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Repeating for time zone coverage:

Getting ready to send out a batch of Micro.blog stickers. If you’d like one, just send your name and mailing address to jean@micro.blog. International is fine.

Micro.blog stickers

Getting ready to send out a batch of Micro.blog stickers. If you’d like one, just send your name and mailing address to jean@micro.blog. International is fine, though I only have poinsettia, i.e. holiday, stamps because that’s all I could get for int’l post.

It’s already Monday for this week’s Micro @monday podcast guest @rom. Have a listen! It was a lively chat, and I also learned a lot about ube, also known as the purple yam, a delicacy I spotted in Rom’s photos recently. πŸ’œ

The Feb. Photoblogging Challenge (+ March Bonus Days) is over. So impressed with the creativity and variety of posts. Manton has wired up a special Discover page in grid format which is fun to scroll through. So many thumbnails! (We have ideas on enhancing the display.)

Portland, Oregon / 2020-10-13, 11:30 a.m.

I love seeing photos from all over the world and getting to know people a little better by what they choose to share.

A Day In The Life: Micro.blog photo challenge

heavy moss on roof of bird feeder and garage, rain falling

Starting/Ending Times for 24-hour Photo Challenge Calculated

I used TimeAndDate.com to doublecheck, and to correct for Daylight Saving Time status as of the day of the challenge.

Starting Oct. 13, ending Oct. 14:

  • UTC+5:30 (Bangalore): 10:30 pm
  • UTC+3 (Moscow): 8 pm
  • UTC+2 (Brussels): 7 pm
  • UTC+1 (London): 6 pm
  • UTC: 5 pm
  • UTC-3 (Buenos Aires): 2 pm
  • UTC-4 (New York): 1 pm
  • UTC-5 (Chicago): 12 noon
  • UTC-6 (Denver): 11 am
  • UTC-7 (Los Angeles): 10 am
  • UTC-10 (Honolulu): 7 am

Starting Oct. 14, ending Oct. 15:

  • UTC+13 (Auckland): 6 am
  • UTC+11 (Sydney): 4 am
  • UTC+9 (Tokyo): 2 am
  • UTC+8 (Beijing): 1 am

A Day In The Life of Our Online Community: A Global Photography Challenge

In October, Micro.blog is hosting a 24-hour photography challenge. Members of the community are asked to post one photo that presents a window on life where they are on one specific day.

Here’s how it works:

  • The challenge begins at 12 pm (noon) Central Time in the United States on Tuesday, October 13, and ends at the same time on Wednesday, October 14.

  • During this 24-hour period, take a photograph and post it, along with a caption that provides the location and local time.

  • You are also encouraged to include a sentence about why you blog or what your online community means to you.

  • Your post should fit into the 280-character limit of a micropost so that your photograph appears on the Micro.blog timeline.

Our goal is to have at least 100 participants from around the world in the challenge. Please register your intention to participate. We’ll email you a reminder, maybe two, so that you don’t forget and miss your opportunity to be part of this.

The challenge is inspired by the photography series A Day in the Life of… co-created by Rick Smolan and David Elliot Cohen, which launched with A Day in the Life of Australia in 1981.

“The series has acted as a time capsule of sorts to remind us to take joy in our remarkable similarities and celebrate our extraordinary differences.” – Liesl Ulrich-Verderber, “100 Photographers, 24 Hours: A Powerful Legacy,” Ever-Widening Circles

Many new folks checking out Micro.blog latelyβ€”a bright spot in these otherwise trying times. β˜€οΈπŸŒˆ

It’s a good time to point to the extensive Micro.blog tutorial by @rosemaryorchard at ScreenCastsOnline. Normally you need a subscription, but SCO granted free access to it!

August Photoblogging Challenge: Gallery

At the end of the August Photoblogging Challenge, I lamented that we didn’t have a gallery of all the submissions. Manton and I discussed what we could do for the next time, and he suggested using a tool that would let us manually add photo posts to a special Discover section for the challenge.

In theory, this would work very well for a future challenge. I tested it out on the August submissions, but it is nearly impossible to manually fish out 31 days of themed photos from many contributors. I put in a couple hours of reviewing and curating to see how it would work. You can view the gallery but please note:

  • It’s a proof of concept, not a complete record. A lot of photos are missing, so if you don’t see yours, feel free to let me know and I will get them added.

  • We will be adding a grid view as well.

Curating will work much better on a daily as-you-go basis, rather than trying to find everything after the fact. But it was really a nice experience reviewing the photos that I did. There were some I had appreciated properly the first time, or cool details I missed.

