We also talk about dogs as a very good reason for microblogging, and Tyler explains what the difference between a Morkie and a Jorkie is.
We also talk about dogs as a very good reason for microblogging, and Tyler explains what the difference between a Morkie and a Jorkie is.
Kicking off the new year with a chat with Ana, who lives in Portugal. It’s the third in our unintentional series of visits with microbloggers in that country. Ana talks about why she likes Micro.blog and what she’s learned as a member of the community, including the fact that there are more than a few introverts.
This week’s guest is Helge, a Norwegian living in Portugal. He’s been on Micro.blog since the Kickstarter launch in 2017, but he has become more active on his microblog during the pandemic. He has many interests and hobbies, from photography to German cinema to smoking meats. We try to cover them all in this episode.
⭐️ Sunlit 3.2 is now available in the App Store. Sunlit is our companion to Micro.blog just for photos. The new version adds a sharing extension, bookmarks, and more.
🗳 If you’re in the United States, Election Day is tomorrow. Please vote. For voting locations in your area, visit vote411.org.
📅 It’s November which means it’s time for the 2nd annual Microblogvember challenge! Post to your microblog each day using the word prompt and you’ll earn a special pin. It’s a fun way to get into the routine of posting to your own site. (It’s okay if you missed the first few days. It’s not too late to start.)
Preparing myself for what could end up being a very dreary week. Hoping for the best; preparing for the worst.
Ain’t nothing dreary about the opportunity to write everyday, and I’m grateful for the prompts. Looking forward to 29 more!
So dreary These Sunday evenings Ah, look, the blue moon
It will be difficult to concentrate for the next few days.
📚 November is also National Novel Writing Month! Posts that mention NaNoWriMo are collected in a special section of Discover. Good luck @Cheri, @Archimage, @vishae, and anyone else trying to write 50,000 words this month.
📚 Did you know that Micro.blog on the web has a few book-related features, to make it easier to blog about books or discover what books other people are reading? Alan Jacobs has an overview of these hidden features and more on his blog:
Note the link to indiebookclub, a simple, open-web work-in-progress alternative to the bloated, chaotic locked-down mess that is GoodReads. But if you choose to start a new micro.blog post, you get a text field pre-populated with the relevant information.
🇺🇸 Have we mentioned you should vote if you’re in the United States? Election Day is tomorrow. Make a plan: decide what time of day you will vote, where your polling location is, and how you are going to get there.
Maique joins us this week from Lisbon. He worked for two decades as a photojournalist before becoming an independent photographer. He talks about the challenges of doing photography when you can’t travel, and how he copes as a new dad with the flood of baby photos.
We also chatted about the upcoming A Day In The Life global photo challenge and why we shouldn’t overthink our contributions:
I don’t think we can compete with a professional book made by 100 professional photographers, but at the same time, I don’t think 100 professional photographers would be able to do a Micro.blog book because they’re not part of this community.
Manton answers questions from the Micro.blog community:
What’s new in Micro.blog 2.0 on Manton’s blog
Follow Manton on Micro.blog
Besides train travel, curry snacks, and photography, Bharath and Jean manage to talk a bit about microblogging and how it has helped Bharath reinvigorate his writing practice.
It’s given me the confidence to write more and to put myself out there more. It kickstarted a new creative phase in what I want to do.
Follow Bharath on Micro.blog.
Do I really want to spend my day looking at Facebook? Do I want to spend my life looking at Facebook? No, I do not! And yet, Micro.blog serves the purpose of feeling connected and getting new ideas, but it’s so much more manageable. It isn’t so addictive, and there aren’t the ads. You don’t feel like your supporting something evil by looking at it. It’s just enough. It’s just right.
Lisa Sieverts is a project management professional and teacher in New Hampshire. We talk about what you gain when you consciously give up a time-wasting habit (ref. Annie Dillard), and whether the time-honored art form of contradancing could be preserved during the era of social distancing with a microcast.
Jon Hays comes back to the podcast for the first time since Micro Monday Episode 6 in April 2018. We talk about the new version of Sunlit, soon to be released, and how photoblogging has encouraged more social interaction in the Micro.blog community.
It’s Micro Monday again! (What the heck is that?)
