For the last few years, and particularly in the months since I left Twitter, I have been thinking about micro.blog. I like the idea — I like it a lot in fact. Manton Reece, the founder, has intentionally eschewed scale in favor of a much more human-sized network, based on IndieWeb principles from the outset. He and his team have carefully eschewed the things that encourage the worst behavior on Twitter — retweets, like counts, follower counts. He has had a clear and sustainable business model from the beginning, too: it’s free to post from your own existing domain using an RSS, Atom, or JSON Feed, or it’s $5/month for micro.blog hosting.
In short, if you are going to be on a public social network at all, I think micro.blog is a great choice. But that’s the fundamental question: do I want to be on a social network at all?
The answer I came to back in June was very simple: no.
A few things have prompted me to keep mulling on that choice. One is a recent internet acquaintance’s posts on the subject. Another is ongoing reflection how I want this website to work going forward — including setting up some of the more “social” elements of things, like Webmentions. Not least is the consideration that I largely elided in my original essay on the subject, but which is the one thing that makes social media so compelling: I have interacted with people via social media with whom I would never otherwise have interacted, and it has made an enormously positive difference in my life.
Weighing the costs and benefits of decisions like these is difficult. For now, for all the reasons outlined in my original post — and a few more that have become apparent over the course of the writing I did last month — I think even something as carefully constructed as micro.blog is bad for me. That qualifier matters, though. It might not be bad for you. And if Twitter looked more like micro.blog, it would certainly be better for everyone. For me, for now, though, even something as carefully crafted as micro.blog would simply end up being a drain on energies I already find myself lacking: energies for writing longform, energies for reading longform, energies for building software myself.1
Maybe at some point micro.blog will be safe for me. Maybe there will come a day when doing like my acquaintance Brad is doing and allowing myself thirty minutes once a week would be the right move. For now, however, I continue to say no to public social media of all kinds, and to be conflicted even about my use of “private” social media like the Slack groups I am a part of. The cost for my mental energy is just too high.