August 2020 Photoblogging Challenge: βœ…

It’s September 1, which means our month-long photo challenge is over. It was a great thrill for me to see all the contributions each day, responding to creative prompts suggested by members of the Micro.blog community. Thanks so much to everyone who participated!

A number of people commented on the quality and the quantity of the resulting posts, compared to our first photoblogging challenge in February. I noticed a “leveling-up” too, though I didn’t try to quantify it. I do know we’ve had some very talented photographers join the community since February, but I also believe that the community as a whole has been more active in sharing their photos and appreciating Micro.blog’s potential as a photoblogging platform.

Update: Check out these recaps with photos:
Maique Madeira (@maique)
Greg Moore (@gregmoore)
David Sinclair (@dejus)
Sam Grover (@samgrover)

Things I did right:

  • Asked for community prompt suggestions. For the February challenge, I created the list myself, using a combination of word generators, thesauruses, and common sense. By getting community involvement, the whole experience was even more interesting for me, and for you too, I hope. I am always looking for good ways to introduce members of the community to each other.
  • Labeled the challenge days numerically, rather than by date. The community is definitely global, and those to the East of the International Date Line are almost always a calendar day ahead of Micro.blog headquarters. I tried to make sure they got a reminder of the new day’s prompt by early morning there. At the same time, other folks did not feel constrained to the exact 24-hour day, and that is just fine. This is Micro.blog, and you control your content however it works for you!

Things I would do differently:

  • Ask for one single prompt suggestion. Initially, I got multiple suggestions from folks, which meant I would have to choose from your lists, defeating the purpose of having the prompts be community-generated. I went back to folks and asked for their top pick, or I used the first prompt on their lists.
  • Figure out a way to showcase and archive the challenge photos without overwhelming the usual Discover feeds. By default, I added every challenge photo to the main Discover feed. This is an all-or-nothing proposition as far as we are concerned; we are not in the business of judging, honoring or even “Liking” your work.

    But, as the community becomes more prolific in challenges, this undermines one of the main purposes of Discover, which is to give a snapshot of what’s happening on Micro.blog. Adding so many photos overwhelms the text entries, and could make it harder for new or potential users to skim this sample timeline. I am going to work with Manton to figure out a way to showcase challenges in the future.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, either as replies on the timeline or emails to jean@micro.blog. Our next month-long challenge will be Microblogvember, but I am cooking up some mini-challenge ideas to sprinkle into the schedule too.

ScreenCastsOnline Micro.blog tutorial now available to everyone

ScreenCastsOnline released a 46-minute tutorial on how to use Micro.blog. The presenter is a voice known to the Micro.blog community, Rosemary Orchard. (The editor is another one of my favorite people in the Apple community, J.F. Brissette.)

If you are a Mac or iPhone user, and you like in-depth tutorials of software that are well-produced and well-presented, I highly recommend you check out ScreenCastsOnline. For a $8/month (or $72/year), you’ll enjoy access to a rich library of tutorials. I’m excited to announce that ScreenCastsOnline has generously made the Micro.blog tutorial available to everyone.

The service has been around since 2005, launched by Don McAllister, a popular speaker and producer. I’ve been following Don all this time. We worked together on tutorials for Smile’s products, and we’ve also shared many good times at Macworld, Blogworld, and the MacMania cruises. The ongoing popularity of SCO is a testament to Don’s passion for helping folks with comprehensive yet clear software tutorials.

I’ve created a detailed outline here of the topics that Rosemary covers, with timestamps for some frequently-used features, to help current Micro.blog community members to skip ahead. πŸ˜‡

Getting started with a tour of Micro.blog website (1:00)

  • create an account
  • choose a theme
  • add podcast and video hosting
  • writing your first post
  • preview and markdown
  • Finding people to follow and using the Discover tab
  • Replies
  • Chronological timeline
  • Favorites
  • Mentions and conversations
  • Mute or report a user

A tour of the options available under the Account tab (10:00)

  • Complete your About Me profile
  • Add a profile photo
  • Adding crossposting
  • Crossposting to Mastodon

Editing posts and site organization

  • Time/date, title, content (15:15)
  • About, archive, photos, replies
  • Adding pages and navigation links (17:50)
  • Uploading a photo and copying HTML (19:23)
  • Categories (20:55)
  • Using category filters
  • Design (23:10)
  • Site Title
  • Podcast category and author
  • Track podcast downloads
  • Custom themes (24:40)
  • Edit css colors, footer content
  • Include conversation on post page
  • Use a custom domain (26:45)
  • Save posts to the Internet Archive
  • New post options (28:17)
  • Save drafts
  • Show categories
  • Automatic title field for long posts
  • Long posts vs microposts
  • Create photo posts

