress microblogging still apply? (I've decided to go ahead and do it)
Congratulations! Happy it went so overwhelmingly well! Chiming in with the others, I'm happy to help with any German translation!
Woo! Congratulations Manton!
Great news that I made it as a supporter here with 90 minutes to go (I only heard about this today). Love the idea and want to see this succeed. If there are no plans for an Android App, would you consider letting 3rd parties make clients?
Congratulations, Happy to support your project, and I hope all the best for the feature steps.
I join Riccardo if ever need help with French localisation, get in touch.
Congratulations on hitting the stretch goal, Manton! Can't wait to start using it!
Hi Manton — I'm very happy this project has successfully reached its goals, and I'm glad to be one of the backers. Really looking forward to the next stage(s).
By the way, if it grows to a point that localisation is needed for the user interfaces, I could certainly take care of Italian, possibly even Spanish.
All the best!
Congratulations, Manton!! looking to see how this unfolds but once it is rolled out and folks utilize it, others will follow suit!
Manton - this sounded so good I just had to create a Kickstarter account and back it (I hope you reach your stretch goal but it's going to be tight!)
I know Dave Winer has been calling for a "decentralised Twitter" since 2008 but couldn't see them playing nicely (especially with the restrictions on API access and deveopers etc.) so an independent solution was the only way this was going to happen.
I like the sound of the security setup - it's just like how Medium operates when you can't sign in with your social account. Agreed, SMS would be a nice to have but is obviously a bit more effort to set up so probably not worth the investment in the first instance.
A quick question: if you are not hosting the micro blog does the vanity URL redirect to our own WordPress blog? I know everything will be explained in full later but just curious how it will work.
Thanks for a great idea, I hope it's a success.
Will: Thanks! Micro.blog is a little unique in that it actually has no passwords, and instead relies on sending an email to confirm sign-ins (with app-specific authorization tokens for other apps). I'd like to explore adding SMS verification to this as well later. Making it secure is definitely important to me. Looking forward to your feedback.
Frank: I agree. It's risky to have so much content concentrated in one place, too. I hope that when users have a microblog at their own domain that it will be empowering. Whether they're writing about a hobby or posting photos from a protest, it's worth owning.
After the events in the U.S. this past weekend, it is possible that this concept might reach phenomenal heights given that the press is under the gun. Freedom of information will always win!
Manton, this all sounds great, and cheers to you and to us for backing to make this happen. Question: will two-factor authentication be supported or is it envisioned as a later feature? With the current hostile climate to privacy and security, 2-factor of some kind is becoming more important to me personally, and to movements about which I care. Hoping this can be or may soon will be incorporated into your plans. Discuss when you have a moment, please. Awesome!
Hi everyone. Just 5 days left! I'm catching up on a few replies here...
Daniel: I have an Android device I can test with, but I'll probably need to rely heavily on the Android community for feedback. I'll also do what I can to encourage Android apps that work well with Micro.blog. I'd like the web version to work well on both desktop browsers and modern smartphones.
Spencer: Yes, cross-posting to Twitter is a built-in feature. It's pretty smart about cleanly tweeting when under 140 characters, and truncating if necessary (without cutting words in half) and linking back to the main blog post. It will be included if you decide to host your blog on Micro.blog, but may be an optional paid feature if you host your blog somewhere else.
Eelke: There won't be a way to run an identical version of Micro.blog yourself at the beginning. It's something I'd like to explore later. Instead, if you want to self-host you can just use existing weblog software like WordPress.
Because there are no plans for an android based app, those users will have to rely on the mobile version of the website. How well is that optimized? and has it been tested well on android devices?
I personally use an iPhone so it doesn't bother me too much but i'm just curious :)
Will auto-posting to Twitter be a feature of the app/platform? Obviously it wold need to be under 140 but it would be great for tweet storms and the like.
Great initiative. What has me worried a little bit is that there still is a central service. Even though your individual posts can be in your own site, the "glue" is still a central service. It does your plan include a way for others to run a service just like micro.blog?
Michel: There are a couple different levels of support. For example, posting from the Micro.blog iPhone app requires certain APIs and has special support for WordPress, but should still work in some other blogging platforms. I'll work on getting a more complete list after testing. But at a basic level, any blog that can produce an RSS feed can be tied into Micro.blog. RSS is the foundation so that you can use many existing tools.
What other blog engines will be supported apart from wordpress and jekyll?
Mark: Hosting a microblog for you is the main benefit of the paid account. There may be some other features such as automatic cross-posting that are included in a paid account, or split into a smaller paid tier, but to be honest I haven't completed settled on that because I wanted to wait to hear from backers first. What I can say for sure: most of the basics will be free if you bring your own WordPress blog, and the $20 and up reward levels on Kickstarter will include all paid features.
Some things I don't understand - if I'm planning to add a microblog feed to my existing WordPress site, is there any advantage to having a paid account? Can I mirror my content on micro.blog? Does the paid version give benefits other than hosting?
Cris: Thanks, I will definitely be covering this in the book. In fact, I've been thinking a lot about the issue of harassment in particular. I plan to send a longer update to backers early next week with how I want to approach this for Micro.blog.
I can see how decentralised networks can help with one group of problems with current 'social' (in truth 'commercial') networks: content ownership and portability. These essentially have an economic solution, ie. cutting the knot with advertising. I'm less clear though on the solution to the other group of issues: fake news, harassment, etc. Would be most interested to see you outline your thoughts on such matters in your book.
Jonathan: Thank you! I think it helps just to encourage people to use WordPress and other blogging tools (probably what you're already doing), since the main goal is getting more people to write on their own web sites. Maybe in the future there will be specific steps and tutorials that hosting companies can offer... I'll think about this while working on the book.
