Manton Reece announced today that at long last, Micro.blog is open to the public. Currently, he plans to limit it to 100 new sign-ups each day. This is in part because Micro.blog is a two-person operation, and they want to grow the community slowly and be able to respond to everyone easily on feedback and support issues.
Micro.blog isn’t another social network per se. It is a community of “micro” blogs, blogs devoted to short posts, a la Twitter. These blogs exist outside of the Micro.blog community in that each one may be visited separately at its URL if you so choose. You followed a link to this post from likely one of three places: your Micro.blog account, Twitter, or Facebook. I have my Micro.blog preferences set to cross-post to those two major social networks. Being part of the Micro.blog community allows you to interact with other bloggers through the service.
There are two aspects of Micro.blog, or any blog for that matter, that makes it superior to posting directly to Twitter or Facebook. One is that you own your own content. It’s your blog, and you can say what you want, without worrying about being censored by Twitter, Facebook, or any other third-party social network. While independent web projects like Micro.blog aren’t going to replace the social media giants—at least not any time soon—your posts will be more pertinent on your own space, rather than disappearing into the ephemera as seems to be the case on Twitter and Facebook. (Also: no ads! Some things are worth paying for.)
Two, it’s portable. What I mean is because Micro.blog is built on open web standards, if Manton decided tomorrow he was shutting the service down, because all of my content is normal HTML, I could export it to another blog or service of my choice, and not lose anything.
Manton is also working on ways to make it easy for folks who wish to to import their blogs from other installations, such as WordPress, into Micro.blog. I still plan to relaunch my old retrophisch.com blog on WordPress, but I like being able to use Micro.blog for short posts. And should I decide to move my Micro.blog posts to my own hosted platform, there’s a method for that while still being part of the Micro.blog community.
Even if you decide not to invest in Micro.blog, I encourage you to have a place on the web to call your own. Twitter is not it. Facebook isn’t it, either. There are better places than Instagram for your photos to live, if not on your own site. A place that is yours, where you own your own domain, own your own email, and own your own content. You may not replace existing social media usage, but you can interact with those networks while retaining more ownership and control of your own posts. Let them live somewhere else first.