I’m working on cleaning up the podcast archive and getting more interviews transcribed. If you want a listening recommendation from the archive, check out this interview with Patrick Rhone (transcript here) from April 2, 2018. 🎙🗓
Jean and Manton do a quick review of 2020 so far, including:
This week’s guest is Jeremy Cherfas, a biologist and a science journalist based in Rome who is particularly interested in food and agriculture. He produces Eat This Podcast and even did a 32-episode microcast series about bread and wheat called Our Daily Bread for a daily podcast challenge.
We talk about the IndieWeb and share some ideas on how to get started in podcasting.
Joel Mearig celebrated the 101st episode of his microcast I’m Talkin’… this week. 🎉 We talk about how to get started with microcasting and how to keep it going, week after week. Joel uses Wavelength, the podcasting app from Micro.blog, which allows you to record, do simple edits, and then upload to your microblog.
Podcast and video hosting are available for an additional $5/month on a hosted blog. Micro.blog creates a separate RSS feed for your episodes: yourdomain.com/podcast.xml. You can add this feed to apps like Overcast or Castro, or register it with the Apple Podcast Directory. See the Micro.blog Help for more details.
Chris Aldrich is a modern-day cyberneticist, a trained biomedical and electrical engineer, and a talent manager/producer who has a “horrible IndieWeb hobby that probably takes up more time than it should.”
We talk about how he got into the entertainment business by building a 3D heart, and how he came to the IndieWeb via one of Leo Laporte’s shows on TWiT. We commiserate about the difficulty of getting people to move from Facebook to the IndieWeb, especially our parents.
With some effort and discipline, we managed not to turn this into a Buffy The Vampire Slayer podcast.
Scholar-librarian-doctoral candidate Kimberly Hirsh talks with Jean about how a blog post about being nice on the internet led her to a comment by Chris Aldrich, which led her the IndieWeb and Micro.blog, and… well, she fell down a rabbit hole and stayed up all night figuring out how to make her site follow IndieWeb principles.
We also talk about her dissertation, and how Final Fantasy has inspired her.
Doing my part to fix the internet, March 19, 2017 on Kimberly’s blog
In the Micro Monday newsletter we highlight Micro.blog news and posts from the community. I’m sorry for the formatting error in the text-only version of last week’s email. We also have the newsletters on the web.
🤖 Gluon 1.0 is now available for iOS and Android. This is the first cross-platform mobile app for Micro.blog. It features multiple accounts, post drafts, and more.
📆 IndieWebCamp Austin is this weekend. We’ve announced the keynote speakers: Natalie Hester, Pace Smith, and Aaron Parecki. If you’re in Austin but can’t make IndieWebCamp, we’ll also have a Micro Meetup on Friday.
📷 We’ve crossed the halfway mark for the February photo challenge! Photos for the challenge are highlighted in the Discover section of Micro.blog.
💬 Ron Guest blogged that he’s glad the photo challenge isn’t actually a competition:
It dawned me today that if the M.b photo challenge had any sort of contest element, like “we’ll feature the best photos each day”, I would never have participated. I’m glad it is just a sharing event.
Any questions about Micro.blog? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your support!
Welcome back to the Micro Monday email newsletter! After a break for the holidays, we’re looking forward to sharing more about the latest Micro.blog news and posts from the community.
🎙️ On this week’s Micro Monday podcast, Jean MacDonald talks with Jan Erik Moström:
Jan Erik Moström is a computer science professor in Umeå, Sweden, as well as an avid photographer with an interest in martial arts. We talk about the talented photographers on Micro.blog, how the geographic diversity of the platform has grown, and why Jan Erik likes Hugo.
🎙️ The transcripts for several recent episodes of Micro Monday are now online, including last month’s interview with Amanda Rush. Amanda says to Jean:
So my work is helping other people, and that could be anybody from website owners to plug-in authors for WordPress, theme authors, et cetera, to make their stuff accessible for everyone. Not just for people with disabilities, because accessibility is actually beneficial to everybody else as well.
📷 We’re 10 days in to the 30-day photo challenge. To participate, just post a photo to your microblog. If you post 30 days in a row, you’ll unlock a special Micro.blog pin on your account.
📷 Here are just a few of the photos posted recently for the challenge prompts “lull” and “sign”. Thanks @poetalegre, @kitt, @TheDimPause, and @dominikhoecht! See the Discover photos section for more photos.
