Brent Simmons wrote a great post on why micro.blog is not another App.net. And I completely agree with him. I do want to add a couple of aspects which I believe lends it a better chance to succeed.
Brent has clearly articulated on why micro.blog is different, especially the key parts below.
And so everyone who follows me on Micro.blog sees my blog posts, and I see theirs. Simple.
And anyone who wants to could just read my blog in an RSS reader instead. All good, all open.
If the web is a river, Micro.blog is water, where Twitter and Facebook are dams.
I believe that is also where lies the biggest differentiator for micro.blog. After all, the posts are on one’s personal website too (I would say they exists primarily on the website first). Not locked in some silo. So in way, micro.blog acts as a feed reader for people to discover and follow posts. With an added layer of interaction around them. Every aspect based on open IndieWeb principles. Of course, I am oversimplifying, but it makes it analogous to how people have understood web.
An additional aspect that I think @brentsimmons did not extend the argument to is around adoption. For any platform to succeed it is important that a community of entusiastic adopters join. More importantly, they stay actively involved in using and improving the platform. I think with app.net this aspect was clearly missing — it managed to address the first, but it just couldn’t be different enough from Twitter to take care of later. So it had many users, but hardly any active ones. Eventually, it got crushed under the networking effect of Twitter.
I believe that is not the case with Micro.blog. Fact that one can continue to write on his own website and still be involved in the platform for interaction just makes it a good sell — especially for the proponents of open web like me. We are already seeing the early signs of that — the community is building up, staying active and involved. And it keeps growing (with more prominent developers joining in). So here’s hoping we would finally have all that was good in 2000’s web, adopted for consumption habit of 2018.