A few weeks ago I deleted Twitter from my phone and tablet. It was a long time coming, and the reasons I chose to do it are obvious, so I’m not here to write an essay on why I did it. Instead, I’m here to give you some advice if, like me, you used to rely on Twitter to stay up to date with news and events and no longer want to use Twitter to do so.
I used a lot of the tools here before deleting Twitter, but they’ve become more useful and important in my Twitter-free screen time calculations. (And no, deleting Twitter didn’t reduce my screen time, unfortunately.) Some of these may be obvious and some of them may be new to you, but here’s what I’m doing to track both general news and topics that I’m specifically interested in.
Still, Apple News gives me top headlines from events around the world every time I open it, along with curated selections based on my reading history and the topics I’ve curated. It also provides push notifications of posts I follow and incorporates sports scores and reports from teams I care about.
But the best part of Apple News is that it gives me access to long articles from The Atlantic, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, and many more for a flat fee through my News Plus subscription. There is no other service I could find that provides me with so much long-form content for such a low price. I used to rely on my Twitter feed to fill my Pocket queue with things to read later, but now Apple News provides me with a lot of that.
Google News isn’t perfect – it relies too heavily on Google’s website AMP format and doesn’t remember my logins to paid sites very well – but it also provided a wealth of options for my news queue. waiting to read later now that Twitter is gone.
Google provides a similar feed of articles in its Discover product, which is available just to the left of your home screen on Android phones and in the Google app on an iPhone. But Discover kinda sucks and gives bad recommendations more often than good recommendations, so I usually go straight to Google News.
Believe it or not, RSS is still around and still works great for keeping up to date with updates from various websites. I’ve been using an RSS reader longer than I’ve been using Twitter, and it’s still one of the first apps I open every morning to find out what’s happening on the sites that interest me.
Setting up an RSS reader takes more work than using something like Apple News or Google News, but the reward is that you specifically enter the sources yourself, so you have a lot more control. I use Feedly for syncing (the free version, I never had to pay) which I plug into the Reeder app on iOS/Mac and FocusReader on Android. It’s set up with dozens of sources from mostly tech news sites, but also small blogs that I’ve followed for years that rarely update.
Listen, if you read this article on The edge, you probably care a bit about what’s going on in the tech world. Techmeme has been aggregating tech news headlines and discussions for longer than I’ve blogged, and it’s a go-to place to get a quick overview of everything that’s been happening in space each day. I just visited the site in my phone’s browser.
No wait, hear me out – if you don’t want to go through the setup work of those other sources and just want to scroll through a feed like you did on Twitter, our website is good enough for that. We redesigned it earlier this fall to incorporate shorter articles with links to things we find interesting on the internet, including other blogs and articles and social media posts. Our team has used it extensively and we’re really excited about the plans we have to make it even better over the coming year. And of course, we have plenty of original reports and long-form articles, plus videos and other things to read and watch instead of watching Twitter.
Yes, I am biased. Yes, that’s a shameless take. But heck, you are already here reading this article. You might as well click.
The final piece of this puzzle is a good read-after app, which I use to store and save articles from all of these sources while I check them out. I use Pocket, but Matter, Instagram and others are good options. The Reeder app on iOS and Mac even has its own read-later feature, just like Safari and other browsers.
Overall, this process of using multiple sources is more work than just scrolling through a Twitter feed every idle moment. But the rewards are worth it – you get full stories instead of snippets from dubious sources, and you don’t have to deal with Twitter’s inherent noise. And when you’re done checking the news and catching up on your read-later queue, you can hit the grass.