On Social Media,​ A Chronological Feed is Never Coming Back

I joined Twitter almost a decade ago and it’s changed a lot over the years. In the beginning, you’d see the fail whale more than you should, they added official support for retweets, likes, and offended all 3rd party developers multiple times.

One of the worst moves for me was where they added the, “you may have missed” section at the top of the feed. In fact, this alone annoyed me enough to stay with Tweetbot.

I’ve been adamant that a chronological feed is the right answer and everyone should embrace it, but this year I made a change in how I use Twitter and I started following more people. Previously I kept my total following count to around 150, and if I followed someone that posted a bunch I would unfollow or mute. Now I’m currently at 326 and the feed is unusable. Every time I go back to check it says I have 100’s of unread and I don’t have time for that, so I just scroll to the top, read around ten, then close it and go on about my business.

Unless everyone decides to follow a very select 50 to 100 people the stream is unusable and it just can’t adapt to a constant flow of 300+ people. So the ranked and weighted feed is the only way to show you highlights and keep you sane.


An RSS Revival?

Over the weekend Wired published a story saying it’s time for an RSS revival and it hit home for me because this year I’ve made a concerted effort to move back to RSS and away from social media.

For my setup, I use Feedbin as the RSS reader and outside of just standard RSS features, it includes several other features that I really enjoy. These include:

Feedbin is commercial and the price is $5 a month and I’m happy that I can pay and support the creators and the developers that work on it.

The one thing I have found lacking with the move back to RSS is finding sources to subscribe too. I did find this PHP RSS OPML list by Freek Murze which helped seed my feed, but so many of my friends stopped blogging and the only way to keep up with them is through social media.

I miss the days when people would have their own site and either write their own thoughts or share resources through link blogging. I’ve tried to work around this by using Nuzzel which collects all the links your friends are sharing on social media and emails you a daily archive. The downside is you lose any commentary on the link, but at least you can see what your friends think is interesting.

I guess at the end of the day I’m feeling nostalgic, but honestly, I’m just tired of the social media hot takes that are meant to outrage. Jason Fried summed it up perfectly:

At the end of the day no matter how much I want it, I don’t see the web ever going back to what it once was. The move from owning your space to being part of someone else’s service is here to stay.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

I see book recommendations all over the internet and in the past, I would try to make a mental note or add the title to my task list to check out later. This never really panned out because I went back to check I would forget who recommended it and without that personal connection I’d decide against getting the book.

This year I changed that up and decided to add any book that a friend recommends to my Amazon cart that way I’d be forced to ​take ​action on it. The Arrival is one of those books and it came as a surprise because someone else in my family completed the cart and it came as part of the order. #lifehack

As I started flipping through it I was amazed that it was a graphic novel telling about the immigrant experience. It’s beautiful and will make a great coffee table book and one to go through with my kids.

The one downside to all this is now I can’t remember who I have seen​n recommend it, but I appreciate it.

If you want to know more about the book itself this review from Alana Abbott is perfect:

Tan captures the displacement and awe with which immigrants respond to their new surroundings in this wordless graphic novel. It depicts the journey of one man, threatened by dark shapes that cast shadows on his family’s life, to a new country. The only writing is in an invented alphabet, which creates the sensation immigrants must feel when they encounter a strange new language and way of life. A wide variety of ethnicities is represented in Tan’s hyper-realistic style, and the sense of warmth and caring for others, regardless of race, age, or background, is present on nearly every page. Young readers will be fascinated by the strange new world the artist creates, complete with floating elevators and unusual creatures, but may not realize the depth of meaning or understand what the man’s journey symbolizes. More sophisticated readers, however, will grasp the sense of strangeness and find themselves participating in the man’s experiences. They will linger over the details in the beautiful sepia pictures and will likely pick up the book to pore over it again and again

You can get your own copy of The Arrival on Amazon and it’s currently $13.99 for the hardcover, which I recommend.

When it comes to tools like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram: don’t let the fear of missing out dictate how you live your life. The most productive and fulfilled people I know often got where they are by doubling down on the activities that return them huge benefits, while happily ignoring everything else.

Cal Newport – On Analog Social Media

Read books and listen to audiobooks with Libby

The public library system doesn’t seem to get a lot of love lately, but they are making great strides in modernizing. One example​ is the Libby app for phones and tablets.

I first seen it mentioned by a friend on Twitter and decided to check it out. I found the Leonardo Da Vinci biography as an audiobook and put it on hold. ​Last night I got an email it was available and was instantly able to start listening.

The app is pretty well done, and it includes all the main features you need. Plus a bonus for ebooks to automatically send them to your Kindle.

The only downside is that a lot of book titles that I looked for had only one or two stock and you have to place a hold which can take some time before it’s available, but if you haven’t tried out your local library lately, I’d recommend it.

Quick Review of Andy Weir’s Artemis

Artemis by Andy Weir came out at the end of last year and as a big fan of the Martian I decided to grab the Audible version, which is arguably the best way to consume fiction, and after finishing it I wanted to share my thoughts.

First, the narrator, Rosario Dawson, was brilliant. I loved her in the Luke Cage and Iron Fist shows and she didn’t disappoint​ with this book. However, outside of her,​ I was really let down by this book.

Everything was way too convenient​ for the main character, Jazz Bashara, and the teenage sexual humor annoyed me. This book was very different from the Martian and I’m sure by piggybacking​ on the success of that book this one will be made into a movie, but I’m hoping this was just a sophomore slump for Andy Weir and he’ll be back on his game for the next one.

If you haven’t tried an Audible book before you can get two free Audiobooks through their current promotion. I’d recommend getting a different book for first though.