TL;DR: a gateway to a thriving online presence
What if I told you there is a tool that can replace your blog, website, newsletter, podcast, bookshelf, and more? 🤯 It’s even compatible with the ActivityPub protocol.
In a recent article, I discussed how owning a domain and using permalinks can help you seamlessly move from one hosting service to another without losing your audience. Then I published another article devoted to describing a similar approach for your social media presence.
Well, there is a way to combine the best of both words in a single place. Better yet, what if you could also include other services, like a newsletter? Have I mentioned that the price is a fraction of what you would pay for a combination of similar services from other companies?
Since this is too good to be true, I feel like a disclaimer is needed. No, this is not a sponsored post. I paid for my subscription, and no one at Micro.blog had any input on this article or any content I’ve been publishing about them. I’m doing it because, as you already know, I’m an enthusiast.
Anyway, I hope you’ll find the information below helpful.
My previous set-up
I have an institutional website for many years, but have been posting my articles on Medium for a long time to take advantage of the algorithm. Two YouTube channels, one in Portuguese and another in English, a newsletter hosted by Substack, and a presence on multiple social media platforms.
I believe that diversifying like this helps spread the word because I can take advantage of algorithms from multiple platforms. However, my entire business is run by myself, and things can quickly become overwhelming. So much so that last year I was forced to pause my newsletter for several months.
Why Obsidian Publish didn’t work for me
When I moved my website from WordPress to Obsidian Publish, I was trying to simplify things by having my notes and the website in the same tool. But if I’m being honest, it ended up creating more work. Not because of the publishing process, which is easy and straight-forward. The problem was me. I love taking notes, so I suddenly felt compelled to share as much as I could, and that came with its own set of complications.
Instead of just taking notes, I was constantly thinking about how to structure my notes to have them ready for use and, at the same time, good for publishing. Furthermore, my folders structure became a little chaotic due to the numerous additional files needed to create a website. I was constantly afraid of accidentally moving or deleting files.
There’s no way to have a blog when using Obsidian Publish, but I was kind of okay with that because Medium was my blogging platform at the time. I also read numerous complaints about SEO, but I’m not a specialist on this topic and cannot say much about it. However, the final hurdle was the verification process at Mastodon, which could never identify the needed code because of the way Obsidian Publish builds the website.
I couldn’t care less about verification, but I have already been impersonated, and unfortunately, some people following my YouTube channel in Portuguese were scammed. After that, I’ve been constantly trying to do all I can to prevent it from happening again.
In 2022, I tried Micro.blog, but it lasted for less than a year. It was the way the platform handled engagement that made me give up on it. If you would like to learn more about it, I have already explained everything in more detail in another article.
For those of you who are not aware of Micro.blog, we are talking about a complete online presence solution. It is a space to share short posts like ‘tweets’ and pictures, a blog, a website, a newsletter, a podcast hosting service, and many other amenities like bookmarks plus a ‘read it later’ with a highlights feature, a bookshelf, and more. And the price is amazing. US$5 or US$10, depending on the features you need. To learn more about it, I suggest you watch the video below. But beware that it doesn’t cover all its potential.
I still have my two YouTube channels, and they are not going anywhere. But I reactivated my blog on Micro.blog. I won’t stop publishing the articles on Medium, but I started adding a ‘Canonical Link’ that tells Google that the story was originally posted at a different place.
Micro.blog can be used as hubs to share the same content on other websites, like Medium. However, for now, I’m doing it manually.
Regarding the newsletter, I am still using Substack, but I also intend to transition it to Micro.blog in the future. However, the feature in which I’m most interested is precisely the one that made me live in the first place. The blog is compatible with ActivityPub and, as explained in another article, anyone can follow it from any Fediverse service.
The strategy Flipboard is using inspired me. Their Mastodon instance — flipboard.social — works as a Twitter alternative, where the community can share and interact with one another. As for flipboard.com, it is being converted to be 100% compatible with the ActivityPub protocol. If all of this seems too much, please watch the video below. It may help you better understand the terminology I used above.
My plan is to rebuild my Twitter community on Mastodon, while Micro.blog will host my blog, site, and other services, acting as a central point to help people access all the content I’m constantly sharing online.
The beauty here is that both are ActivityPub-compatible, which will give my community a lot of choice. If one wishes to follow only my posts, that is fine; it is possible by using the @vladcampos@email@example.com address. As for those who want to also follow my random thoughts, @firstname.lastname@example.org is the way to go.
This doesn’t necessarily count as a rational reason, but since when is feeling at home something that’s rational? When I first tried Microblog in 2022, I noticed a familiar face among the team: Jean MacDonald. I had the opportunity to meet here only twice for brief moments during the 2013 and 2014 Evernote Conferences. Nevertheless, the conversations we had were so pleasant that those moments remain etched in my memory to this day.
Jean MacDonald and Vladimir Campos at the 2013 Evernote Conference
In conclusion, there’s nothing terribly wrong with Obsidian Publish. On the contrary, during those months I used it, it proved to be a fast and reliable service. But there’s no blog or ActivityPub there, and those are some reasons why Microblog is gradually becoming my online home.
Another reason, as I mentioned before, is that Micro.blog can work as a hub for publications. At some point in the future, when I finish my migration process, I’ll start using it to automatically cross-post content to other social media platforms.
Combined with all the other benefits I mentioned above, I’m expecting Micro.blog to significantly reduce the work I currently do every time I publish a new article or video.