Replacing Mastodon

January 12, 2024

Although my last blog post praising Mastodon still paints its strengths positively, I've concluded that microblogging (Twitter, Threads, Mastodon, Bluesky, etc) isn't for me, on the whole.

I've enjoyed platforms like these based on their ability to put great content in front of me and teach me new things. Unfortunately, these moments are rare.

Not "Needle in a Haystack"

Finding quality content online amongst the default refuse is often referred to as "finding the needle in the haystack," but this doesn't describe microblogging sites well.

At a glance, worthless content can look like good content. Someone may write an interesting hook for a post, but it turns out they don't have much to say. Usually you're just fast-scrolling past entire categories of posts your brain has been trained to ignore. Swimming through blurb after blurb, expending mental energy weighing each post's value... it's a sad picture.

A better term for this is finding a needle in a pile o' paperclips.

Only Needles

If you're like me, your best use of social media is to feed specific niche hobbies. My best moments on Twitter / Mastodon / Threads were those I learned something new in my corner of tech. But if this is the exact scenario I hope to repeat, why not explicitly set myself up for success?

Reflecting back on the posts I've found most valuable, it's always a detailed breakdown of a brand new feature in a library I use regularly. The authors of these posts are often the same few programmer-bloggers.

While this sounds like a silly revelation, I realized RSS could save me so much trouble. Specifically in two ways:

  1. Subscribing to the blogs of a few quality technical writers
  2. Subscribing to the Github release feeds of the libraries I care about

My Specific Setup: RSS to Slack

I don't regularly consume content via RSS, and the content I'm interested in mostly informs the work I do. For this reason, subscribing to various feeds in my personal DMs in Slack has been really convenient.

Instead of scrolling online, hoping to find helpful info, or even keeping track of my own RSS Feed in a separate app, I'm pinged on Slack any time a worthwhile bit of content is released. Now, my overhead for learning about brand new developments on the projects I care about is zero. Sure, I'm missing out on other things, but it seems like a net positive to me.

Doing My Part

In case you wanted to follow this blog via RSS (whether in your own app or in something like Slack), you can do that! The link is my root domain here, /feed.xml.