Yaël Ossowski

Follow @yael on Micro.blog.

Content is King, And Why I'm Switching to Micro.blog

I began writing online as a hobby about 15 years ago. Throughout high school, I was a proud Xanga-addict. We had a great blog ring set up with friends and colleagues from our theatre troupe and beyond. I've since backed up that archive once the site shut down, but there's no way I'll link it here :)

I probably switched a few more times to Blogger and then back to Tumblr, but the launch of Facebook began taking over peoples' personal weblogs.

Then, once I started having more concerte political ideas, I moved to Tumblr, which was a very good platform for micro-blogging.

I kept at that at the beginning of university, but once I started my own college radio show, I saw the need to pivot to Wordpress, allowing me to embed audio and host my longer form articles.

Sometime after a short stint in TV, I got my first writing gig at the newspaper outside of my hometown, the Gaston Gazette. There, my articles were being published on the front page and subsequent pages in print, and also online. I made sure to replicate these articles on my personal website, which I still use.

My next job, as state-based reporter for a national news website, meant that my writing was being published almost exlusively online. Unfortuantely, that operation has since changed servers and all my links were broken. But I saved all articles in HTML and PDF format on my own server.

Some years later, I'm still writing professionally in my capacity as a consumer advocate and editor of Devolution Review, which isn't as active as I'd like. As such, my articles are now being published internationally, mostly online, but I'm still archiving to my website.

While my personal Wordpress-powered website is great for catalouging my articles, it's not necessarily the best vehicle for my shorter thoughts and musings. Mostly, these have transitioned to Twitter or, in some capacity, to Facebook. But I'd rather completely own my data, as the examples above justify.

I was driven to this mostly by the Freedom Controller, an all-around great service created by Dave Jones and promoted by the No Agenda podcast producers and hosts. It's an RSS reader, publisher, and content management service that runs on my personal server. The RSS feed for that content is here. It's perfect for following the news of the day, providing snipe commentary, and easy posting to my social media channels. It took some work to implement, uploading on an Ubuntu server I run via Digital Ocean, but now it's in full working order.

Freedom Controller's core code, though whipped together by Dave Jones, comes from podcasting co-founder and Internet guru Dave Winer, who has created dozens and dozens of programs for the open web. I was an early adherent of his River and Radio programs, and recently tried out 1999.io for microblogging purposes.

The flow, ease of reading, and editable posts make 1999.io a wonderful tool, but it took a lot of server know-how to get it running. I'm no sysadmin and more of a kiddle coder, so copying and pasting, and hours of troubleshooting finally got everything working. But it still requires logging in each time, starting the server, and only servering the website via a port, not to mention intraicate working of the config.json file that is just a tad above my comfort level. That means it will be hard for friends and family to read it.

Though I'd still like to get 1999.io in full working order (accessbile via an easy website like yaeloss.com), it seems micro.blog is able to produce a very similar product without the need for excessive coding and server management. That makes it easy to just write, link my other pages, and produce content.

That's the main reason why I'm using micro.blog, which you're reading at this moment.

It's easy to input, the output is clean and accessible on blog.yael.at, and it doesn't take any mantainence on the backend.

Of course, I can still be convinced to use 1999.io, and I hope I can use that produce considering its look and ease of editing. Even here, I have to input every link using HTML code.

So that's a little storytelling of my journey to using this service. Let's see how long it lasts.