📆 If you’re in the Austin area, mark your calendar for IndieWebCamp Austin 2020, February 22-23 at Capital Factory. Micro.blog founder Manton Reece will be there all weekend. You can register for just $10.
Jan Erik Moström is a computer science professor in Umeå, Sweden, as well as an avid photographer with an interest in martial arts. We talk about the talented photographers on Micro.blog, how the geographic diversity of the platform has grown, and why Jan Erik likes Hugo. And other stuff too.
Jean: Hey, it’s Micro Monday again, the weekly microcast where we get to know members of the Micro.blog community. I’m Jean MacDonald, the community manager here at Micro.blog. And on this show, I am very pleased to welcome Amanda Rush, who is @arush on Micro.blog. Hi, Amanda. How are you doing?
Amanda: Hi. I’m doing fine, how ‘bout yourself?
Jean: I’m doing pretty good. I’m very glad that we have the chance to chat. And I appreciate you taking the time to come onto the podcast. And before we get into all the talk about microblogging and the Internet etc. or whatever else, why don’t you tell the listeners a bit about yourself?
Amanda: So I have been doing web development for, I guess, twenty years now, since 2019. So that’s my day job and I’m an accessibility practitioner at this point, which basically means that when I build websites, I specialize in making them accessible. So my work is helping other people, and that could be anybody from website owners to plug-in authors for WordPress, theme authors, et cetera, to make their stuff accessible for everyone. Not just for people with disabilities, because accessibility is actually beneficial to everybody else as well. So that’s my day job.
As a sort of result of my day job, I guess my hobby and my day job are pretty similar because I do a lot of tweaking and messing around on the internet when I’m not working as well. And I’ve done that for a long time. I’m a contributor to WordPress, the project, and I’m part of the accessibility team, which is where I do pretty much all of my contributions at this point. And so that’s kind of my professional work. And then personally, I like to read a lot of books. I’ve always got at least one book going, usually more than that, I think I have two going right now, actually, so books and cooking are the things that I kind of do personally. So I’m kind of starting to starting to blog more about that kind of stuff. So I think that covers it.
Jean: I’ve been reading your posts on Micro.blog for a long time and I was looking at your personal site today and I wanted to share with the listeners something that just grabbed me about your approach to what you’re doing, which is your your home pages is quite clean and simple, but it has a lot of categories that, you know, that the various things that you do and that you capture online. I like, you know, that you have it so well organized. But it looks like a full picture of your activities. And on your site, you say you’re doing this for a number of reasons.
You say, first, “I want to own my all my content and have control over it. And to that end, I am constantly updating the site so that it contains as much of my data as possible from any silo that I may have an account on.” And you say “I decided to start doing this when I finally got tired of all the curated timeline nonsense and the social media design element that encourages us to be horrible to each other online for clicks.” And I thought that was just a great succinct description of what drives people away from the traditional social media silos lately and to more open and independent options.
You clearly embrace the indieweb. And I’m curious when you made that that epiphany and how did how did the indie web captivate you? What drew you to it?
Amanda: So for me, it started with Webmentions, actually. I think Micro.blog has some some webmention support.
Amanda: But the idea is that different domains can talk to each other without necessarily someone having to come to your site and leave a comment or use your particular software. The idea is that it’s supposed to be platform agnostic. So if you don’t want to use WordPress, fine. Don’t use WordPress. Use Jekyll or use Hugo or whatever you want to use, and reply to and interact with content that is in an environment that you are familiar with, so you’re not trying to learn somebody else’s platform then.
On top of that, on top of that sort of technical detail, I just thought it was really, really neat. Right now, for the most part, if you want to like or if you want to interact with a piece of content on Facebook, for example, you have to go to Facebook. If you want interact with a piece of content on Twitter, you have to go to Twitter or use third-party clients or whatever. And those two sort of interaction streams do not ever meet. So you end up, I think, compartmentalizing your identity. One for Twitter, one for Facebook, and Twitter tends to be a lot more snarky. I enjoy the occasional bit of snark and I do have still maintain my Twitter accounts, but in Facebook, that doesn’t really work on Facebook. If you snark a lot on Facebook, and you could have just posted something just “OK, I’m snarking at it, but I’m not necessarily making a serious comment,” your comment section is going to be chock full of all kinds of stuff. You have to be careful on Facebook about what you post and what you say. And that’s not even getting into how the platforms control. It’s not the platforms that are, I think, the biggest problem. It’s the people or… I shouldn’t say the people. I should say that how people are encouraged to to interact and what kind of interactions are rewarded. Because I don’t think anybody is is immune from that
If you spend a bunch of time on social media and you know what kind of material, what kind of interactions, et cetera, are going to be rewarded. That’s what you’re going to do because everybody likes being rewarded. So I’m not making a judgment call necessarily and saying people are horrible. I’m saying it’s very easy for people to go to to just sort of slip into that mode.
