There is no question that social media apps provide immense value by giving us information to help us be informed.
But that’s not all you get when you use social media apps. You also get unsolicited clickbait that’s not designed to inform, but rather to capture your attention involuntarily – to the point of becoming compulsive. And it shows in the amount of time we spend on these apps: Getting what we want from them should really only take a couple hours a week – yet many people use them a couple hours a day.
So the challenge is having the ability to stay informed while not getting sucked into all of the bad. It’s a shift from compulsive use to controlled use.
I’ve been using RSS feeds for close to 10 years now and have found that an RSS feed reader is the ideal tool for staying in control because:
- You can’t “like” an update that comes to you via RSS, nor comment, nor easily share – you consume for your own benefit, not for someone else’s (or some company’s). Your motives for consuming are higher ones – like reaching your goals, not crafting your image for others to see.
- It’s difficult for sites to monetise, track or promote their own agenda in RSS. So there is no way to exploit your mind’s weaknesses and prey upon your psychological vulnerabilities. You read RSS feeds when you want to, not why they want you to.
- RSS is pure content, curated by you based on your personal goals, instead of algorithmically generated based on a corporation’s goals.
Digital minimalism is based on simple, carefully curated content, aligned with what you find to be important in your life. Any tool you use should help you increase your control over that content, not take control away. RSS is the best tool yet.