A microblog is a shorter variant of a regular blog, in other words, the content posted will not be the length of a regular blog post, but short and to the point. Twitter is the best example of a microblog, with tweets ranging from a few short characters to a maximum of 280 characters. Sometimes (or most of the times) the content can be a link to another website, a photograph, video, or simply clicking on the like button.
A quick Google search will bring up the result “microblog - a social media site to which a user makes short, frequent posts” and Wikipedia defines a microblog as where the “content is typically smaller in both actual and aggregated file size”.
Of course, it goes without saying that the blog or the microblog will also be limited in their definition based on the service provider, in this case the likes of Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook etc. will both decide and also limit what a microblog can do based on their terms of service, their interface, etc.
In the IndieWeb context, a microblog is the same as a regular blog, but with shorter form of content. You can have a regular blog functioning as a microblog by simply posting content that is more in line with microblogging, in other words, a few lines of text without a title, or sharing links, photographs, videos, etc.
Of course, all of this might seem like redundant rhetoric because finally a blog or a microblog is what the owner says it is. However, it is not without reason that I’m going through all this trouble to define and explain a microblog because I had a hard time wrapping my head around microblogging.
Don’t get me wrong, I have used Twitter and Facebook for a long time, and I’m perfectly at home posting and sharing content without a title on such social networks. However, I’ve also been an indie blogger from around 2004 where the norm was to post long-form content with a title. Coming from a normal blogging background, for the longest of time, I could not get myself to post content on my self-hosted microblog without a title. On Abraham’s Microblog, it took me more than 2 months and over 50 regular “blog” posts before I made my first microblog post without a title.
Of course, now you will see all the content on Abraham’s Microblog are microposts, short and to the point and also without a title, but that is only because after I became comfortable with microblogging I went back and cleaned up all my regular blog posts by eliminating the titles and converting them into microposts.
In that way, I’m a stickler for consistency and continuity, so I’ll do what’s needed even if it takes twice the amount of time and work!
Anyway, to get back on track, even after the discovery of microblogging and consistently microblogging for myself, I have still not been able to convince most folks to take it upon themselves to microblog on their own domains. Unfortunately, people are happier with the likes of Twitter and Facebook instead of owning their content.
After trying to convince quite a good number of people about the importance of owning their data, I finally decided it was time to put my thoughts on paper, so this is me trying to convince people about the importance of owning their data via my blog.
For now, I have gone into a discussion about what a microblog is, but I will write more on this topic about why everybody needs a microblog, and how everybody can get their own microblog.