What's the difference between Micro.blog and Mastodon?

For an overview of some of the differences between Micro.blog and many larger social networks, start with our help page on the differences between Micro.blog and Twitter. With Micro.blog we wanted to build new features for indie microblogs and connecting blogs and conversations in a community. We did not try to recreate everything from Twitter, and many of those differences apply to Mastodon as well.

Mastodon does share many of the same goals as Micro.blog:

  • No ads or user tracking.
  • No algorithmic main timeline.
  • Focus on independence. For Mastodon, that means decentralization through multipe shared instances. For Micro.blog, that means personal domain names.
  • Focus on moderation and community standards.
  • Support for the ActivityPub API, so that you can follow Mastodon users from Micro.blog, and Mastodon users can reply to your blog posts.

There are some key differences, though. Micro.blog adds many features that Mastodon does not have while leaving out some features that Mastodon does have.

Some of the features that Micro.blog adds include:

  • Full hosted blogging with either short-form microblog posts or full-length blog posts.
  • Email newsletters, so your readers can subscribe to your blog.
  • Custom blog themes and plug-ins.
  • IndieWeb APIs such as Micropub and Webmention. Use a variety of writing apps like MarsEdit, Ulysses, and iA Writer.
  • Podcast hosting, with automatic RSS feed generation.
  • Bookshelves to organize books you’re reading and quickly blog about them.
  • Bookmark archiving and highlighting.

From the beginning of Micro.blog, we’ve also left off some common social network features, hoping to encourage a different kind of community, less about popularity and more about your own blog and related conversations:

  • Micro.blog doesn’t show follower counts. Your content should be judged on its own, not by how many people follow you. Because we connect with Mastodon, Mastodon users will know when you follow them, though.
  • Micro.blog doesn’t have boosts or retweets. If you want to re-post something, you can link to it or add a block quote.
  • Micro.blog doesn’t have public favorites. If you see a post you like, reply to the person! This helps discovery too.
  • Micro.blog doesn’t have hashtags or trending keywords. The goal is not to spread virally on Micro.blog. We hope this makes the Micro.blog cleaner and limits misinformation. Many topics are collected by emoji.

Because of some of these differences, Mastodon-only client apps do not currently work with Micro.blog. You can interact with people on Mastodon from Micro.blog, but the experience of browsing and discovering posts will be a little different.

Micro.blog was an early platform to support the larger fediverse. We call the usernames on Micro.blog “Mastodon-compatible”, because they connect with Mastodon as a peer for posting and conversations. Micro.blog is not Mastodon, though, and we want to retain Micro.blog’s unique focus on blogging and community.