hidden features of micro.blog

Micro.blog has some cool features that many users are not aware of. (They’re not really hidden, but that made for a better title than “not especially well-known.”) Here are some of my favorites:

1) An emoji-based system of tagging: for instance, 📚, which will show you books that micro.blog users are currently reading. And here’s a pandemic phenomenon: a tag for 🍞 — next time I’m baking I need to take a picture. And another pandemic-enhanced tag I like: 🌱 

2) Related (and discoverable from the 📚 page): a grid layout of the covers of those books.

3) If you are a micro.blog user and want to record what you are currently reading, the best way to do that is to go to this page and enter the title — or, better, the ISBN — of the book you’re reading. The ISBN will return an image of the cover of the specific edition you’re reading, like so: 

Screen Shot 2020 10 13 at 9 20 22 AM

Click on that image, and you get something like this: 

Screen Shot 2020 10 13 at 9 20 39 AM

Note the link to indiebookclub, a simple, open-web work-in-progress alternative to the bloated, chaotic locked-down mess that is GoodReads. But if you choose to start a new micro.blog post, you get a text field pre-populated with the relevant information. Just click “Post” and you get something like this

4) Micro.blog can also be an open-web, streamlined alternative to the monstrosity that Instagram has become, and if you want to see a good selection of the photos that micro.blog users are posting, then this infinitely-scrollable page is the best way to do it. And if you are interested only in a photo service and have an iPhone, then you might consider downloading the Sunlit app. It’s excellent. If you are on Android, I don’t think there is a photos-only app right now, but there are several micro.blog options for that platform. You can get a list of all the third-party clients for micro.blog here

5) I think this has to be enabled by individual users, but if you’re only interested in the photos that a particular user posts (as opposed to text), then you can usually find a dedicated photos page. Here’s mine

6) One feature I have been meaning to use: podcasting! That link will take you to the relevant information, but in brief: You can use micro.blog to post short-form podcasts (longer-form too, though that seems somewhat contrary to the character of the site). The best way to do this is through the microblog companion app Wavelength, which is to podcasts what Sunlit is to photos. I love the implementation of this feature: You can have your podcasts show up in your micro.blog timeline, but you can also register them with Apple so they will show up in the Apple Podcasts directory. 

Finally: Not a feature of micro.blog, but if you want to know why I believe that supporting such endeavors is important for our social future, please read this essay of mine

October 13, 2020

In Uncategorized

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