Guests: @macgenie and @manton
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!