You can now follow any blog on

Neat feature from Here is Manton Reece, from his personal blog, on the new feature:

You can now follow blogs in the timeline, even if the blogger hasn’t yet registered on

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, unwitting of the owner, isn’t a username. In fact, any interaction with those posts by the community may very well go wholly unnoticed by the owner of the site unless their site supports Webmentions. So these are hardly 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

At current, here they are:

  • you can host your blog on at your own domain name
  • you can sign up to 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 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 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.

If you want to follow me or my blog on you now have lots of ways to do that. My account, my blog, and my Mastodon account. Cool.

    At least with the option of webmentions there is the possibility of being notified, even if you do not have an explicit identity in Micro.Blog. There is not even the possibility of knowing what conversations you are a part of in spaces like Facebook.

    @cdevroe In comparison to the awful Get Satisfaction situation, the only way an outside blog ends up on is if a member decides to seek out and subscribe to the outside blog via M.b, and even then the blog only shows up in that member’s timeline, just like a traditional RSS reader. I think that’s a significant enough set of differences that will enable to end up avoiding the ire of site owners…

    @cdevroe Looks like I was wrong, as posts from my blog are showing up in the Micro Monday Discover section and other tagmoji sections (twice!), even though I’m sure no-one here is following it instead of me…. That seems like an unwanted interaction, especially since I believe Mastodon users are filtered out of Discover.

    @smokey You’re likely right. Also, I trust @manton and team to be far more mindful of their decisions than GS ever was.

    @smokey @cdevroe I’ve removed the duplicates. This problem will go away when we start linking the domain name “usernames” with the primary account, if it’s already a verified site that knows about.

    @manton That’ll be a nice feature. Cool.

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