Introducing zunzuncito, a microblog

Wolfgang Müller

Writing things is hard. So hard, in fact, that the dearth of posts here is not for lack of ideas or things to talk about, but instead for limits on how I want to spend my time. There are plenty of things I’d love to write longer posts about, but doing that takes at least three to four days if not an entire week. True, this is partly down to obsessing over documenting everything and my need to get every detail right, but in a sense I also cherish that part of me, so I don’t want to outright suppress it.

Clearly not everything needs that kind of treatment, however. Some things can be said with brevity and perhaps do not deserve an in-depth look at that particular moment. But since I’ve long taken this site as a space to write longer-form and truly developed articles, breaking with that notion here seems unwise and inconsistent - this place is just not built for short posts. Still, I have long felt the need for a platform that is meant for that kind of content.

Platforms aplenty, all broken

Modern microblog platforms like Twitter seem to mostly take care of that need for other people. I’ve tried a few times now to keep a Twitter presence going, but never really felt a deep connection to it. Attention-grabbing design choices always put me off of it after a few months. It wasn’t really a space I felt comfortable in, I felt like I had to market myself to others.

Mastodon is the same by virtue of being designed like Twitter, a decision I understand on a technical level1 but one that I deeply dislike on an ethical one. I do not think that Twitter’s problems2 will be solved by federation alone. There will need to be changes to the core experience and a rethink on how social networks affect people. Neither is a space for me.

A humming microblog

Instead, I decided to build my own. A place for all the smaller things that I would still like to share with the world. A place that I have full control over and can cultivate by myself.

Check zunzuncito out over here. It’s named3 after the Bee hummingbird, the world’s smallest bird.

zunzuncito runs on Zola, a static site engine. Initially I wanted to use the tried and true combo of lowdown and sblg, but there were some annoying limitations like the lack of easy pagination. Make no mistake, however, using Zola still results in a number of limitations that make this a bespoke solution at best.

I expect to be iterating on this design as I use it. If you want to follow along, check out the git repository.

  1. It arguably also was the easiest thing to do and an obvious marketing decision. The platform wouldn’t have grown the same had it provided a completely different and new experience. 

  2. Really these are no longer Twitter’s problems, but rather problems on the societal level, as people have internalized the sort of culture and context shared on these types of platforms. 

  3. Spanish zunzún (an onomatopoeia) + -cito (a diminutive suffix)