As a citizen of the Internet, I produce and consume information. What I consume comes largely from blogs and YouTube channels. I consume almost nothing via Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and the like. Below are my musings on why this is the case.
Reason #1. Inbox vs. Fire Hose
Blogs and YouTube channels offer web feeds which I can subscribe to. I can group my feeds based on topic, and I read some topics more frequently than others. For some feeds I like to read every single article. For some feeds I might skip over 50 articles because I have a backlog and I’m just not that interested. One important thing about my feed reader is that I can see which articles I haven’t read, and I therefore have control about how and when I read the articles.
Social media websites largely do not offer web feeds. Instead, they offer their own list of posts from “friends”, or from people I’ve subscribed to. The trouble is, neither Facebook nor Google Plus have any way for me to keep track of which posts I haven’t seen. Sure, I can organise my contacts into groups (it takes fewer clicks on Google Plus), but I can’t use that to organise posts because there’s no easy way to show all posts from one group of contacts. But even if there was, I can’t find posts I haven’t yet read. It’s disorganised and unorganisable and my reaction is to not waste my time trying to stay up to date on either Facebook or Google Plus.
Reason #2: Threshold of Quality
On average, people think before they post blog articles or YouTube videos. If they do not, I am less likely to subscribe to their web feeds. On average, people do not think before they post status updates to Facebook or Google Plus.
Reason #3: Confounded Meaning
What is a “friend”? What do I want to regularly read about on the Internet? Are the two intrinsically linked together? Surely I want to read about every detail of the lives of all of my “friends” as they happen! So Facebook would have you believe.
What About Twitter?
All of my musings so far have been on why I don’t consume much from Facebook or Google Plus. Twitter is different. I don’t consume from Twitter because it distracts me and I can’t keep up. I have friends who find it less distracting and who keep up easily. Not everyone is built the same.
That depends… If you want me to hear what you’re up to or interested in, get a blog and write quality posts. Oh, and let me know about your blog. On the other hand, if you don’t care about attracting readers like me, then please, carry on.