I wonder if there are plans for micro.blog themes to display webmentions out of the box. Or short of that, if there’s an easy way for me to add them without too much futzing about.

Maybe your blog post doesn’t need that 2000-pixel header image

Allow me a brief rant about the trend of putting ginormous, unnecessary images at the top of every single blog post or article. Here it is:

Please don’t always include ginormous, unnecessary images at the top of every single blog post or article.

That would be great, thanks.

I haven’t read the entire Terms of Service for Medium.com, but I assume there must be a clause that says “You must place an image of at least 1800×1300 pixels above any useful article text, no matter the length of the article itself. The article’s title may, however, be placed above the image.”

Like this:

Totally random example with no offense meant to Tyler Elliot Bettilyon

That is the top of what is otherwise an interesting article about something completely unrelated to the 2000×1333 (1MB) image you see filling up the entire world.

Sure, it’s a cool photo (Kev Soto), but what’s it for? I’m guessing there’s a listicle somewhere (probably on Medium) called “10 Things Every Blogger Must Do To Be Successful!” and item 2 on that list is “Find an image, any image (relevance to the post is unimportant), and slap it right up top for no apparent reason.”

I’m sure it’s been demonstrated that including an “eye-catching graphic” on every post increases “audience engagement” by 47.5% but isn’t it really just a waste of time, bandwidth, and mental well-being?

I’ve been testing Pocket as my “read later” service and here’s what my list looks like:

Not useful article images

Only one of those has an even remotely useful image associated with it. If I squint, those thumbnails look kind of nice, but when actually trying to use the page to find something to read, they’re just distracting noise.

And oh goody! Medium recently hooked up with Unsplash to make adding giant, off-topic images even easier…

But first

I get why people do this, and I don’t expect anyone to stop doing it. I just wish they would.

UPDATE: More (and better) words on this from Hanson O’Haver (The Outline): Not Every Article Needs a Picture

Where to Microblog?

Where should I keep a microblog? I have gone back and forth on this since the early days of Tumblr and I’m still not sure I’ve resolved it. Pardon me while I think this through.

I define a “microblog” post as something that does not need a title: short, Twitter-like bursts or snapshot images with a brief caption are perfect examples. Link posts are somewhere in between, as they benefit from a title but don’t need one.

The concern is that short, title-less posts or images will somehow clutter up my precious blog. This is of course nonsense, because my blog is nowhere near precious. And by precious I mean:

derogatory: affectedly concerned with elegant or refined behavior, language, or manners: his exaggerated, precious manner.

(This doesn’t mean it’s not priceless to me. It very much is.)

My blog has never been “serious”. I don’t worry about sticking to publishing timelines or making sure I’ve thought everything through with each post. I usually don’t even edit before posting. I reserve that for the “oh shit!” moments after clicking “Publish”.

I like Dave Winer’s definition:

“Blogging is thinking aloud into an outliner that has a Publish button on it.”

That’s more my style.

I guess I’ve found my answer, then. Microblog posts are going to remain right here at jack.baty.net for now. And I’m going to let them flow right through the home page with everything else.

I am, however, leaving microblog posts out of the main RSS feed, so if you don’t like the noise, that’s one way to filter it out.

Oh, and if you don’t have a blog or just want a microblog, please consider Manton Reece’s Micro.blog service. It’s terrific.

Thanks for listening.

Friends vs Followers on Micro.blog

If I’m honest, the reason I originally backed and then joined Micro.blog by Manton Reese is that I enjoy tinkering with new platforms and social networks. I try them all. Manton’s ideas about “owning your content” and the hooks into IndieWeb ideas were just icing.

I came for the novelty, but stayed because it’s become my favorite place to be.

@Smokey’s recent post, Two Weeks with Micro.blog, had me nodding in agreement throughout. He lists some great reasons to enjoy being part of the Micro.blog community.

Beyond Smokey’s spot-on list, I’d like to point out a feature of Micro.blog that is so small it’s easy to overlook; There’s no way to know how many followers other people have. This may seem trivial, or even an oversight, but I’m convinced that it’s a critical component of Micro.blog. It is for me, anyway.

Years ago on Twitter, I would use follower counts as an indicator of authority or perhaps as a way to gauge someone’s impact on a community or topic. With so many followers, he or she must have useful or interesting things to say, right? That probably wasn’t a great way to think about follower counts even then, but it worked as often as not.

Today however, it’s become about gaming the system. High follower counts on social networks only demonstrate an ability to gain followers. Not useful. This leads to replies on Twitter feeling like nothing more than desperate grabs for attention.

On Micro.blog, replies feel like a conversation with a person. Imagine that.

I check Micro.blog many times a day, but not for entertainment or to see how many faves I’ve gotten. I do it to see what my friends are up to.

It may be presumptuous to call the people I follow on Micro.blog “friends”, since I don’t actually know any of them, but I can’t think of a better word. I certainly don’t call them “followers”.

Blog Consolidation

(I originally posted this as the last post on www.baty.net but thought I'd copy it here.)

The end of each year always has me thinking about simplifying things. To that end, I’m going to try consolidating my online presence. I’ll no longer be posting at www.baty.net.

For blogging, I’m going to try posting everything here at jack.baty.net.

Anything longer or more “important” than a tweet goes on the One True Blog™.

For shorter things, I’ll probably use Mastodon and cross-post to Twitter and via RSS to micro.blog. “But what about owning your content!?” you ask. Lately, the way I figure it if it’s not important enough for a title I don’t care if I “own” it or not. If that changes I'll probably just keep a hosted micro.blog blog for short posts.