Book: Indie Microblogging by Manton Reece

Continuing my “reading books” habit – I’ve finished TWO in 2024!! I was one of Manton’s Kickstarters for and his book. The book is finally here. And I’ve managed to read it quite quickly (for me). Is it any good?

It’s worth saying that Manton’s book on Indie Microblogging is free to read on the internet, can be downloaded as a free ePub and is licensed as Creative Commons.

I’ve always loved the idea of micro blogging, of the Indie Web, of owning your content, of federation and so on. I blog here, on my own site, and my Mastodon feed is replicated to

But, despite trying… hard… several times…, I’ve always found Manton’s service a bit clumsy and over complicated.

And now Manton has, after all these years, finally finished the book! Hooray! And congrats!

Does this help me get my head around the service any more?

Well, it kinda does.

There are two things I took away from this book.

  1. Manton’s thoughts (and those of others) on the nature of the web, of blogging, and of social media.
  2. Some really deep detail on the inner workings of the service and some of the protocols and standards that it uses.

In fact, I think this should be two books. One is a really good manual/technical guide to Indie Web protocols and a user manual and developer guide for And the other is the “thinky” bit.

I enjoyed both, I suppose. I got much more out of the thinky bit. But it was interesting to learn more about how works.

I just found it weird that the start and end were philosophical, and relevant to many. But then there was a huge diversion in the middle into code snippets and JSON output and… I don’t know. That felt like it should have been elsewhere.

It also left me feeling… well… how the Indie Web always leaves me feeling. It’s too complicated! Manton walks the talk, by literally running a service that makes the indie web protocols much easier (THANK YOU!!!!). But then… it’s still complicated. RSS, XML, JSONFeed, ActivityPub, Webmention, Micropub, Pingbacks, Microformats, PubSubHubub.

Yes, this book does help you understand how it all fits together. But it also makes it evident that it’s just really complicated. And if even I don’t care enough, then there’s a very small number of people who do. And that’s always bothered me about the Indie Web.

All credit to Manton though. He got the book out! And it’s good. Just feel free to skip the manual parts.