Micro.blog compatible apps (31:00)

  • Getting started with Micro.blog app for Mac
  • Tagmoji in Discover for browsing special interests (33:10)
  • Menus on Mac app (33:55)
  • Create new post (Command + N)
  • Add markdown formatting
  • Add photos
  • Help options

iPhone apps: Micro.blog and Sunlit (35:50)

  • Sign In with Apple or email
  • Allow notifications
  • Create new post
  • Add photo, markdown
  • Choose category
  • Using Sunlit (38:07)

2020 WWDC Micro Meetup Group Photo πŸ˜„πŸ“Έ

This year, we would have held the 4th Annual WWDC Micro Meetup. Obviously, that can’t happen this year, but we would like to do a quick remote meetup so we can add another photo to our collection.

If you can make it at 12 noon PDT on June 23, (Tuesday lunch has been our tradition in San Jose), please come say a quick hello and give us a chance to capture a Zoom meetup group photo for 2020 for posterity. Sign up to receive the Zoom link and more details! All are welcome!

Check out previous years’ group photos below. There is also a nice collection of photos by @jeffwatkins from 2018.

Update: 2020 WWDC Micro Virtual Meetup

2019 WWDC Micro Meetup Group in San Jose

2019 WWDC Micro Meetup

2019 WWDC Micro Meetup Group in San Jose

2018 WWDC Micro Meetup

2018 WWDC Micro Meetup Group in San Jose

2017 WWDC Micro Meetup

2019 WWDC Micro Meetup Group in San Jose

We’ve entered the second week of the Micro.blog May Challenge Sprints. Last week’s theme was quotations. πŸ’¬

This week is photos, each featuring a different color of the rainbow. The first day color is Red, then

  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Indigo
  • Violet

πŸ“·πŸŒˆ #mbmay

Call no chain strong, which holds one rusted link.
Call no land free, that holds one fettered slave.

– Ella Wheeler Wilcox, Protest

(This poem was used in Season 5 of Orphan Black as the source of all the episode titles.) πŸ’¬ #mbmay

Coming May 4: Micro Challenge Sprints

After the success of Microblogvember and the February Photo Challenge, we are ready to challenge you again. Instead of a single month-long focus, we thought it would be fun to break things up with a series of challenge sprints!

Each Monday in May, we’ll kick off a new weeklong challenge sprint. Here are the details:

May 4: Quotations πŸ’¬
Inspiring, funny, serious, joyful, famous, made-up: it’s up to you!
Bonus: We’ve just activated the quotation tagmoji as a Discover category.

May 11: Photos: Color-A-Day Challenge πŸ“·
We’ll prompt you each day with the colors of the rainbow, starting with Red.

May 18: Book recommendations πŸ“š
Which are the seven books you most love to share?

May 25: Artwork and drawings 🎨
Show off your own creations, or share someone else’s work.

We are not creating a new pin for this series. But your posts will count toward existing pins, such as:

  • 10 Posts
  • 25 Posts
  • 7-day photo challenge

And if your trying to earn the elusive 30-day Blogger pin, you’ll get very close if you post for 28 days in a row in this challenge.

We’ll post reminders about each day’s challenge, and we’ll also add your entries to the Discover feed. And if you feel the need to use a hashtag: #mbmay

Day 22 of the Micro.blog February Photoblogging Challenge:β€œspectacle.” I tripped on these stairs in a dark Austin bar, falling flat and making a spectacle of myself. I don’t seem to have any serious new injuries but πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ ugh.

(Day 23: β€œstation.”)

#mbfeb

If you are cross-posting your photoblogging challenge posts to Twitter, you can include the tag #mbfeb. We’ll be encouraging folks on Twitter to check out Micro.blog and participate, and we’ve extended the free trial period to cover the photoblogging challenge.

Welcome to Day 1 of the February Photoblogging Challenge. Today’s prompt is “open.”

To participate, all you have to do is post a photo that appears in the Micro.blog timeline. It’s helpful if you include the prompt word for Discover, but not required.

2020 February Photoblogging Challenge

The challenge runs from February 1 through March 1, for a total of 30 days. There is a prompt for each day, open to your interpretation. If you post a photo each day during the challenge, you’ll earn a special pin in your Micro.blog account.

We’ve extended the Micro.blog free trial period to coincide with the photoblogging challenge, so invite your friends to register for Micro.blog and join the challenge. Photoblogging is one of the most popular uses of Micro.blog, and a great way to get into a habit of posting.

