Open Micro

Yes, I know my photo blog is down. Shutterchance, the host, sent around an email saying they had experienced massive server failure, and were working hard to try and reconstruct files. It doesn’t sound too encouraging. And I know that Via Negativa was out of commission for close to a day. My blog host and patron, Matt, suggested that’s because I had over 30 active plugins, and the server couldn’t take it. So I’ve been cutting plugins right and left and holding my breath. No more ShareThis, no more silly word count in the footer, no more Table of Contents. (Did anyone ever actually use ShareThis? If so, for what?)

There for a few minutes yesterday morning, even The Morning Porch was down for maintenance, which meant that all three of my personal blogs were MIA at the same time. Scary. What to do?

Well, create a new site, of course. Check out the new group blog for micropoetry, Open Micro.

Most people use microblog services like Twitter and its open-source counterpart Identica for updates on their daily activities, and that’s fine. Some people use them for hilarious bon mots — I try to follow as many of those as possible. At qarrtsiluni, we use Twitter and Identica to help disseminate news about the magazine and our contributors. There are even some novelists taking advantage of the medium, trickling out new work one or two sentences at a time — enough of them that a new word has been coined for the genre, twitterature. But some of us simply enjoy the challenge of trying to create complete poems or prose-poems within the strict confines of a single microblog post of 140 characters, spaces included.

There are actually quite a few haiku writers on Twitter, though of course not all of them take the art too seriously. But it was actually the much less populous Identica whose recent addition of groups sparked the creation of Open Micro. Some of us on Twitter and Identica had long been favoriting other people’s most lyrical notices and hoarding them in our Favorites pages (mine are here), but with the ability to create a Poetry group page came a new idea: wouldn’t it be cool if we could somehow combine all our favorites pages into one?

That’s essentially what Open Micro will do. We’re trying to be careful to get permission for everything we post, though this isn’t as onerous as it sounds, since any micropoem by a fellow contributor is fair game. The group will probably add a few more members, but what we really need now are readers. Stop on over! And be sure to bookmark it, so that the next time Via Negativa vanishes into the ether, you’ll still have something to read.

2 Replies to “Open Micro”

  1. Bummer! I’m no WordPress expert, but it’s probably more a matter of one or two problematic plugins, rather than sheer numbers. Still, 30 sounds a little overboard.

    Since you clearly have a need to try all the plugins (as I do–how else can you decide if you really like them or not?) have you tried running your own little localhost world on your own computer? It can be very instructive.

    I think you run Windows, so you’d probably want XAMPP, which is available free from

    Otherwise, there’s a Mac version (MAMP) and of course the one true Linux solution, LAMP.

  2. I tried downloading XAMPP once, but couldn’t figure out how to get it running. Maybe I should try again. Thanks for the encouragement.

    You’re probably right about the plugins. I deleted the most recent additions first, since I figured I’d gotten by the longest without them, and one of them could well have been to blame. But in the spirit of national austerity and sacrifice, I decided it was high time to get rid of some of the extras in any case. Things were getting downright rococo around here, and I doubt that very many people ever used ShareThis or scrolled down far enough to read the feeds from qarrtsiluni and postal poetry (which used an extra RSS plugin because I decided the native RSS widget just wasn’t good enough. It probably just needed some extra CSSification in the theme files), among other excesses. i might add an “email this” button if/when i get around to upgrading to the new version of WP.

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