And for me, webmention was like, “Hey, I can I can maybe have these reactions and I can have people interacting with my stuff without trying to compartmentalize everything into a short, pithy, snarky stuff for Twitter.” Being careful about what you post on Facebook, etc. And so that’s kind of where it all started. And then I went to microformats and post kinds. We can do web mentions, we can have these domains talk to each other. What if you could Like something, what if you could say that you listened to a podcast episode or something like that? What if you could? What if you could reply? And those are all sort of dependent on webmentions to work properly. Along with microformats too, etc.. Webmentions was the gateway drug and then I just sort of rabbithole from there.
Jean: That’s really interesting. One of the things about the indieweb, it’s constantly evolving mostly through the work of great independent developers and people who want to contribute tools and ideas. But helping people who aren’t in the position to actually build stuff but want to use the use of these tools or, you know, have web mentions, have post kinds, if people ask you about the indieweb who aren’t going to be the kind of geeky person who gets it right away and says, “Oh, yeah, I can build that or whatever,” but if somebody wants to observe indieweb principles but needs some or most of it to sort of be built for them. Do you have recommendations you make to people to help them find their own way?
Amanda: Yeah. Actually, my recommendation is Micro.blog. (Jean laughs.) That gets into why I love it so much because. It provides the social aspect, which I like. The one thing we like about social media. But then it’s a really awesome way for if you’re like, “I don’t want to spend time messing around with a web server, messing around with software. I just want it to work.” I have been sort of promoting Micro.blog, especially on Facebook. Like I’m trying to get people to leave Facebook and come to Micro.blog. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to get them to leave Facebook, but at least, come to Micro.blog. Because a lot of people, especially with Facebook, will say, “oh, my God, I’m so tired of all this sniping and all the crap and all the negativity in this.”
And at the other end, I’m like, “Micro.blog is a lot more chill. Just trust me, like everybody’s nice to each other. You know, we can have actual discussions. We can have nuanced discussions,” which is also related to this. There’s been some pretty nuanced conversations that have gone on and Facebook just does not work for that. Like, if you try to have a nuanced conversation on Facebook, you could just hang it up. And, you know, Twitter is basically the place where nuance goes to die. So you are not going to do it there either.
And so literally I’ve been promoting Micro.blog because I’m like, “If you’re not technical and you don’t want to build all this by yourself, this is really a great place to start.”
And I promote Micro.blog over, say, Mastodon, because Mastodon as a nice sort of middle of the road thing. But, you have a situation where it’s still somewhat technical, does kind of require you to start understanding. “What does federation mean? I don’t care about any of this stuff. All I want to do is post my stuff, have other people see it, maybe comment on it or reply to it, etc.” And I think Micro.blog does a better job of that than Mastodon does. So that’s why I recommend it.
Jean: Yeah. You know, one thing about Mastodon is that it’s more of a Twitter replacement in the sense that it is a timeline and really nothing else where Micro.blog is a platform for blogging that has a timeline. And so some people, all they want to do is just to continue with their 280-character commenting on the world versus maybe writing their own stuff for other people to read. And I think that’s where Micro.blog comes in. And, you know, it’s not for everybody, but it’s definitely, because it has so many different ways you can use it, it’s for a lot of people who are looking for an alternative to what you’re describing. It is interesting how I certainly was still on Facebook when I started with Micro.blog, but I’m not on it anymore. I watch every month some group of people says, like, “You know what? I’m going to quit Facebook, I’m going to close my account.” I said I was going to quit Twitter, but I didn’t do that for various reasons. But it’s like people have to make their own decision, there’s only so much you can tell them, and then you kind of have to let them figure out the rest. And as long as you’ve you’ve kind of at least given them a place to to go and check out and see if they like it, that’s that’s the best you can do. I don’t expect everybody–actually I would certainly hope not everybody from Facebook comes over to Micro.blog
Amanda: Yeah. Maybe we don’t need everybody from Facebook. Good idea.
