I made a conscious decision to pretty much stay off twitter earlier this year. It is a terrible time-suck, it is a firehose of all kinds of things that will rob you of your sanity and faith in humankind. It also did not help my state of anxiety at the time.

I loved twitter circa 2008 because it was like a nice RSS reader I had installed as a firefox plugin. I followed my favourite heroes, I got useful tips and links. But today, a combination of more users and algorithms have made it unbearable.

However I do value the opinions of those same people, and some newer ones, so I have decided to give a try. It’s an RSS reader, which means I can follow the content of people’s personal blogs without going via twitter or checking their site directly. We use to have more of these tools for free, but they got shelved as people flocked to platforms to voice their opinions.

Right now I love it – it reminds me of why I loved surfing the web in the noughties. It’s clean, it’s focused, it gives you a gentle way to follow the people that you care about. You can view content without dealing with slow-loading fonts, excess design, popups, ads and tracking software (I think). It’s freakin’ awesome.

Similarly with many links that I look at on my phone’s browser, I often prefer or even am forced to switch to the Reader view for a clean reading experience. No shifting layouts as the assets slowly load, no popups, no goddamn cookie notices. EVERYTIME.

There are also some fabulous email newsletters around, which I subscribe to knowing that the authors will have put a lot of thought into curating them. Just one or two, around the subjects of design, tech and Japan.

The best thing about the web is that it is open and free, the worst thing about it is that it’s open and free. But I like the principle of being able to publish content yourself, and then people can view it on your site or they can choose to consume it with their own reader. I originally started a blog because I left my job to go travelling in Australia, and I did not wish to force people to read my updates (through email at the time), but they could follow my progress if they wanted to.

Low ratio of signal to noise.

Posted on | Posted in Usability, UX