Social discovery without big social media

One of the big draws to platforms like Twitter is that they are supposedly great to discover new and interesting stuff to look into. Sadly, all the big players here also have commercial interests on their own and so try to influence their users regarding what content they should consume. Instagram, in particular, in the end became pretty much useless to me as every second image was actually an ad.

While there are ways to get around this curation on Twitter thanks to great apps like Tweetbot and Twitterific, this is much harder with Instagram and if you think about it, is it really worth your time to find ways fight a platform?

Luckily, the open web still exists. I don’t need Twitter et al. to discover new and interesting stuff. As for me personally, I’ve now mostly moved away from the “classic” social media for content discovery and went back to the Web 2.0-way of life with reading tons of websites through a feed reader (Feedbin in my case) and listening to podcasts. My feed reader is pretty much the first thing I open in the morning and unlike Twitter it doesn’t fill me with stress.

Sure, there are like 500 unread items in the morning, but that’s ok, they don’t go away. If I’m not in the mood for the news of the day, I can just browse the new posts in the “Misc.” section where I have Boing Boing and and others sources for goofy stuff. Once I’m prepared to face what has happened in the world of politics and COVID-19 while I was gone, I can get into the news items at my own pace.

Same for interesting new technologies, pens, games, and so on. There are more than enough people interested in pretty much any topic under the sun that have blogs or contribute their knowledge to community pages! And if I find an intersting new website that, for some reason, doesn’t yet have an RSS feed, I usually drop the authors a mail asking them about it.

If I look back all the apps, fountain pens, and gadgets I’ve bought during the last 12 months, most if not all of them came from a blog or a podcast (curse you Pen Addict and MacStories!). The one exception I make, though, is Reddit and the r/bujo and r/fountainpens 😬

Same for podcasts. Pretty much every podcast I’ve ever subscribed to came from either a personal recommendation through a friend or contact, or from another podcast.

This setup works for me without triggering a lot of stress for me, something that I’ve grown rather susceptible to over the last couple of years.

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