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.