I have been throttling way down on my social media consumption over the last few months. These days I usually check my feeds about once every two weeks or so.
I do however still drop links in FaceBook to posts I have written.
The reality is, if don’t do this, hardly anyone visits to read them.
And that’s what I want to talk about.
For many of us Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & YouTube have now become our primary media content providers. Its the main way we find stuff to read online.
We seem happy to sit back and let friends of friends, advertisers and algorithms determine what we will click through to read.
I admit social media feeds are a really great way to see what your friends are actually up to (or at least what they want you to see that they are up to), but that is usually a small fraction of the stuff you are actually presented with.
Honestly, most of it is simply froth and bubbles …dont you agree?
In addition, there is so much content just up ahead in that infinite scroll, that when we do follow a link, we tend to skim through it rapidly, chunking up the text, totally unable to hold our attention for more than just a few seconds… in case there is something more juicy happening back on Facebook.
Leaving social media has let me curate my own content of interest.
To slow down and re-learn how to discover stuff online:
Build your own magazine:
- Curate it.
- De-clutter it.
- Read it.
In the morning I spend a few minutes curating the content that I will read during that day. Most of the sites I like to follow (and I will give you some examples of them later) I have already entered into an app called Feedly.
Feedly is what is known as a content aggregator.
Each morning it presents a fresh list of all the posts from sites I follow.
I can sort through them by topic (for example the latest news) or look at them in chronological order.
I don’t really read the posts at this point. I just look at the headings (and the pictures) and see if that post looks like something I want to read later.
Because it is all collected from sites I already like, the rubbish to relish ratio is much more in my favour.
If a post grabs me I then save it to Instapaper (which you can do directly from the Feedly app with one click).
It sounds complicated, but it takes just a couple of minutes to select and save a whole bunch of interesting stuff.
Later in the morning, usually over a cup of coffee, I will pull up Instapaper and settle back to read through the articles I have flagged.
Instapaper strips out all the ads, link-outs, pop-ups and other annoying distractions and presents each post in a minimalistic, visually relaxing and easy to read format (this is all fully customisable). There is another similar app that I can recommend to do this called Pocket.
Some of my feeds:
Spending my valuable time properly reading through the stuff I find interesting has been immensely rewarding. There is real quality writing out there, that will make you think and reflect….. if you just push aside the time-suck of the froth and bubbles.
And you will be surprised just how much new content you will discover on your own without the help of FaceBook et al.
It’s totally up to you what feeds you add to Feedly. Your interests are probably way different to mine.
I would recommend including your preferred news channel (and personally I also like to check news from sources I don’t usually agree with, say for example, Fox News, just to challenge my thinking)
Websites that themselves curate from other sources are also a useful way to discover new sites of interest (for example: Longform).
Anyways, to give you an idea, here is just a tiny sample of some of my own regular readings.
- Exploring Alternatives.
- Emergence Magazine.
- The First Mess.
- The Blond Nomads.
- Vimeo staff picks.
- Scientific American
- The Radavist.