Micro.Blog Is Still Confusing

16 Feb 2023

I want to love Micro.Blog, I really do, but it’s just so bloody confusing to use!

A couple years ago, almost to the day, ironically, I took Micro.Blog for a spin and my opinion of it back then wasn’t all that positive. But I recently read a post by Jason McFadden about his move from Blogger to Micro.Blog and I thought I’d give it another go.

First impressions (round 2)

Last time I tried the service, I signed up for a free trial so I could kick the tyres and see what I thought. I decided to do the same thing again, but I was surprised to find that things seemed to have gone downhill from a UX perspective.

I signed up and was sent an email to login…BTW I HATE that - if anyone from Micro.Blog is reading this, PLEASE STOP. Let users have a password and offer multi-factor authentication - sending people a sign-in link to their email is incredibly insecure.

Anyway, I digress…I sign in and the first thing I’m greeted with is a page asking for payment details:

micro-blog-payment-page

Ok, I get it. This is a paid service and they want people to sign-up. It’s good to support services like this, and I’m a firm believer of paying for the services you use. But I think it would be prudent for Micro.Blog to greet their new users with some getting started tips, rather than asking for payment details before we’ve actually tried to use the service.

I skipped the payment details, went straight to the Post page and attempted to create the obligatory Hello world post. No dice. You see, dear reader, the payment details from earlier are required in order to post during your trial.

micro-blog-post-restriction

I’m sorry, but that’s just plain shit. Adding barriers such as this immediately put me off a service. I should be able to try a service without entering any personal information.

Discovery

Ok, so I can’t post. I decide to flip to the Discover section of the site and go exploring. There’s a lot of discourse going on within the platform, which is great, but there was no way (that I could find, at least) to search for users.

I know of a few people who use Micro.Blog from Mastodon, but I couldn’t look them up from within the service. Not great.

I managed to find Jack’s account by looking him up on Mastodon, then going from there…bit ridiculous, really.

Anyway, I started looking through his posts and was able to see replies using the Conversation link. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make use of the Reply link, because, you know, no payment details.

jacks-micro-blog-post

This is where things get confusing. You see, if I click on the Conversation link for the post above, I get taken to this link on Micro.Blog. But if I click on the date of the post, it takes me to a corresponding post on Mastodon, that doesn’t include any of the replies from Micro.Blog.

What the actual fuck? Which post is the canonical source? Which post should I reply to? Where will my reply end up if I reply on one service over another? I thought Micro.Blog was suppose to integrate with the Fediverse.

Once again, I’m thoroughly confused by Micro.Blog and I’m not even looking into any of the posting and blog hosting stuff yet. Let along newsletters, cross-posting and posting on my ‘site’ versus Micro.Blog. Are they the same thing? They certainly don’t look the same.

Final thoughts

Micro.Blog continues to be very confusing to me, and the fact they now ask for personal information before we even get a chance to try the service, is pretty shit.

If I was to go back down the IndieWeb route on this site, I’d just implement it here, rather than adding all the noise of Micro.Blog.

It’s just too damned confusing for me to wrap my head around. I have no idea where content lives, and where my posts/replies would actually end up. Micro.Blog? Mastodon? Somewhere else? Who knows? 🤷‍♂️

Lots of people find Mastodon confusing when they move over from services like Twitter. I fear that if they were to move from Twitter and a managing host for their blog, Micro.Blog would make their brain melt!

TL;DR - Micro.Blog isn’t for me. If you’re using it and enjoying it, please do get in touch and tell me what I’m missing. There’s clearly something to the service, as it seems quite popular.

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