What is a photoblogging challenge?

A couple times a year, we organize a challenge that consists of daily prompts and invite community members to post a photo that interprets that prompt. The prompts are usually suggestions from the community. We gather the photos into a challenge collection so you can see what other community members have done, and maybe find some new people to follow and get to know. In March 2023, we are encouraging Mastodon folks to participate as well, because the ActivityPub protocol that we use makes it possible. (See the last FAQ for Mastodon-specific details. 👇)

How will I know what today’s prompt is?

Follow @challenges where the day’s prompt is posted, as well as a sneak peek of the next day’s prompt, intended for the time zones that are located west of the International Date Line.

Jason Burk (@Burk / @jason@social.lol) has also created a calendar to which you can subscribe. Details.

Where can I see all the photos that are submitted?

We manually add photos to a special purpose timeline: micro.blog/discover/mbmar
You can also see a grid of thumbnails: micro.blog/discover/mbmar/grid

Why don’t you automate the challenge photo collection?

On Micro.blog, we prefer to hand curate content that is publicly available to remove incentive for spammers to try to game our challenges. So far, this has been manageable for our small team.

Do I need to format my photo post in a specific way or include a specific caption for it to appear in the challenge photo collection?

Your post should contain one photo, no title, and fewer than 300 characters of text so that the photo displays inline as a short post. If you include the day’s challenge prompt word, it will make it easier on the human curators, but it is not required. (If you include more than one photo, your post won’t appear in the challenge photo collection.)

There is a hashtag you can use (#mbmar) if you like hashtags. Micro.blog doesn’t support hashtags, but we don’t mind if you include them. (If you are posting from Mastodon, please use the hashtag so we can find your photos.)

We highly recommend that you add an accessible description to your photo. See Sven’s (aka @sod) engaging Micro Camp presentation “Accessible Microblogging: A Crash Course” to learn how to do that.

Why doesn’t my photo appear in the collection?

Because we are human, and sometimes miss things. Ask @jean to fix the oversight.

What are Micro.blog pins?

You can unlock pins by achieving milestones in Micro.blog, such as writing every day or using a certain feature. You can see the pins you’ve earned on the Account page One of the most difficult pins to earn is the 30-day Photo Challenge. By participating in the March 2023 challenge, you will earn it! Fun fact: Micro.blog founder @manton still hasn’t earned this pin. (If you already have this pin, you will still earn the feeling of satisfaction in completing another challenge.)

Can I submit more than one photo? Can I submit a screenshot?

In order to be included in the challenge collection, your submission should have just one photo. A screenshot won’t be included in the collection, but it will still count for the photoblogging challenge pin.

I’m on Mastodon, and I want to play along. How do I do that?

Now that Micro.blog and Mastodon have a high degree of interoperability thanks to the ActivityPub standard, we are going to try to integrate Mastodon photo submissions into the challenge collection. Please note:

  • Mastodon posts should include the hashtag #mbmar, so we can find your photos to add to the collection.
  • Mastodon users can follow the daily prompt reminders at @challenges@micro.blog
  • You won’t earn a Micro.blog 30-day Photo Challenge pin if your account is on Mastodon, not Micro.blog.
  • It might not work the way we hope, or it might cause too many headaches, and we’ll have to give up on the experiment.

You can reach Micro.blog community manager Jean MacDonald on Mastodon at @jean@social.lol with any questions or concerns.