Twitter was the only social network I used daily, though I post far less in recent years. I relied on it for news and updates, though most of my acquaintances are not there. It was quite an effective news aggregator, so I didn’t find an alternative even after Elon Musk took over Twitter.
It was a wake-up call to me when Twitter banned third-party apps like Tweetbot. I suddenly realized that Twitter still somewhat works because of those apps, otherwise it’s a broken experience for long. I dislike the official Twitter app or website, which are full of ads and “suggested content”. It’s time to find a news aggregator.
I discovered Feedbin (*), which suits my needs of tracking updates across platforms. I used it to track blogs, Twitter, Mastodon, YouTube channels, and even newsletters. After using it for a while, I realized that the “social media timelines” urge users to stay on a website as much as possible so they can see more ads. A user may either feel they need to follow more people or read more to catch up because of the recommendations. To me, I ended up wasting more time that I want.
Using an old school RSS reader like Feedbin reminds me how efficient those tools are: they track the reading progress, so I only need to care about unread entries. Once I cleaned the unread feeds up, I am good to leave. This saves me time once I switched. Social media blend the content discovery and the people interaction together. Putting the former in a news aggregator frees me from the latter when I only want to read.
I may need to thank Elon Musk for pushing me out of my comfort zone and dropping Twitter. Now I feel I am having a better life. :)
(*) I ended up using Reeder, as it has similar features without a subscription. It doesn’t support newsletters though.