Micro.blog is an interesting initiative from Manton Reese, who is dissatisfied with the way that conversation on the Internet has been captured by a few private social media giants. Brent Simmons, inventor of NetNewsWire, describes it like this:
But if you think of the years 1995-2005, you remember when the web was our social network: blogs, comments on blogs, feed readers, and services such as Flickr, Technorati, and BlogBridge to glue things together. Those were great years — but then a few tragedies happened: Google Reader came out, and then, almost worse, it went away. Worse still was the rise of Twitter and Facebook, when we decided it would be okay to give up ownership and let just a couple companies own our communication.
Simmons is currently working on an open source feed reader that will incorporate support for a bunch of different feed formats, and will perhaps have support for Micro.blog as well. I’m still trying to wrap my head around how it would tie into existing modes of web publishing (like WordPress, as I do here). I don’t know if something like Micro.blog would solve the many discontents of social media, but it seems like a step in the right direction. Then again, it may be something that appeals to a small subset of the Internet community; techy members of Generation X who look back fondly on the early days of the open web and are interested in setting up and managing their own web sites. But I do fall squarely into that subset, and I am looking for ways to communicate on the Internet without the toxicity of Twitter, this may represent a way out. It’s worth a try.