Neat feature from Micro.blog. Here is Manton Reece, from his personal blog, on the new feature:
You can now follow blogs in the Micro.blog timeline, even if the blogger hasn’t yet registered on Micro.blog.
Manton describes this feature as another type of “username”. I understand why he’s framing it that way but I’m unsure if it is the best way to describe it. A blog’s content being syndicated through Micro.blog, unwitting of the owner, isn’t a username. In fact, any interaction with those posts by the Micro.blog community may very well go wholly unnoticed by the owner of the site unless their site supports Webmentions. So these are hardly Micro.blog users.
Be that as it is, I am struggling myself with a better way to fully describe the different ways in which someone can use Micro.blog.
At current, here they are:
- you can host your blog on Micro.blog at your own domain name
- you can sign up to Micro.blog and post there using their domain name
- you can sign up and syndicate your blog to an account (like I do)
- with any account:
- you can follow Micro.blog accounts
- you can follow any Mastodon account on any instance
- and now you can follow any blog irrespective of whether or not the site knows it or not (like an RSS reader)
A powerful service!
This brings back memories of two services that had some interesting tip-toeing to do as a result of syndicating the content of another persons without their permission.
One, I had a lot to do with, which was 9rules. We crawled the content of all of the blogs within the community and kept a copy of a lot of their content. This allowed a few things. We had categories on the 9rules web site that made it easy for people to find blogs that interested them such as Tech, Culture, Food, etc. It also made search possible – so in a way, we had our own blog search engine. It was one of the first services of its kind on the web.
However, 9rules’ main income came from ads. Our homepage featured a few primary ad spots and some of our subsequent pages did as well. A few of the members wondered if we were profiting off of their content. A valid concern, one we didn’t intend, and I remember it being a topic of debate.
Another service I had nothing to do with, Get Satisfaction. This service created forums for people to ask questions and get answers and rate their favorite products and services. One reason it caused a kerfuffle was because the companies had no idea these conversations were happening and it made them look bad when a big issue with one of their products went unanswered. Many asked to be removed from it.
I don’t think Micro.blog will end up with ads but never say never. Also, I trust Manton and his team to be mindful of how they use this content and how they notify site owners of anything that is happening with that content on their platform. So far they’ve proven themselves to be careful, purposeful and altruistic.