Jean: That would be scary. Every once in a while, you know, there’ll be an article about the indie web or alternatives to or something that Facebook did or Twitter did. Whatever. That causes a lot of people to come over and check out Micro.blog. And we do have these relatively predictable waves of people coming in and saying like, “Well, where’s the Like, button?”
Amanda: And that sort of thing I like about Micro.blog is it’s really explicit about the things that OK, you cannot have a boost button or retweet (Mastodon calls them “boosts, Twitter calls them “retweets.) and there’s pretty explicit reasons for not doing that. That’s kind of where a lot of the crap starts spreading and that spreads faster than somebody can correct something later. The original that spread and then a correction gets posted because you can’t edit and the correction never gets spread. And I’d like that it doesn’t have quote-posting either. Because on Twitter specifically, that’s a really great way, if you don’t like something someone has said or whatever or you want to pile on to somebody, you just quote-tweet it and boom–it’s another copy of the status. And you can even do that even if someone has blocked you. So if you’ve blocked someone, they can still quote your tweets if they can see it and they can just grab the URL and boom, they’ve still sort of interacted with you. I’m just glad that Micro.blog does not have that. If you want to quote something from somebody, then you have to work at it.
Amanda: Admittedly when I first signed up a couple of years ago, I was like, “oh, maybe this feature would be nice.” Then it was like, “You know what? I like not having it because it makes everything just a lot more low key.”
Jean: It’s nice to appreciate what we don’t have. I also felt the same. You know, I was more engaged on Twitter with my work friends, like my software developer friends. And I kind of missed having them on Micro.blog, like I wished everybody would come over. But now I realize, like, it’s one of those things where you just start something new and see what happens and then you will have a different group of people you interact with.
And maybe that will be a good thing. You won’t be talking about Apple all day long, every day. You might get some interesting perspectives. That’s what I really like about Micro.blog, as well as, just a pretty good variety of people with different interests and from different parts of the world. I mean, we we still have a long way to go to be considered diverse. We are doing our best to encourage. But it’s I think it’s a slow growth process.
Amanda: Yeah, well, I think it’s going to be slow. I still have my work Twitter. And I log in there to see kind of what’s going on and to kind of keep up. It’s all taken over, you schedule your posts in Buffer or whatever, and everything is scheduled posts marketing this and that. That’s not really telling me anything other than the occasional what’s maybe possibly going on. I can find that out on a Web site or whatever. I don’t need to necessarily do that on Twitter. And so at this point, the only reason I still have it is because I’m expected to have it for my work. And Facebook is the same way, I’m expected to have it. So that’s why I haven’t left. But other than that, I enjoy Micro.blog a whole lot more than I do Twitter or any of the other ones, just because it’s a better sort of different, smarter, more compassionate, etc. people. I really like that about it. It’s encouraged.
Jean: Thanks. I’m glad. I’m so glad that you enjoy it. And I’m also really glad that you are there because you are part of what makes Micro.blog all those things. So, Amanda, before we wrap this up, is there anything you want to add?
Amanda: No, I think honestly, I think that really covers it because if I start talking about other stuff, it’s going to we’re gonna go on for hours. I just sort of cut it off there.
Jean: OK. I’m glad I set myself a time limit for this podcast, because talking to a new person every week or every other week at this rate, I love hearing from people and their stories, and I would have one of those two or three hour podcasts if left to my own devices.
But the idea was for it to be short and people could get a short introduction to another member of the community. And this week it was you. So thanks a lot for for coming on and spending the time with me.
Amanda: You’re welcome. Thanks for having me.
Jean: And listeners, if you want to follow Amanda on Micro.blog, there is a link in the show notes or you can go to micro.blog/arush. Talk to you next week.
I want to own all my content and have control over it, and to that end I am constantly updating this site so that it contains as much of my data as possible from any silo I may have an account on. I decided to start doing this when I finally got tired of all the curated timeline nonsense and the social media design element that encourages us to be horrible to each other online for clicks.
We talk about what drew her to IndieWeb practices (spoiler alert: webmentions), and what she recommends to folks without tech experience who want to try out the Indieweb (another spoiler alert: Micro.blog).
Jean: It’s Micro Monday again, the weekly microcast where we get to know members of the Micro.blog community. I’m Jean MacDonald, the community manager Micro.blog. And on this episode, I’m very pleased to welcome Natalie Hester, who is nataliekayh, That’s Natalie K A Y H on Micro.blog. Hi, Natalie. How’s it going?
Natalie: It’s going all right. How are you? It’s going all right.
Jean: I think you and the listeners will be able to hear I’m getting at least some edge of that crud, winter crud. And honestly, I can’t complain because I’ve gotten through a lot of the season so far, pretty healthily so. Oh, good. You need to do my part to support the tea industry. And that’s what I’m doing now.
Natalie: Great. We all appreciate that.
Jean: Well, so, Natalie, before we dive into some of our topics, why don’t you tell our listeners a little bit about yourself?
Natalie: Sure. So I am Natalie and I live in Austin, Texas, and I’m a new mom. I have an almost 9 month old. She’ll be 9 months next week. And I am currently going to start a new job tomorrow, actually. Really? Wow. Yeah. So, yeah, I had I lined up the the new job with the holidays, so I got to take two weeks off. And now I’m about to start a brand new job tomorrow. So.
Jean: Wow, that’s exciting. That’s quite good timing for the new year.
Natalie: Yeah, exactly. I’m probably one of the least tech savvy people you’ve ever interviewed. I don’t even have a computer right now.
I do everything on my phone and. Well, it’s I usually rely on my work laptop. I’ve I’m a job. They don’t have I don’t have a computer. So. Well, yeah, I mean, I’m an academic fundraiser, which means that I go out and ask for money for universities.
Jean: Oh, that’s a good job and a good cause. Good for you. I know you. You must be quite in demand as well. I know from my fund fundraising days that people are always looking for somebody who is good at that.
Natalie: Oh, were you a fundraiser?
Jean: Well, I started a nonprofit in the early part of the 2010s or whatever in 2013, which called App Camp for Girls to teach girls had to make iPhone apps.
Natalie: Oh, cool.
Jean: It was it was great. I mean, I really enjoyed doing it for about four years. And then I realized that I it just it was one of those things where you’re way more successful than you imagined, like. And it’s it’s a good thing. But it’s also problematic because I thought it was going to be a hobby and it turned into a full job, and so I worked for four years unpaid.
We had a board, of course as an official nonprofit organization. And they went on to work with some professional executive directors and then in 2019 it reached a point where they decided it was not really sustainable, the model that we had, and that we would further our mission more to look for an organization that could keep our values and use our resources. We were burning out all of our mostly unpaid volunteer staff.
Natalie: Oh, really? That’s great. That’s really admirable. My goodness. Don’t edit that out.
I will also say that I have definitely learned a lot about the nonprofit and the fundraising areas. I was very, very grateful for the amazing support that we got and we did a lot. Then at our peak, we had six sessions, summer sessions. It was a summer camp, and we held one-week summer camp in five different cities.
And we really did have girls building iPhone apps and putting them on to devices and and then putting those little apps into the App Store. So that is a lot of work for a mostly unpaid team. I came from software development, marketing, and I just missed being, you know, I had become a camp director when I really I am more of a tech consultant. And so, yeah, I had already decided to move on when Manton started Micro.blog. And I read about it and I said, I think I would be really good community manager.
And then it turns out I was right. And Manton was right to agree with me.
Natalie: And yeah, that’s a great variety of experiences. Yeah, really cool.
Jean: So that’s that’s how I got here. But what about you?
Natalie: So. Well, I’ve already mentioned that I’m not very tech savvy. I have a job. It really takes me out and talking to people all the time. So you know that from your nonprofit days. I work for a mission that’s larger than myself. And I go out and I talk to people all day long. If I’m in my office, I’m not doing my job correctly.
And so I’ve been on social media forever. I joined before I got into college. So I’m a millennial. And so I’ve been on it for a really long time. And I have this really great friend whose name is Drew. And he started doing these gratitude posts on Facebook. And he every day he posted and he said what he was thankful for and what he was looking forward to. And I think he may have started it actually in January 2019 and kept it up all year long. I guess this time last year, I was entering my third trimester of pregnancy, which I just was the most anxious and scared, partially depressed, pregnant, pregnant person. Bringing a person into this world is no easy feat. And people don’t typically talk about it, that social media is not always the most encouraging place to go when you’re in it.
So Drew, we’re not actual friends, we’re I guess we’re “acquaintances-plus.” I don’t really see him that often. He lives on the other side of Austin. I see him at parties. You know, with Facebook, you just friend people so that was our connection. And I just loved following these gratitude posts because sometimes he was just like looking forward to going to lunch. Yeah, I guess sometimes I’m just looking forward to going to lunch. So then he posted in September or October and said, “I’m leaving Facebook.” And honestly, I had been thinking about leaving Facebook, but following him, I thought “I need to stick around and I really like reading Drew’s posts. And then he said he was leaving. So I immediately e-mailed him, “What are you doing? Where are you going?” And he said, “I’m starting a Micro.blog.” And I had no idea what that was, but I was so thankful to have an option, you know, if I were to leave Facebook.
So it was obvious. It honestly took me a little while to figure it out. Yes. Even now, I’m probably just maybe touching a tip of the iceberg. Yeah, there’s probably much more functionality, but I’m not even taking advantage of because I access it on my phone and I just log on every day. And I have since I think October pretty consistently, I think I’ve missed a couple of days. But I log on and say when I’m thanksful for and when I’m looking forward to. And then every once in a while . I’ll put a picture up or something.
I think I just really wanted to kind of document this really important time in my life where I am taking care of a baby. She’s she’s wonderful. Her name is Aria. She was born in April. And every day is so different. And at the very beginning, if I had started this in April, I probably would have posted “I’m looking forward to the next time I can sleep for more than an hour” or something. And so now it’s more about like documenting what the heck’s going on in my life because so much of my life revolves around another person right now. And so that’s kind of how I got to Micro.blog. I was a long winded answer, I know.
Jean: It was a good one. That’s really interesting because I quit Facebook last year myself and there were definitely people I was sorry I wasn’t going to see their stuff anymore. But, you know, in general, it just was it was too much mental overhead. Plus, I’m working at this company where we have the opposite philosophy. Yes. And it was just too much cognitive dissonance to go in there every day. I liked your micro blog because you had a commitment to this this notion of the gratitude journal. And there were also some baby pictures thrown in that are just adorable.
So one of the things I thought was interesting when you when you replied to my email was you wrote, “Oh, I’m surprised. I didn’t know anybody was reading my microblog.” And I’m thought, “Really?” So that would be interesting to talk about because, it’s sort of the opposite of a lot of responses I get, which is people want to know who is reading their microblog. Micro.blog does have a different kind of setup. We don’t we don’t list who your followers are. We don’t post follower accounts or retweets or even likes. So in order to know that somebody is following you or appreciating your posts, that person has to reply to you.
And I then realized like, oh, I probably never replied and said, “oh, cute, adorable baby.” And, maybe that would have freaked you out!
And let me explain another thing, which is that one of my jobs at Micro.blog is curating what we call the Discover timeline, which is a timeline that shows various posts from a whole cross-section of users, and a cross-section of topics because it’s kind of hard to find people at Micro.blog. We don’t actually make it super easy because that’s part of our plan as well. One of the problems with social media is people can track you down and abuse you, so we have it set up so you kind of have to know who you’re looking for to find them. And there’s no hashtags or anything like that.
So there’s no big dog piling on somebody because they said something that outraged the other readers. So far, anyway, we’ve managed to create a space that is relatively safe for people to just express themselves. So the Discover timeline is a way to see people you are not following that I pull out of everything that comes in, and you know, a lot of stuff that gets posted in our system is is pure B.S. crap, whatever.
Anyway, so I do read all the posts or actually skim them. Oh, so I’ve been seeing yours and I have definitely added some to Discover. So some people have been reading you, but also apparently maybe a gratitude journal is like something that people are like, OK, you know, like I read that, I’m glad, that’s a good point. I’m looking forward to lunch as well.
So you are basically doing a gratitude journal for yourself. But it is a public thing. I hope you realize that.
Natalie: Oh, yeah. Yeah, that’s fine. I think actually it’s funny that you mention the like how hard it is to find someone else. Like I’ve noticed that when I searched when I went into Discovery, I’ve done at least that and there were themes I think, and like almost all of them are ball sports related. I’m honestly more interested in finding other moms. Yeah.
Jean: Because there are definitely other items. There are more than ball sports. Unfortunately, depending on how you accessed that Discover timeline and when we had it sort of rotating like showing three icons. And honestly, I know this community probably better than anybody, and I know we’re not really a bunch of jocks at all.
I’ll put a link to all the tag with what we call tag motif, which are OK because we don’t have hashtags, but we decided to go with like these sort of themes with with emoji text instead and all of the ones that are available.
But one of the ones we don’t have, like we have cats and dogs, but we don’t have children, you know.
Natalie: And I was thinking you really just know your constituents.
Jean: There are a lot of children, though, and a lot of people are very proud of their kids. And that is basically it. I don’t know if it’s like the old fashioned newspaper ethos, but I definitely your post is a picture of your cat or your dog or your kid, I add it to the main Discover timeline because I think cats and dogs and kids pictures make a lot of people smile.
Natalie: It’s one of the reasons why I have the Micro.blog and not like a journal next to my bed. You know, reading Drew’s Gratitude Journal, which he has his own Micro.blog.
Yes, I know. I noticed. I wondered if you two knew each other. You’re both doing it in the same format.
Natalie: Yeah. And then there’s also like Casey Hunt, he does his own thing. I think reading Drew’s posts really kind of changed my attitude a little bit because, not to say that I’m like waking up in a different mood, but just kind of having that moment where I have to think about what I’m thankful for. And there are definitely days when I’m not feeling very grateful for anything. And so I think that’s why I think back to Drew’s post where he’s like, I’m just really looking forward to lunch. And I’m like, I’m really looking forward to washing my hair. Like it doesn’t overglamorize, especially at this point with a nine month old who’s like learning how to crawl, which means that she’s getting into everything like that. Right. I’m looking forward to taking a shower.
Jean: And I’m actually looking at Casey’s Micro.blog now. And he’s grateful on December 10th for flour tortillas.
Natalie: See? Yeah.
Jean: Actually, I feel we need a we need an emoji like, you know, thankful hands and.
Natalie: Oh, yeah.
Jean: People who do a gratitude journal usually use the word grateful or gratitude and we could probably automate it.
Natalie: Oh yeah. I think I usually say I’m thankful. I try not to get too formulaic about it. I’m just like, “Okay what am I thinking about right now?” I wrote about you today. I don’t know if you saw it. And then, you know, I was interviewing for a job at one point. I’m looking forward to this job interview, but I knew it was public. So I wrote, “I’m looking forward to a really intense discussion today.” So sometimes you have to be a little cryptic.
Jean: Yeah, this is great. Honestly, it’s inspired me, because I’ve tried to do it before and I’ve kept like little lists, but I like this formula of, you know, I’m thankful for this thing and I’m looking forward to another thing. Because if I give myself a little time to think about it, I don’t think I would have a day where I can’t come up with anything.
Natalie: Well you’re looking forward to a meal or like finishing up work, there’s always something. And then, you know, I think sometimes I’ll wake up and I’m like, oh, my gosh, my body hurts because, you know, I’ve been like chasing after a baby here because I’m still nursing and she’s getting violent now or whatever. And I’m just like and I’m so thankful for a body that hurts.
Jean: It’s definitely a community where there’s a lot of people who are in tune with this approach to thinking about their their circumstances in the world. I’m thankful that my voice held out this long. And I think we should probably wrap this up. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Natalie: I do think that there is value in and trying out a gratitude journal approach, even just for a couple days, maybe even a week. It really has kind of changed the way that I think about my day. I think it’s so easy to kind of get stuck and kind of especially this time of year when it’s cold and it’s dark. It’s kind of nice to take a moment and live in the moment and think about like, okay, right now, what can I appreciate and what can I share? And then what am I actually looking forward to?
Jean: Well, that’s really good. I think people will appreciate that insight. And I really want to thank you, Natalie, for being here on the podcast today. And listeners. If you want to follow Natalie on Micro.blog and her gratitude journal, there’s a link in the show notes. Thanks for listening. And we’ll talk to you next week.
This week’s guest is Natalie Hester, who is an Austin-based fundraiser for educational institutions and a new mom. We talk about the key role played by Facebook friends and gratitude journaling in Natalie’s discovery of Micro.blog. Transcript