Welcome to Micro.blog

There is no doubt that the siloed, social web has been revealed for the limiting, sometimes destructive force it can be; the question is: why has it been so destructive?

One part of the answer might be to do with the open web and its apparent lack of signalling, specifically to the wider web-using public, the ease with which people can escape the siloes even if momentarily. When people are offered superior alternatives — what you might consider competition — there is at least a much greater possibility those alternatives will be able to exist, thus enabling the chance for higher quality, substantive contributions to be made to the web as a whole. The important part here is that people are offered the alternative. Not just enthusiasts, or enterprise clients, or niche vendors; rather, the average everyday web user. Even as an enthusiast and (relatively) longtime user of the web I find it hard to say that the open web has met some of its potential by surfacing the alternative.

The wave of apparently-shocking incidents involving the siloed web has, however, prompted action where before there was either little or just too little; substantial figures in influential web communities are putting their resources where their mouths are and genuinely prodding at alternatives to what some people consider The Internet (aka the Facebook news feed). Some are even pushing forward with ambitious plans to create much-needed competition.

With that idea in mind we now have Micro.blog, which is awesome.

The applicance of a layer running between the open web and people’s desire to make the web personal is a brilliant move, especially with the focus on blogs and the idea that even the siloed social web is something to be plugged into rather than swept away in a destructive manner.

Manton Reece and his team have gradually and carefully begun piecing together a platform that can satisfy a number of different people in different ways, without approaching the idea that the only way to provide people with the opportunity to partake in the web is to control them entirely.

Micro.blog works as a mixture of blog feeds, blog hosting, and comments. It’s social media but you own your stuff and you do not have to tolerate ads, curated timelines, and a limited selection of limited apps.

These are two sources of information and help:

  • Help — the official Micro.blog documentation
  • Micro.wiki — the community-made and maintained wiki

The following are other introductory posts for more information:

There is more out there and it’s not to difficult to find once you start looking, however the Micro.blog community is constantly attempting to make it easier to get involved and get on with doing your thing. In the spirit of this activity — and all activity from the community which is in fact one of the biggest reasons to join Micro.blog at all — I am today announcing the effort with which I will attempt to help as much as possible…

I am launching Today I Learned, a Micro.blog project for… well, Micro.blog. Through this I will provide hints, tips, links, and more with which anybody can use to become comfortable with Micro.blog. All of the relevant links are:

Micro.blog has played a big part of the past 8 months of my life, an inspiration for many things and most importantly the gateway to a wonderful community within which it is possible to find solace from the world of social media and 24 hour news. The good parts of the internet are not dying and it is no small part due to projects such as Micro.blog. With @til I only hope I can help make it even easier for people to also find their way to such a good place.

Now there is work to be done, more words to be written, and more Micro.blogging to be microblogged. With that I bid you adieu and…

Welcome to Micro.blog!

Where People Are

Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. YouTube.

There are times in the day when I simply think “Why the am I even bothering to think about these things? Life is full of important things for fuck’s sake.”

Then there are times when I cannot ignore another thought: “What’s the point in doing anything if you’re not trying to show it to as many people as possible?”

Then I can never forget this: “These people are only on these platforms and not using them only serves to remove them from my life, which is bad.”

I have no idea which way to go when it comes to using the different platforms, despite having strong feelings that better designed and curated alternatives are important. For example: Micro.blog

A mix of all of it is probably the best route, in the end, and life is too damned short to cut off your nose all because of hostile feelings towards your face.

Upgrade

Welcome to Considered Haste, version 2 of simonwoods.net.

Let’s start with the changes:

  • Theme
    • Switched from a lighter theme to a darker theme.
      • Includes a new color palette.
    • Icon
      • The site’s first icon, for bookmarks and your tabs.
    • Time
      • Removed ‘estimated reading time’ detail by posts.
  • JSON
    • The site can now be read via JSON feeds.
  • Taxonomy
    • Categories merged into tags.
    • Added a new tag, update, for shorter news-style posts.
  • Streamlined
    • Removed clutter from the front page.
    • Especially at the bottom of the site.
  • Pages
    • Updated About, Now, and Feeds.
    • Added v1.
  • IndieWeb
    • Added plugins to support the following:
      • webmentions
      • semantic linkbacks
      • IndieAuth
      • rel=me

 

I’ve been quite pleased with the launch of this site, from November to now, specifically in its role as the stable presence of my online identity. Owning my identity via my own domain and investigating the IndieWeb has been a huge relief to the idea of depending on the big social media sites and the Closed Web, thanks in no small part to my account on Micro.blog. I recently settled my hosted blog on there as separate from this site but it is no less mine; Manton Reece and co. are quite insistent on avoiding simply replacing the Closed Web with another closed environment and I couldn’t be more grateful for their work.

This was my plan all along, although the recent stretch of inactivity on this site was unexpected (fortunately it was thanks to good news) but Micro.blog has provided an antidote to the hole of stress that is moving, having become a respite and source of inspiration for the past two months. As such, it remains as my personal blog and social feed, and regular activity continues over there.

