Over the last 12 month I changed my reading behavior for all things digital. First of all I closed my personal Facebook Account (and Instagram Account) after discovering how much time I spent on Facebook via Rescuetime (multiple hours each week). I can’t ignore Facebook for my business, so I have an account under a pseudonym for administering Facebook pages (my clients and my own). Closing the Facebook Account was part of a new year’s resolution for 2015 titled “scroll less read more”: Instead of scrolling down my Facebook feed, filling my content pipeline with actual brainfood.
How do I spend that newly available time?
The goal was not to spend less time online but spend it differently.
I spend more time again consuming blogs via feedly. You get great content via your Facebook feed, but it tends to be not the local blog content that appears, but something which is overly shared and discussed from well established news sites (besides lots of other distractions like event invites, birthdays, funny videos,…).
I now try to avoid both local and international well established media properties like Spiegel, DerStandard, Buzzfeed, NYTimes etc. and consume more content from individual bloggers. This is my way of supporting the blogosphere instead of sending more traffic to already established sites making money with pageviews.
How I try to manage this? I removed all RSS subscriptions from my reader which do not allow me to consume full content within Feedly (with a few exceptions). Sites like re/code or Mashable, as an example, don’t want you to consume their content without generating a pageview, which generates more value for them. This leaves you with much less subscriptions to go through. And the really big stories, if not covered via your now reduced set of subscriptions, still reach you via Twitter or other channels.
Also, my interests change and blog editors too: I started removing RSS feeds I have not read in over 6 months. As I often stopped blogging for a few weeks or even month I know that a longer period of non-publishing does not mean someone decided to leave the blog-game forever. Also blogs get sold, change ownership and authors, which often leads to a different editorial style and then I subscribed for. Unsubscribe.
More time on Twitter again
I always liked Twitter for the possibility to start a conversation with someone without having a formal handshake beforehand. What I do not like is the big amount of spam accounts, auto-follow bots etc.
So I found Nuzzel, a little handy tool which filters out the garbage and helps to find content outside your filter bubble (in this case my RSS reader is my bubble – it needs active subscription from my end). Especially the filter method “news from friends of friends” helps a lot with this. It shows what all the Twitter Friends of your friends shared.
Evaluating “new” platforms
I have used Medium and LinkedIn for years but never took a detailed look, I just logged in from time to time. The first half of 2016 I will evaluate if/how those 2 platforms can be added to my content consumption routine. As for now there is a great overlap in business content. Medium is less promotional than LinkedIn, but both platforms have their benefits. I also see lots of bloggers publishing content on LinkedIn and Medium in addition to their personal blogs.
Thanks to Mailchimp and other tools managing and sending newsletters got so easy over the last years that lots of people have decided to build communities around them. Lots of bloggers and journalists go through loads of content each day and provide a list of the must reads with recommendations. I subscribed to many of them and I am constantly evaluating new ones, but a few stand out. I also subscribe to them from a dedicated inbox and only go through them when I have time to read. The last few weeks I enjoyed the following Newsletters:
Switching from daily to weekly “news” consum
This is still work in progress. There is so much going on and endless possibilities to dig deeper on any topic you want. I do open my channels multiple times during the week but I try to do it on purpose and not “on notification”. This is an ongoing effort and interruptions are unavoidable. Turning off app notifications did not help that much as expected, but turning the phone silent (no vibration either) and turning it upside down on my desk helped.
Most individual bloggers do not update their site multiple times a week, but once. Another benefit with a weekly routine is that with a few days of cooling off of a so called hot topic you get the first summaries or complete reports on it instead of following everything in the minute as it happens.
Further Reading on this topic: