Release date: March 19, 2018
@macgenie: 00:00:12 Hey, it’s Micro Monday again, the weekly microcast where we get to know members of the Micro.blog community. I’m Jean MacDonald, Community Manager at Micro.blog. And today I’m with Christine Lane who is also known as @modernlittleme on Micro.blog. Hey Christine, welcome to the podcast.
@modernlittleme: 00:00:32 Hi there. Thanks for having me. I’m excited about this.
@macgenie: 00:00:35 One funny thing I noticed about doing this podcast is that, until I emailed you to ask you to be a guest, I didn’t even know your first name or last name.
@modernlittleme: 00:00:46 I know. It occurs to me that I don’t think I have it on there. I think I signed up all incognito and then got into it more than I thought I would.
@macgenie: 00:00:57 Let’s hear about your your experiences with Micro.blog. First off, tell me: how did you first hear about Micro.blog?
@modernlittleme: 00:01:06 I actually heard about it from my husband who was a part of the Kickstarter campaign. Although he hasn’t been on there recently, he came out strong and then disappeared for a little while there. But I expect him to be back.
@macgenie: 00:01:20 Yeah I think that’s not an unusual situation for a lot of people, myself included, because it’s a new platform, it’s a new system, it is not like anything that’s being done elsewhere. So getting the hang of it for yourself is a process. It’s not going to happen overnight.
@modernlittleme: 00:01:42 No, it definitely doesn’t.
@macgenie: 00:01:45 Now, what are you doing with your microblog? What are you primarily using it for?
@modernlittleme: 00:01:56 Well I joined Micro.blog as a way to start writing more, again just kind of collecting all those thoughts that would flip through my head but I wouldn’t write them down, like physically tangibly write them down. And I was like, “Well, hey, this might be a great way to write them down and not forget them and revisit them later. But now really I’m just using it as a way to kind of track life, as simple as that. I don’t post on Facebook, I don’t post on Twitter. I want to own my thoughts, I don’t want somebody else to own them. I guess that’s basically it, just random little snippets of life that I don’t want to forget. Whether it’s something the kids did, or something that I saw, or just a great moment when I was teaching, or something as minor as “Hey, I did it.”
@macgenie: 00:02:49 Right. Well, you have a lot of you have a lot of interests and hobbies and skills. I think you have a lot of material to work with. You’re a knitter, right? Am I right about that or is it some other craft?
@modernlittleme: 00:03:07 Quilter. I’m a quilter and a sometimes knitter, but more a quilter right now. I’m a sewist.
@macgenie: 00:03:18 You’re a sew-er?
@modernlittleme: 00:03:18 Yeah, I call it sewist.
@macgenie: 00:03:19 Oh that’s a good word for it. And of course you have kids who are totally adorable and I love when you post photos of them. And you have a hedgehog.
@modernlittleme: 00:03:32 We have a menagerie, yes. We have a greyhound rescue. My oldest son has a bearded dragon and I have a hedgehog. So I’m aiming to have a zoo at some point in my life. At the very least, a menagerie.
@modernlittleme: 00:03:56 Did you have a blog before you started at Micro.blog? Or do you actually have another blog now as well?
@modernlittleme: 00:04:06 So I’m all over the map on this one. So I started a blog, it would have been 10 years last month, of our adoption journey to our first son. So that was in 2008. I started just kind of chronicling that whole journey to South Korea and back again.Then I would blog about life with him after he came home. And then we did our second journey with the younger one. Again I blogged about the journey, but then after he came home, it got a little weird to just keep writing about my kids. The oldest one knew at that point what was going on and was starting to skew. You know. like “Don’t post about that,” or “You should post about that.” It wasn’t as sweet and innocent anymore. And simultaneously during the adoption of our second son, I was blogging on a parenting blog called Hellobee. So I have those blogs, and then I had my modern little me blog that I wasn’t doing anything with. There was no motivation and that’s when I made the decision to join Micro.blog and try to get that groove back . I don’t know if you’ve ever suffered that, but all of a sudden you’re like “I don’t know what to write.” Writer’s block in the extreme.
@macgenie: 00:05:38 It is hard to keep up that level of content producing, even if you don’t do it a lot, but just to do it consistently and feel inspired consistently. At least with Micro.blog, I can post a couple sentences every day if I want to. And I get something on paper, as it were, not actual paper obviously, and the I love the fact that while I’m in the app posting things as if I were on Twitter, I’m getting an actual blog out of that process, instead of just a Twitter timeline that I would never send anybody to. So what do you like about Micro.blog? Is there anything you haven’t mentioned so far that you’d like to add, before we wrap this up?
@modernlittleme: 00:06:34 I think the key is just the ownership. Own your stuff. I’m trying to get back to blogging and owning that as well. And I’d probably do it all through Micro.blog if I could figure out how to make it look pretty. I don’t have that skill set. I’ll eventually merge those two things together a bit better. I really enjoy that there’s an anonymity to the follower counts, like you don’t know how many people or who they are. I know that’s a debate on Micro.blog. I like that because the reason I got into it was not for an audience. It was really kind of an online journal for myself. I have connected there to people who either are geographically close to me or have similar interests, usually in the photography scene or just in the parenting world. I haven’t found another sewist yet, maybe I’m missing somebody. I just like that it’s a more naturally organically growing community.
@macgenie: 00:07:53 I like it too. I didn’t like it in the beginning because I was heavily steeped in Twitter. And when when we launched the platform every day, I would be askingk Manton questions: “How are we going to know who is following us? How are we going to find people? How are we going to do this, that and the other thing?” My mantra now is, “Manton knows what he’s doing. You trust Manton’s judgment. If you wanted it to be just like Twitter, why are you here?” So yeah, I totally drank the Manton koolaid as I sometimes say.
@modernlittleme: 00:08:42 Exactly. Just like no hashtags.
@macgenie: 00:08:52 I don’t know if you’ll agree with this, but I have started taking all my photos in square format, unless it’s something that absolutely doesn’t fit, because I agree with Manton that it looks better in the app if your photos are square. But that bugged me and I know it bugs a lot of people. There are ways to have to avoid having your photos cropped as square in Micro.blog. But I was like you know what? It’s a limitation and that’s a thing that you want in art, to work within the limitation.
@modernlittleme: 00:09:32 I think I had crossed that bridge of being square-format-adverse well before I came into the Micro.blog community so to me it was something I had already worked through. As a photographer, I liked to have a wide range of options. But I agree. The square format, especially when you’re scrolling through something, it just appeals to me aesthetically and you know what? Sometimes I have it as a horizontal. Sometimes I have it as a a vertical and then I drop it and post it. I still have the originals wherever they might be, on my camera or on my phone.
@macgenie: 00:10:14 That’s true. Well I thank you so much for coming on, for being the first guest in this podcast series, and I’m really glad we had this chance to talk. I’m really glad we had a time limit because really, I could stay on the phone with you all day now, talk about photos and, of course, guinea pigs. We didn’t even MENTION them, on purpose.
@modernlittleme: 00:10:39 Otherwise it would be like the huge long, not-microcast.
@macgenie: 00:10:44 That’s right. So thanks again and thanks to everybody for listening. We’ll talk to you next week.
@modernlittleme: 00:10:51 Thanks so much for having me. I enjoyed it.
This week, Jean talks to @modernlittleme about Micro.blog, her previous blogs, finding inspiration to write, content ownership, and photo-blogging.
Release date: March 12, 2018
Jean: [00:00:12] Hey it’s Micro Monday, the weekly microcast where we get to know members of the Micro.blog community. I’m Jean MacDonald, Community Manager at Micro.blog. And since this is our first episode I thought it would be appropriate to chat with the person who brought us Micro.blog Manton Reece. Manton, welcome to the podcast.
Manton: [00:00:32] Hello. Thanks for having me. I’m excited about this podcast.
Jean: [00:00:35] Me too. And yes, you are the obvious first choice for interviewee. This idea we have is to talk to people who participate in Micro.blog every week to just get an idea about the different kinds of community members and how they’re using the platform. What kind of things they like and are blogging about. But primarily the idea is to be really short, because this is Micro Monday, not Macro Monday. And so we have set ourselves a very ambitious goal of having this podcast be about five minutes per person. This is the first one so we’ll see how it goes. We are the guinea pigs. I also should say that we have some basic questions that we are planning to ask everybody who comes on to Micro Monday the Microcast, and so I’m going to test out these questions on Manton starting with: How did you hear about Micro.blog, Manton?
Manton: [00:01:27] Well it may not surprise you to know that I was one of the first people to hear about Micro.blog. It used to have a different name and it was kind of like a code name. I might have released it with that name. So there’s kind of two answers to that question.
[00:01:49] The first is I heard about it because I created it and named it. But the second part is that, in the middle of its life before I announced it and before I did the Kickstarter, the .blog top level domains became available. And I thought if I could get Micro.blog, I’ll rename it. That would just be perfect.
[00:02:09] So I got it. They had a funny system where you had to register and if two people tried to get the name, it would go to auction and it was just kind of complicated and expensive. But I was able to get it and I’m really happy with the name. I think it’s worked out great.
Jean: [00:02:24] Yeah, I like it. I like it a lot. I like that it has a dot in the middle because it distinguishes it from microblog which is a generic term. But anyway that’s a good answer to your first question on Micro Monday Microcast. I’m glad you knew the answer. Now the next question is: how are you using your microblog?
Manton: [00:02:50] Even before I started Micro.blog I started microblogging on my own Web site. Actually, as we record today, it’s the anniversary. I always keep track of when I started my blog and I’ve been blogging for 16 years. I always like to mark the day. I put it on my calendars as a repeating event because it’s a good excuse to write something about the blog or write something about like a point to old posts.
Manton: [00:03:20] So I guess a few years ago, I was real frustrated with Twitter and I said: I need to put this on my own my Web site, you know these short little posts, and of course from there I started working on Micro.blog and trying to promote the idea of like more people doing this. Of course other people were already doing it. But hopefully, as time goes on more and more people will kind of dust off their blog and post these short posts. So I post photos, I post random thoughts, just kind of simple things. It doesn’t have to be too serious or too intense, sometimes it’s what I’m working on or problems I’m going through, sometimes it’s just fun stuff that I’m doing or pictures of walking around, so pretty much anything.
Jean: [00:04:08] It’s like a good old-fashioned blog, if you can say old-fashioned about blogs, but that’s what I remember when blogs first start to be called blogs. People would share what they were up to, what they wanted to share, their photos, things like and other people liked following them and that worked out. One question about that I have is: did you crosspost your microblog posts to Twitter when you started doing that or did you just give up on Twitter altogether at that point?
Manton: [00:04:41] I have gone back and forth. I think at the beginning I didn’t cross post them and then I tried to work with a few tools like IFTTT where you can point it to your Web site and then it will automatically send the text somewhere else to another service. I don’t think right away I was crossposting but like pretty soon after I started experimenting with crossposting to App.net originally and then Twitter, and I still do some of that. Sometimes I’ll turn off the crossposting. I use Micro.blog for the crossposting now, and sometimes I’ll turn it off and just focus on only posting things to my blog and Micro.blog. And then sometimes if it’s some week where there’s a lot of interesting things that I think other people on Twitter would want to know about, then I’ll turn on the crossposting just for a little while.
Jean: [00:05:31] Yeah, that’s one of the things I really like about Micro.blog is that I can choose to post or not post something to Twitter and now that I can choose, it makes a lot more sense, I think, to the people on Twitter because some of my posts were really like directed directly to the Micro.blog community such as “Good morning, early adopters” and then that appeared everywhere in every one of my streams. But people who considered themselves early adopters wherever they were, I think they still appreciated it. I have another question but you’ve kind of answered it already. But just for future reference, we will be asking people: Did you have a blog before Micro.blog?
Manton: [00:06:14] Yeah, I did. I did have a blog before. Yes.
Jean: [00:06:20] You’ve never stopped blogging. You’ve gone 16 years.
[00:06:24] Yeah. And I definitely go through different times where I won’t blog as much. Actually now I’m blogging all the time. But there were certainly some years where maybe I would only blog once a week, or there would be times where I wouldn’t pay as much attention to the blog. But getting in that habit and sticking with it takes some time sometimes. But yeah, now, with microblog posts that are so short and you don’t need to overthink it, so I’m posting every day pretty regularly.
[00:06:55] That’s one of the other things I like about Micro.blog is that there is little friction and you can blog everyday if you want to just microblog and, you have a whole blog made out of all those little Micro.blog posts. That’s cool. I’m sort of answering Question #4 for myself and I think for you, which is: what do you like about Micro.blog? But if there’s something else you would like to add before we end your session of the interview…
[00:07:28] Yeah, I think the thing I would add is just the community has really been great. And it’s like when you start something you don’t know how things are going to turn out. I knew that we wanted to encourage people to post on their own site and have the content on their own blog. I didn’t know how the community would shape up, but I’m really happy with the way people have embraced Micro.blog and participate in conversations, and just the tone of everyone’s posts on Micro.blog. I think has been really great, so I really like that about Micro.blog. It’s like you can’t really predict how that will be but I’m really happy with the way it’s turned out.
Jean: [00:08:07] Yes, I agree. Well Manton, thank you so much for talking to us on the Micro Monday Micro Monday Microcast. Let’s end your portion right here.
Manton: [00:08:18] Alright, well it’s my turn to ask you questions now and we’ll start back at the beginning. How did you hear about Micro.blog?
Jean: [00:08:26] Let’s see. I heard about Micro.blog through Kickstarter, well through you and our mutual friends on Twitter who talked about your Kickstarter campaign. I knew you were working on something in this vein but I didn’t really know a lot of detail about it. I don’t know how much would have been shared anyway, I guess. I didn’t read all of your blog posts before now! But I knew of you going back quite a ways, all the way back to TweetLibrary. Which was one of my favorite apps.
Manton: [00:09:06] Thanks!
Jean: [00:09:06] It was a great app and I do remember when you quit Twitter and that made me worried about Twitter. If somebody like Manton is going to do something separate from Twitter, that means Twitter is not living up to what I wish it was. I was very excited about Micro.blog in in the abstract. But also you mentioned that you were going to hire a community manager if you hit your stretch goals and it was just one of those days where I said “I think I would be good at that job. I think I would be perfect for that job, in fact.” And it would be something new, yet something familiar. Working with somebody I knew whose work I liked but working with a different kind of platform, a different kind of community, and a different kind of job because I’ve never been a community manager officially of anything before and I’ve never been the person who’s making the rules and supposedly booting people out. And thankfully that hasn’t been part of the job yet. That’s not to say that I’m not going to be good at it, Manton, when the time comes!
Manton: [00:10:27] I’m so glad you found out about it. And let’s go to the next question. How are you using your micro blog or micro blogs? And I think, well, I won’t answer the question, but I was going to say you have more than one microblog.
Jean: [00:10:42] It’s one of the great perks of being on the Micro.blog team. You can have all the Micro.blogs you want, but I started out just with one that I thought “This will be like my Twitter equivalent, @macgenie, which is my Twitter name. I’ll use that and figure out the crossposting.” And then I came up with this idea of doing a microblog strictly about my Lyft driving. I’m a ride share driver in Portland and I enjoy it immensely. It’s always pretty interesting and sometimes funny or crazy and I thought this is exactly what a microblog is good for, a quick couple of sentences about a ride that I thought people would be interested in hearing how it went.
Manton: [00:11:34] I think that’s a really neat use of a microblog. My microblog is my main blog too. And so it’s just a mix of everything. But I love the idea of having these focused microblogs. There is just this one thing and if someone’s interested in that they can follow it. Lyft is a great example because new things keep happening to write about.
Jean: [00:11:57] Right.
Manton: [00:11:59] So a travel blog I think would be like that too , if you are traveling a lot or you’re going on a trip, that’s a great use: it’s a new day, you’re somewhere new, there’s something to write about or post about. Next question: Did you have a blog before Micro.blog?
Jean: [00:12:14] Yes. I’ve had several. I’m one of those people whose past is littered with blogs. But the first time I did anything that was like blogging, I was living in Ghana in West Africa doing a volunteer stint for an organization called Geekcorps, teaching people how to design websites. And I started doing what I called an Online Journal. And that was 2001. That was really good but you know it took a lot of time, I put a lot of effort into the writing of it and I probably did about 10 posts over the course of three months. So it wasn’t like a blogging daily kind of blog. Then I did do a blog called The Favorite Aunt for a while which was kind of a parenting style blog, but from the aunt’s point of view because I am the favorite aunt and I do have I have several honorary nieces, plus I have nephews as well. And that was fun. And it was a good blog. If I had kept that going I think that would have been interesting because there’s a lot of people who don’t have their own kids but really enjoy that role of being aunt or uncle whether honorary or actually related. But the problem is, and I think parenting blogs have this problem as well, it’s fine when the kids are little but when they start getting older you start feeling kind of creepy about sharing their details of their lives. So by the time they were about 10 or 11, my heart wasn’t in it anymore. So they probably appreciate that.
Manton: [00:14:12] That’s interesting. I didn’t know about either of those blogs. I’m finding out new stuff on the podcast.
Jean: [00:14:17] Well you can still find it at thefavoriteaunt.com.
Manton: [00:14:25] That’s cool. Well, last question to wrap things up for the first episode: What do you like about Micro.blog?
Jean: [00:14:33] Well the community is number one. Like you mentioned, that’s what drew me into wanting to work with you on the on the project because I get really tired of the vitriol that you can find over Twitter, and also just the complaining, just the garden variety complaining. It gets old after a while.
[00:14:58] But I like that it’s really easy to use. The apps are great! Manton, you’ve done a great job with iOS and the Mac app so it makes it really easy to post. Then I love the fact that sometimes I forget that I have been creating a blog all along when I’m posting things to Micro.blog because mostly I’m in the timeline with all the other bloggers who are also contributing. But the fact is that Micro.blog is not just a timeline. It’s not just a social network. It’s also creating a resource for yourself and for other people that you can share. And it’s it’s kind of fun it’s like magic to me. So good job, Manton!
Manton: [00:15:43] Thank you!
Jean: [00:15:47] Well I think we’ll wrap up this inaugural episode of Micro Monday Microcast. Going forward, we’ll be talking to other members of the Micro.blog community. Don’t be surprised if you hear from us asking you to come on to the podcast. Thanks for listening to this first one. And we’ll talk to you next week.
Manton: [00:16:03] All right. Bye!
Jean: [00:16:04] Bye!
On our first episode, Jean and Manton talk about using Micro.blog, their previous blogs, and the Micro.blog community.
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