I have more to come with this site, especially writing, and progress reports on new projects all of which are at least well into the planning stage; I am excited by each one and looking forward to rolling them out. In the meantime I am making sure the aforementioned changes have settled well, specifically those centred around IndieWeb improvements.

I’d like to thank a few people:

 

That’s all for now. Bye!

We do want Blogging to be as Easy and Simple as Tweeting

Now imagine all of the fake news, trolling, and negativity amplified a 100 times.

Rajiv Abraham doesn’t want to see the toxicity of the Closed Web spill into the Open Web.

 

This is a valid concern and should certainly be on the mind of both the community as a whole and those who make the software upon which blogging lives.

However, the Open Web and especially the blog-based sections of it already have years of experience in dealing with these problems; a good example is the aforementioned Micro.blog, as an alternative to a commenting system is quite brilliant in its elegance — now as individuals we do not have to manage the comments on our site, whilst those who are either writing for a site in a group or employed to do so can either choose to manage the comments or not… or even better, turn to something like Micro.blog where the comments are a lot less likely to be poisonous from the get-go.

Of course this is also dependent on the development of platforms like Micro.blog; it could go either way. The point here is that we all know more now than we ever did and it is upon those of us who care to actually go to the effort to have community standards, including codes of conduct and active moderating where it is needed.

There is no doubt that the vitriol from which the big Closed Web media companies have been profiting is a different kind of beast from what we once so naively referred to as “Internet Drama”, and we should be vigilant lest it spreads entirely across the web but we have hope like never before be it from the experienced crowd of web users, the bright new minds of so-called digital natives, or those of us who have adapted to the ever growing blend of physical and digital. We are determined to not so easily lose this world before it has barely begun, certainly not to the likes of those who clearly care not for the people who have built their success whether that’s Mark or Jack, and most certainly not to the people who use their work to wreak havoc in our lives.

We can do better. And I think we will.

Adventures In Moving

The past couple of weeks have been an increasing number of stressful events, growing slightly up until the point where I realised that I haven’t written anything for the blog since… January? Something like that. I feel bad and in a good way; I’m annoyed at missing out on it, as opposed to any weird social pressure-type reason.

So that’s good.

However, it’s time to be truthful; I’m not going to post for at least another week. We’re moving in the next few days and time is very much up for my attempts to spend any serious time on thinking about a subject, let alone writing about one.

In the meantime I’ll likely be active on Micro.blog since it’s such a good reprieve from the chaos of moving home, as well as life in general. I encourage you to join, it is a lot of fun.

Bye!

Closed Means Closed

Ed Cormany recently shared a link to a step-by-step tutorial for the Apple-owned Workflow app.

Not only was Ed interested in the existence of such tutorials at all but when I saw what the specific editorial was about I perked up; as a (happy) Apple Music subscriber I would definitely be interested in learning how to get quicker access, especially if the instructions are written out in what is likely an easily consumable manner.

Well, I can only assume.

Federico Viticci recently shared a link to a tip for the Apple-owned Workflow app.

Federico, like Ed, was interested — enthused even — to see such information being produced by Apple. It is in fact for the same thing and so, again, I thought this was good only this time I was hesitant to put much more effort into investigating.

You see, this editorial is only available to read in the App Store app on iOS. Whilst it’s enough of a shame to see such interesting and potentially valuable information locked behind such a closed door, it was also interesting to me to see that it was shared in both cases behind another closed door: Twitter. Whilst Federico owns and writes for the excellent Macstories, there might not be much that can be realistically done to stop Apple — or anybody else — from hiding such excellent writing and help away within their own closed spaces. Meanwhile Twitter continues to be the deeply flawed vessel through which this information is carried and given to… some people who would find it useful.

Yet another sign of just how limiting and limited the modern web is.

Change

(Note: This was originally written in the Spring of 2017.)

 

I’m tired more often and I’m getting more work done. This makes sense but seriously: fuck time. Even as I finally get around to better organising my time, it refuses to do anything else but disappear. Kinda rude.

I’ve definitely hit a wall with this, where no amount of extra effort applied gets me closer to my goals. So, it’s time to apply some smarter work. I’m going to schedule work sessions at the beginning and end of every day, when I’m most likely to have full free time, and honestly when I feel high levels of motivation; maybe proximity to sleep is the key ingredient here. That will be helped by a dose of automation, specifically with the tech that I’m using; it’s taken a long time but I’m finally settled on a structure for the various pieces of software I use to stay organised, so now it’s time to set up some automated processes for them to run through.

Overall I’m happy with this approach. It’s a lot simpler than various previous efforts.

As far as the blog goes, there will be two new regular additions:

Post A Day
That’s one guaranteed post each day. Will likely be mostly nonsense but we’ll see how it goes.

Selfie A Day
Yep, I’m finally giving into the whole selfie thing. Basically, I need to lose weight and have lost patience with previous attempts to do so; it’s time for the public shame route.

These will be taken on and posted to Instagram, with a basic cross-post to here.

So uh yeah. Change is good.

 

(Second Note: Those two planned additions are still happening, in some way, but not necessarily in such a weird-fake-branding way. I have no idea exactly how bad my sleep was back then but it is certainly better now… I mean… wow.)

