The Ties Between Blogs & Microblogs

I've been thinking a lot over Toby Shorin's thread about the deeper ties that can be made between blogosphere discourse & Twitter discourse. A recent exchange I had on Mastodon, the decentralized microblogging network, concretized what were once abstract ideas — one possible way to deepen the ties between the blogosphere and microblogosphere.

So I am searching a hashtag on Mastodon and come across a blog post. The post in question was about how the author, Sajesh (@thumb@fosstodon.org), set up their blog — detailing some of the inconveniences he had along the way. Since I could help with some of those setbacks, I replied to the post & we had a friendly exchange.

A day passes and I get a notification on Mastodon — not from a personal account but from a blog's account. Sajesh wrote a follow-up post to the one I responded to the other day. I received a notification because Sajesh @-mentioned my Mastodon account in the post. This prompted me to reply to the blog post on Mastodon, happy that he established a smoother blogging workflow.

This exchange brought to mind one way to look at this tie between blogosphere discourse & microblogging discourse. A blog can still stand as a separate place to develop an individual voice. But what if a blog could also exist as a Twitter account of sorts?

This is one experiment happening with blogging platforms powered by the ActivityPub protocol. Since this protocol powers microblogging platforms like Mastodon, blogs can exist as microblogging accounts on these platforms — you can follow them like you follow Twitter accounts, reply to posts like you can reply to a tweet, & retweet posts in a similar fashion. Most of these imply a one way interaction. This is what makes the recent addition of @-mentions within blog posts so exciting. A blog post can be used as another way to start a conversation with someone on a microblogging platform. What was once a 280 character tweet could be 1000 words. That conversation could keep extending on the microblogging platform and/or break off into other blog posts that mention others — a hybridized exchange that eschews the rules of the typical comment section. I am reminded of a part in Toby's thread where he contemplates adding a comment section to his blog:

makes me wonder if I should add comments to my blog. I feel like the old style of blog comments just don't quite cut it for the modern web stack and ways we interact

(emphasis mine)

He's right — the old style of blog comments don't cut it. There has to be a better way to create ties between the blogosphere & places like Twitter where we already interact organically. As Toby put it, platforms like Twitter are our universal comment section. Why not have blogs take better advantage of the ways we already interact?