Manton Reece has big plans for microblogs.
A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about what would happen if Twitter disappeared or became unusable. I started to explore other options for connecting with others in the design community. I started posting to Dribbble again* and I started playing around with Medium.**
Last week, while listening to my usual playlist of podcasts, I stumbled on a couple of discussions about Manton Reese’s Indie Microblogging Kickstarter project.
I backed it instantly.
The Kickstarter has two parts: A book and a service.
The book will detail a framework for independent microblogging… basically a standards-based system for posting and sharing Twitter-like posts.
The service is Micro.blog. And it’s a fascinating attempt to make it as easy as possible to host your own micro blog, basically a decentralized version of Twitter.
I think Manton’s got some great ideas. And I think his heart is in the right place. I love the idea of leveraging RSS for the underpinning of the service. I think 280 characters is great. The iPhone app supports Markdown. You can use your own domain for free or pay $5/month for Micro.blog to host your microblog. An API that others can use to hook into the service. And oh yeah, and the name is perfect.
The Kickstarter project was funded on the first day. And he’s now got a stretch goal — $80,000 — to help fund a community manager to shape the service and actively address the bullying and nastiness that is rampant on Twitter. I don’t know if he’ll make the stretch goal, but I love that he’s already thinking about this.
Also, remember in the early days if Twitter, before they cracked down on the API usage, when third party developers were extending and improving the service. I hope those developers throw everything they’ve got at supporting Micro.blog.
Many people are skeptical that Micro.blog will blossom into a sustainable full featured Twitter replacement. And I completely get that. Look at all the failed attempts to replace or replicate the functionality of Twitter of the years. It's tough to build a large user base for a new social media site and it's too early to tell if Micro.blog will take off — after all, the service hasn’t even launched yet. But I think the service and the concept are the right idea at the right time. I’m looking forward to using the service and watching it develop in the coming years.
I’m excited about Micro.blog and about the plan to use RSS to power what is essentially an independent version of Twitter. If you are concerned about the future of Twitter and social networks, I really encourage you to head over to Kickstarter and back the Indie Microblogging project.
* Watch for another post about using Dribbble…
** Of course, who knows what Medium will become.
Bob Wertz writes about design, technology and pop culture at Sketchbook B. Bob is a Columbia, South Carolina-based designer, creative director, college instructor, husband and dad. He’s particularly obsessed with typography, the creative process and the tools we use to create. In his spare time, he browses RSS feeds in Feedly. Follow Bob on Twitter and Instagram.