The question comes up regularly: to what extent is there diversity in the Micro.blog community? We only ask for a name and an email address to register, so we don’t have any demographics on the users in our community. But I do know, based on skimming the names of those who register, that the percentage of users with typically female names is very small. When I look at users whose avatars are photos of themselves, I suspect the percentage of people of color is also very small.
When the Micro.blog Kickstarter was running in January 2017, I reached out to several women to ask if they would be interested in joining. Of those I talked to, some expressed that they were leery of joining a new social network based on their experience of abuse and microaggressions on other social networks. I completely understand why women, transgender and gender non-conforming people, and people of color might not flock to a new and untested community.
It is not surprising, but it is not disheartening. We have the power to change the social network dynamic. Micro.blog was built from the ground up to protect its users from the type of abuse so common on Twitter and elsewhere. In the Kickstarter campaign, Manton’s one stretch goal was to hire a community manager to be steward of this commitment. As our community takes shape, I feel strongly we have something to offer to those who have not felt welcomed on other social networks. For my part, I am reaching out to people whom I talked to a year ago and encouraging them to give Micro.blog a try, now that there is a fairly active community of users.
Whether it’s a Micro Monday recommendation or encouraging someone new to join, I challenge everyone on Micro.blog to look outside your regular circle of contacts and friends and make an effort to bring in new participants whose voices we all need to hear.
As community manager, I welcome everyone’s comments and suggestions. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me in the Microblogging Slack. I’d also like to hear from anyone who has considered joining Micro.blog but has hesitated due to concerns about the community.