tiny notes
January 12th, 2024

🧠 What If?

{micro maique}, or maique.eu, has been hosted at Micro.blog for a while. Years. It was already there when the domain was purchased.

From time to time the service has issues, I believe the technical term is “hiccups”. Something will be stuck, or stop working, and it can take a while to get back to normal. Minor annoyances most of the time, but annoyances even so. A post will show up on Mastodon with no photos, or another one won’t make it at all. Maybe I’ll write something, and then wait an hour before the post shows up on the blog. Or wake up and find the entire service down, until day breaks in the US, hours later.

What the kids call first world problems. They are right.

What if I wanted to move maique.eu away from Micro.blog? How would that happen? Where would I take it? How would I get some of the core functionality in another place?

maique.eu
maique.eu

This is, of course, a very personal opinion. I’ve seen others complain about all sorts of features, or lack of, and malfunctioning bits. I’m not touching those. I totally get what they mean, and even agree with parts/most of it, but they’re outside the scope of this post, at least for v1.0. Discover, search, diversity, likes…

Pros

Micro.blog does a lot of things very right. The hosting part is just one of the features that made me subscribe to the service, others just add value to this core function.

One thing I'll get out of the way at the beginning: cost. It is not expensive, not for the basic plan. Considering everything it does, it's very fair.

I can use my favorite notes/writing app (Drafts) to post to my blog. I can use the wonderful Mimi to upload photos to the service. I can tweak the blog's theme to fit my style. I can use the multiple plugins that nice, talented, people developed for the platform. That does it for the blogging part. Plenty to be happy about.

I post mostly from the iPhone, and this workflow works nicely when mobile. Other platforms are not as mobile-friendly. I like Markdown, M.b likes Markdown. Cool.

When I press “Go”, M.b then (hopefully) shares my posts to social.lol (omg.lol's Mastodon instance), Bluesky, and other places (eight networks are available at the moment). Hopefully Threads support will come later. Images are sent as well, with alt text included. It’s a nice feature.

I can also import feeds into my account and/or blog. I do that for my status.lol, Letterboxd, and Scribbles accounts. It’s another very neat feature.

Then there's the community. A huge part of why I like the service. I have met (some as in met-met, real life meeting them) fellow microbloggers, and they have never failed to impress me. It's a cool group. I like browsing the timeline, I enjoy reading their posts, I love looking at everyone's world through their photos. This is the one part that would be left untouched with a move, as one can still enjoy the community aspect with a blog hosted elsewhere. That’s part of Micro.blog’s free tier. That’s nice. 

Cons

No proper notifications. Are they indispensable? No. Should they work properly? They sure should. Everyone and their cousin has a social network with working notifications, why do they keep failing here? The only way to get them reliably is to use Gluon, a really nice app made by Vincent Ritter.

While on the app subject, it still feels a little meh. A few Mastodon apps are also one-person affairs and boy, do they look awesome, and work flawlessly! Some, incredibly, even have working notifications!

Support is another fail. We pay, not matter how little, or how much, for a service. We kinda expect some sort of support. Just do not count with immediate support, especially if you're not on one of the US time zones. Over here in the EU, if something breaks, you can usually count on waiting for hours until someone notices it's broken.

Crossposting fails. CDN fails. I know everything fails sometimes, it just feels these break here a bit more often than most. I’ve seen comments advising me to manually trigger stuff to get things unstuck, and I’ve done it in the past. Heck, I have an ssh app on the iPhone, with pings configured for all the feeds that I’m importing into my M.b account. I would post, launch the app, ping the hell out of the M.b servers, to wake them up. Normal stuff on a stable, reliable, blogging platform, right? One that normal people will enjoy, right?

Some of the alternatives
Some of the alternatives

What then?

What would I would need to do, if I was actually moving?

Rename maique.eu to old.maique.eu, and keep the current blog alive at the current location. 

Find a new host for the blog. There are plenty of those around. A list was recently shared with many places where you can host a blog, from free to expensive.

I like bearblog, Ghost, Scribbles, and weblog.lol. One of those would do.

Some do not include image hosting, and even when they do it may not be as straightforward as I have it now (weblog, write.as). Some, of course, are just better at it than what I have now (Ghost is awesome). I could use bunny, or some.pics (part of omg.lol). But it would add hassle, and friction, and cost (bunny).

How about crossposting? I could use Mastofeed, and just forget about Bluesky. I don’t use it at all, so that would be ok. Or I could just talk to Adam, and I’m sure he’d find a way to implement crossposting from weblog to social.lol. status.lol already does that, and Adam is awesome when it comes to support, new features, and just being an all around super person.

Tangent: if you don’t yet have an omg.lol account, you should get one (affiliate link)!

The community part is the one thing I would miss the most if it went away and, funny enough, as I said, the one thing that will not change, even if I move everything away, and stop paying for Micro.blog. I’ll still have access to it. I really love it.

I started blogging at Micro.blog during the pandemic, when sweet tinyMovieStar was born, and it’s been quite the ride ever since. The support, love, and advice I have received from the group of people who are there is hard to describe. I feel like some of them are really friends, not just internet acquaintances. 

Note: I'm not moving away. Just wondering out loud... There are a lot more cons than pros, of course. Someone mentioned that we're kinda locked-in, and we are. Moving away would be a pain.

Of course I could do it. I’ve been blogging for a long time, on multiple platforms, and that was ok. But it would still be a pain.