Discomfort

(Note: This was originally written in the Spring of 2017.)

 

Is it a motivator? I think so.

I’m sitting here, in a university class room, and despite the irrefutable quality of the subject and following discourse I just… I feel tired. It’s the worst. I know I am actually tired due to lack of sleep and other such usual factors but to be honest I am also totally fucking bored.

Why? I dunno. Could it be stress? There are medical reasons for my tiredness but I don’t know what they are right now. I know one for sure, though, and it’s that if I am confronted by activity of others for mentally draining exercises then my body just feels the need to sleep. It is more likely to happen with something that I am not involved, to the point where I am fairly confident there is a strong correlation between level of involvement and likelihood of sleep.

It’s a mess, really, but I have at least discovered one thing; feeling discomfort helps. I feel both actually awake and a desire to do something. Now that’s motivation for me. The funny thing is that it is physical discomfort that has sparked this motivation.

I’m fairly sure if there is non-physical discomfort that I’d just feel a wave of tiredness.

Huh. Weird.

Courtesy

(Note: This was originally written in the Spring of 2017.)

I wonder how long it takes for somebody to go from defensiveness to guilt. Or even if many people complete that journey.

When we get called out for doing something that another person has taken offensive at or deems wrong in some way, is it not a requirement in basic compassion to accept wrongdoing, apologise, and give the accuser the opportunity to reconcile the situation?

I have always assumed this is a natural process, something you would do without breathing. Certainly I strive to follow this path in such situations where I have been an ass; okay it’s not always going to be perfect but I’m talking about basic levels of compassion here, like not even difficult for a child to employ.

So what is it about grown men thinking there is more value in their pathetic pride than there is in actually contributing to the world with some basic compassion? What’s wrong, did mummy fail to give you the love you so clearly think you deserve?

Bleh. Fuck men and their bullshit egos.

Hello by the way! If you’re reading this then I am currently judging you hard. Feel free to tell me off on Twitter, since I’m not about to apologise here. 🙂

Interesting

(Note: This was originally written on the 5th of February, 2017.)

 

What makes something worth our attention? A lot of money is invested in answering this question, in all of its various guises… a lot of money. As such the assumption is that the question has value and whilst that is likely true the fact is that it is much more interesting to consider a different, albeit similar question: what makes something interesting?

As is often the case, the quality of interesting being subjective makes it difficult to explore and therefore less popular in our world of interconnected musing and opining; there is no doubt about it, we vote with our eyeballs and the numbers on vague notions such as interesting are not good. Instead, let’s have a list of The 7 Most Fascinating Things For 2017!

And that’s okay. I mean, who has the time, right? Well, the fact is that the modern world of internet-centred living is simply too large for anybody to keep on top of; the idea of being up to date in the year 2017 is altogether ridiculous. Instead, the gems of the internet can be found if we instead choose to focus on whatever thing we care about in the moment and invest time in that above all others.

This isn’t easy and never has been, however, now in the age of data perhaps we can find it that much easier to see both approaches to living and thus gaining the perspective that is crucial to discovering exactly what it is that we care about… what it is that we find interesting.

A Process

(Note: This was originally written in 2015.)

 

So I was recently listening to Wil Wheaton’s ‘Radio Free Burrito’ podcast (full recommendations; enthusiastic even!) and he said this thing that had me pointing at his theoretical self in exclaimation:

“once you get it out you don’t want to make it”

… so I exclaimed and pointed “that’s it!”

There is a part of that in me and whilst this is a terrible example of excusing my laziness, I still feel okay about publishing this. Writing this is in itself an act of procrastination… although, since it is actually writing a THING and getting it out of my mind I’d argue that it’s not necessarily bad.

Either way, it felt good to hear it being said by somebody who happens to be such a good creator of things, and also gave me the chance to write this thing and thus increase the likelihood that I’ll actually do the things I should be doing.

Yay? Yay.

First Site Updates

I’ve made a few updates over the last few days and as much as I’m enjoying working on the site it’s unlikely that they’ll continue at this scale; after all, my focus is on writing and I’ve got other projects in the works.

Here’s a rundown:

  • Feeds
    • A new page listing all of my available feeds.
  • Now
    • Major edit to properly activate the page, covering what I am currently doing.
  • About
    • Minor edits.
  • Recommended Reading widget
    • A couple of additions.
  • About widget (“Hi”)
    • Extended for an up-to-date status.

The other decision I’ve made, tied into some of these updates, is that I’m going to use my hosted Micro.blog as a pure Twitter (and general social media) replacement. Whilst some of my micro blog posts on here go directly through to Micro.blog, with the full posts going through as a feed, I’ll also be posting exclusively to the Micro.blog blog itself.

These posts will be incremental status and general social updates, much more of a moment-to-moment version of my Now page. There is a great community growing on Micro.blog and it has been a fresh of breath air for me to have access to such an alternative to social media, also blending as it can so well with my blog.

There’s more about how my new social feed works alongside my blog on the Now and Feeds pages. In the meantime, I’ll be back with more posts soon.

Bye!