A little revelation



I had a little revelation this morning… I suspect like most people, I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook – the good aspects are very good (eg being a member of a 60k+ group of local vege gardeners is the best place for advice) but so much of the rest I just find relentlessly annoying – dumb comments, relentless ads (which were never relevant, but became completely irrelevant once I stopped FB tracking me offsite)


Due to work etc I also get ‘friended’ a lot by people I do not know. I do not know why they friend me – if they want to see what I post they can follow, but some of those people seem to assume because you agreed to be friended (& for me, usually instantly unfollowed) then its ok if they FB message me.
It happens so often I made TextExpander shortcut: “Sorry I do not use FB Messenger, it is an insecure form of communication which FB scrapes for advertising, email me if you want to get in touch”
But that wasn’t the revelation – humans I can handle…


What I realised is this: all those companies, brands, websites & platforms that I absent mindedly LIKED on FB, and accordingly who then appear erratically in my FB timeline (depending on opaque advertising-based algorithms) are better served by RSS!
That’s it, that is my revelation!


So an hour of my Sunday morning was spent unfollowing almost everything, leaving almost every group I had joined. So now the FB algorithm only has a few sources to draw from – a small bunch of people that I actually know and a couple of groups that I still follow.

So what’s the big difference?

I choose what RSS I subscribe to.
I choose when I skim read the RSS.
I choose when I follow an RSS link to visit an actual website.
And all of those websites are far better designed experiences than FB.
And most of them are personal – the personal work of lovely human beings.

Thankfully I kept all of my old RSS subscriptions, having moved from Google Reader (fck you too Google!) to NetNewsWire…

And NetNewsWire (OSX app) still works, and while writing this I discovered it has reverted ownership to its original owner, and a new version 5 was released without me even realising…
Updating now, thank you!

So thank you to RSS and no thank you to FaceBook!



And a funny side effect: as I unfollowed each website etc from FB, I checked to see I was subscribed to their RSS, and in the process discovered LOTS of great articles & content that I had missed, simply because FB was choosing what to show me in the hope of selling me advertising, and creating the illusion I was subscribed to their feeds when I was not.




One thought on “A little revelation

  1. michael

    Yeah right on – I got back into RSS feeds in the last year (it’s how I ended up reading this) and have found it so much more enjoyable than sifting Facebook. I do still get gems from Twitter (and probably FB from time to time), but I was gutted when I felt that shift away from self-managed web blogging etc. to everything being in a 3rd party’s “service” ecosystem.

    I always got the impression a major driver for Google axing Reader must’ve been trying to get people into their own tracked ecosystem instead (Google+).

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