The photo posts will be added to the Discover timeline and can be viewed in the Discover photos feed as well.

Update: if you include the prompt word with your photo, it will help us adding your posts to the Discover timeline. If you are cross-posting to Twitter, you can include the tag #mbfeb. We’ll be encouraging folks on Twitter to check out Micro.blog and participate, and we’ve extended the free trial period to cover the photoblogging challenge.

(A note about time zones: the prompts are organized by day, not date. In practice, folks in Australia and New Zealand will likely want to post February 2 - March 2. This won’t affect your pin eligibilityβ€”we’ve accounted for that.)

Day 1: Open
Day 2: Sight
Day 3: Reflect
Day 4: Spot
Day 5: Hide
Day 6: Plant
Day 7: Above
Day 8: Contrast
Day 9: Lull
Day 10: Sign
Day 11: Plain
Day 12: Attachment
Day 13: Rise
Day 14: Warmth
Day 15: Balance
Day 16: Rest
Day 17: Cool
Day 18: Oppose
Day 19: Space
Day 20: Scale
Day 21: Progress
Day 22: Spectacle
Day 23: Station
Day 24: Double
Day 25: Hurdle
Day 26: Escape
Day 27: Together
Day 28: Below
Day 29: Leap
Day 30: Vision

The February photoblogging challenge starts in 2 days! The list of prompts will be posted tomorrow.

Do you have friends who would enjoy such a challenge? Invite them to Micro.blog now! We extended the trial period through March 1 for all new accounts to accommodate them. πŸ“ΈπŸ—“

Reminder: we are running a Micro.blog photoblogging challenge starting February 1. We are working on the prompts, a new pin, and a way to make it easy to invite your friends to join us on Micro.blog and participate. πŸŽ‰πŸ“ΈπŸ—“

It’s Micro Monday again (what’s that?). I’m finishing up today’s @monday podcast episode, but in the meantime, I recommend @keinan’s photoblog with fantastic photos of trees, annotated with names, both English and Latin.

I’m looking forward to IndieWeb Camp Austin Feb. 22-23. It’s a great gathering of people who care about personal blogs at all levels of tech expertise.

Also, mark your calendars for Fri., Feb. 21, late afternoon/happy hour Austin Micro Meetup, downtown location TBD. πŸŽ‰

One of my 2020 goals, now that I’m mobile again, is to organize and attend more Micro Meetups.

Portlanders: Here is a simple survey to get us started picking a time. No obligation!

I’d be happy to do a morning coffee or lunch AND a happy hour after-work meet up every month.

Another account to check out is @Gabrielcornish, who makes animated pixel art. We don’t include animations in the Discover timeline, but if you like them, you should go have a look at today’s πŸŽ„.

Belated Micro @monday recommendation: @AJgloe, whose Sublime Maps are always eye-opening. Per the bio: “Many beautiful, historical, complex, simple, funny, weird, and shitty maps to see!” There can be a lot of maps in this stream, so be warned.

If you are looking for a way to support Micro.blog, pre-order Indie Microblogging by @manton. Not only does your purchase make a difference, you’ll learn a lot about alternatives to social media and why it’s important to control your content, so you can help spread the word!

We’ve created a Welcome to Micro.blog page. I will share it with new users when they pop up on the timeline. I think it is a good intro to how Micro.blog works. We also created a Community section in the Help where these resources articles are posted.

I’d love your thoughts!

It was surprisingly unnerving to be the guest on my own podcast. Manton interviewed me for his forthcoming book on indie microblogging. It was fun(ny) to recall my original expectations for Micro.blog. Thanks to everyone here for making this job much nicer than I anticipated!

Congratulations to everyone who has made it to through Microblogvember and/or the December extension.

Emoji recap:

πŸ”‘ βœ–οΈπŸŽ© πŸ˜ˆπŸš˜πŸ’πŸ˜±πŸŒŸπŸ₯ΆπŸš€πŸ€— 🏨 πŸ’ͺπŸ¦’πŸŒ«πŸ—³πŸ†πŸ—πŸ›‘πŸ₯ˆβ­•οΈπŸŽ΅πŸ˜­πŸ‘­πŸ”πŸŽ›πŸ’°πŸ‘πŸŽ‰πŸ§©

βž•πŸ§Ÿβ€β™‚οΈπŸžβœŠβŒšπŸ“–πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

Your Microblogvember pin will be available in your account soon!

Microblogvember: Micro All The Things!

On October 31, I mentioned to Micro.blog founder Manton Reece that I had seen references to a challenge called Blogvember. It sounded like a nice writing exercise for those who wanted to rededicate themselves to daily blogging, much like NaNoWriMo does for novel writers.