Thrilled to support the mission. I'm a believer in the open web (and the IndieWeb movement), and currently work at a major independent web hosting company with a massive focus on WordPress and the open web.
How do you envision web hosts being able to help increase the likelihood of success of indie microblogging? What can we do to help advance the cause?
Ross: Thank you! Here are my answers... Happy to answer in more detail if anyone has questions, either here or over private message and email.
1) I built the Tweet Marker API which has been used by 1 million users, and I've shipped a bunch of other web apps, iOS apps, and Mac apps. I was Twitter user 897 so I know the service and its shortcomings well. I've been blogging for over 14 years at manton.org and care deeply about the open web and independent publishing.
2) The current Micro.blog web site is a placeholder. There's a separate domain (with SSL!) that has been running the prototype for over a year. You're right, "today" is confusing and I should have updated that. You can't sign up yet, but I'll be inviting backers first, as soon as the Kickstarter campaign finishes. The iPhone app is mostly done (and an early version was already approved by Apple). I'd like to make further improvements before rolling it out to everyone.
Hi. This looks great and I'm pleased to be able to support it.
I have a couple of questions.
1) What are your credentials, who are you and what have you previously done that might give us confidence that you can pull this off?
2) The http://micro.blog site (you have an SSL cert, right?!) says: "Start a microblog today.". Does this mean that the platform already exists and we can sign up somehow? What is the current status of the platform and app?
Cris: Thanks! I'll have API documentation before the book is ready, likely with the initial rollout of Micro.blog to Kickstarter backers. Looking forward to sharing it with developers and getting feedback as early as possible.
@Manton I'm delighted by the success of your Kickstarter here, and think it's a great mission. I'm musing over putting an Android client together. I'd guess, given the values behind the whole notion (and that you have no plans for one yourself), that you'd welcome this. The main question that arises is when enough information is likely to be available for third-party apps to be written. Though there's mention below of documentation, I imagine this is going to be a hard ask in the short term. So do you think the book launch itself will mark when third parties can really get on board?
Hi, and congratulations!
I think your video was great! Although I didn't watch it before I decided to back, it reassured me that this is exactly the things that needs to be done with the web.
@Martin Grider: I do exactly that (import tweets into a WordPress install) using this plugin (which I wrote): https://wordpress.org/plugins/keyring-social-importers/
Troy: Thanks! Posts can contain simple HTML, so in the screenshot that's actually someone's microblog that just has an embedded image. I do want to make posting photos as easy as possible from the Micro.blog iPhone app. (I haven't thought as much about video yet.)
Really looking forward to this, Manton.
Regarding the length limit: Twitter went with 140 due to their early focus on text messaging, but that is often just a bit short. App.net used 256 IIRC, which felt like it afforded a good length for slightlly longer posts, and I can see upping that a bit. I just wanted to suggest that rather than 280 (double Twitter, obviously), you perhaps just round that up 300?
Also, I noticed a picture in one of the screenshots. Do you have any more info to provide on what kind of media/attachment support will be included?
Jeff: Thanks for the feedback. I agree, and I'll try to get more documentation out very soon. Currently there's a JSON API, XML-RPC, RSS, and a couple other things. Up next is Micropub support. I'd love to work with more developers on what is needed.
I would love to see API documentation sooner rather than later, if possible. I'm a fellow iOS developer and share Manton's perspective on self-hosting - so I'd love to see if there are any clever things that can be done as a 3rd party.
Will: Thanks! It's not downloadable software. Instead, the book is about how to use existing software like WordPress, Jekyll, and others to get started with microblogging, and Micro.blog helps tie everything together with a timeline UI, cross-posting, APIs, and apps. If you don't want to use other tools, you can also let Micro.blog handle everything and it will host a microblog for you.
To clarify: is this downloadable software that we can host ourselves, and you provide a hosted freemium version? Let's call it the "Wordpress model". If so, what is the software written in? PHP, Node etc.? Either way, I'm happy you're keeping RSS going. Hopefully this will keep people from abandoning feeds for social media, even if it's just a little bit.
This is super important. I wonder if there is a wordpress plugin (yet) that imports/migrates old tweets to wordpress.
Just thinking about the android app thing, there was a lovely android client for app.net called Robin which is now up on github. If someone feels like it, that might be a place to start: https://scruffyfox.github.io/Robin-Website/
Personally I'm looking forward to getting on the web interface and digging into the APIs...
Kristian: No plans currently for an official Android app, but I'd love to see one. There also may be some existing Android blogging apps that support the posting APIs, which would provide limited support until a full client was available.
Will there be official Android app?
Thanks everyone! I've been answering questions in messages as they come in, but I wanted to comment on a few more here just so other people can see them...
Jackson: I updated the FAQ to better explain the free and paid plans. The main difference is whether you want Micro.blog to host your microblog for you, or whether you want to bring an existing blog from WordPress or another platform.
Paul: Yes, the iOS app is universal and works on both iPhone and iPad. There are multiple APIs, so I hope other platforms can be supported in the future (by me or other developers).
Michel: I like 280 characters. It's enough that you never feel that you have to abbreviate words or ruin punctuation, but it's short enough to still encourage quick, easy posting. I'll be listening to feedback about this to see if the limits need tweaking. (The iPhone app also colors the counter in blue under 140 characters, in case you want to post to Twitter without truncation.)
I'm very pleased to see the success this is having. It's going to be fascinating to see how the project evolves and well done for putting the idea and then this Kickstarter project together.