Micro All The Things!

Ever since I became the community manager of Micro.blog, I’ve developed an appreciation for the beauty of going “micro”: microposts, microcasts, micro meetups, microcosms of interesting humans interacting online on a human scale. I always think of prefixing things with “micro-” now, so I wondered if “Microblogvember” would have any appeal. I put the question to the community and got an enthusiastic response.

I came up with a simple way to generate daily random prompts (less work for me!) for people to incorporate into a short micropost (less work for everyone!). It was really fun and inspiring to see so many folks participate. Many commented that they were happy to have a nudge to get back into a daily writing habit.

This is what I like about a micro approach. Start with something small, and build on that. It also works with podcasting, for example. Micro.blog has spawned several microcasts (including our own Micro Monday) by making it easy to start small.

Starting small is great. And it’s also important to recognize the value of staying small, if that suits you or your project.

As I write this, there are fewer than 24 hours to go in the calendar day November 30, 2019. Today’s word is integrate. I look forward to seeing more posts from the community, as folks integrate blogging into their day.

A Few Lessons

1) Plan! Unfortunately, the idea didn’t hit me until October 31. It was already November 1 in some places, particularly New Zealand and Australia, where we have quite a few community members. Now that I know, I will be looking at my Focused 2020 Wall Calendar to schedule future challenges and get the word out in a timely manner. (We decided to extend the prompts into December, to give anyone who missed the beginning a chance to do 30 posts and earn the Microblogvember pin.)

2) Time zones make things a little awkward. For a calendar-based challenge like Microblogvember, I felt it was important to provide new prompts on the correct date in time for our friends on the other side of the International Date Line, a concept that gives me a headache! That might have been distracting for people who were still working a day behind. I have done challenges that just have numbered days, i.e. Day 1 is Day 1, regardless of the date, but then the Kiwis and others would be starting on November 2. I will be mulling this over, and would appreciate any feedback.

3) The random word generator was an excellent tool. It saved me from my natural inclination to curate a “perfect” list. Sometimes we got a word out of left field (woebegone?), but overall, the resulting list worked well. I plan to keep this tool handy, if only to give myself a random word when I need a theme or inspiration.

The 2019 Microblogvember Prompts

1: key
2: mark
3: fancy
4: mean
5: street
6: stick
7: frightening
8: star
9: cold
10: space
11: touch
12: stay
13: able
14: neck
15: murky
16: selective
17: superb
18: build
19: abate
20: second
21: hollow
22: hum
23: woebegone
24: company
25: secure
26: mix
27: rich
28: property
29: fantastic
30: integrate

Microblogvember

I noticed a few references this week to an idea called Blogvember. It’s like Inktober, with daily prompts for inspiration for blogging rather than drawing.

So of course, I wondered if we could do Microblogvember, to encourage folks to post something short on their blogs everyday. Spurred on by enthusiasm from the Micro.blog community (and friends on Twitter!), I’ve come up with this plan:

1) Every day I will go to a random word generator to get the latest prompt and post it.

2) Participants write a micropost, 280 characters or fewer, that includes the prompt word.

In the spirit of other challenges, you can do any variation of this that suits you: write something inspired by the word, write a longer post and link to it, etc. But I’ve made the basic instruction as simple as possible, so it’s fun while helping you flex that writing muscle and establish a daily writing habit.

On Micro.blog, you’ll earn a new Microblogvember pin for your account. (Manton and I are still working out the exact details of the requirement.) Use the abbreviation “mbnov” or the word Microblogvember so we can credit you for the post. Just post at least once a day in November, and you’ll earn the pin. (And if you haven’t yet earned the 30-day blogger pin, you’ll get that too!)

Email me if you have questions email jean@micro.blog.

Daily Prompts

November 1: key
November 2: mark
November 3: fancy
November 4: mean
November 5: street
November 6: stick
November 7: frightening
November 8: star
November 9: cold
November 10: space
November 11: touch
November 12: stay
November 13: able
November 14: neck
November 15: murky
November 16: selective
November 17: superb
November 18: build
November 19: abate
November 20: second
November 21: hollow
November 22: hum
November 23: woebegone
November 24: company
November 25: secure
November 26: mix
November 27: rich
November 28: property
November 29: fantastic
November 30: integrate

note: We’ll supply prompts through December 6, as promised, to give folks a few extra days to complete 30 days of microblogging during Microblogvember and earn the pin.

December 1: horrible
December 2: panoramic
December 3: knock
December 4: wrist
December 5: verse
December 6: bewildered