How I devour the internet’s daily data delta

Or how I swallow all the news without drowning

If you know anything about me you know that I read a lot. Like, a lot a lot. Likely more than anyone you’ve ever met. This isn’t some nerdy brag (🙄) — it’s just my life, and I have no real power over it. I’m almost never not reading something. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

RSS

Believe it or not, RSS still is at the core of my routine, and for very good reason: all these years on and it’s still the best way to curate the internet to your tastes and interests. And if, like me, you’ve been building up your list of feeds for damn near two decades, it’s hard to imagine anything else ever coming close.

For the last few years I’ve used Newsify on iOS, and Feedly on the web (Feedly is canonical; Newsify talks to it).

Nuzzel

Another trick is an app called Nuzzel. If you’re a “light” information hunter/gatherer, you actually might be able to get away with using only Nuzzel each day. I use it for two specific purposes: have breaking stuff sent immediately to me, and surface articles I might not otherwise find via my usual channels.

I have Nuzzel connected to both my Facebook and Twitter graphs, and it’s set to notify me whenever three or more of those folks link to the same article. This way, even if I’m swamped at work or whatever and am not actively devouring news, I still can stay on top of truly breaking stuff; this is especially true for my Facebook graph, because most of those folks tend to be muggles, and surface things I’d never come across.

The other main use is the friends-of-friends feature. At the end of every day I open the app and swipe left to the FoF list. This, as you might imagine, is a list of all the links shared by those who are F0F, but aren’t connected to me directly. Yes there’s a lot of duplication here, but I also find a ton of stuff that I otherwise never would.

Twitter

Twitter killed RSS for a lot of people. I never really understood that, especially after we fought so hard to get at least partial content (i.e., more than just a headline) into our favorite feeds, something that wasn’t even possible with Twitter until fairly recently, and still isn’t consistent or helpful really.

Twitter for me is kind of like a catch-all for the day. I’m always behind by a few hours and so when catching up I’ll see many things I’ve already seen elsewhere, but still it surfaces things I’d never see anywhere else, plus it gives me the quick and easy option of quoting tweets with my own thoughts.

Medium

Like Twitter, Medium can be a bit redundant because I check it at the end of the day and usually by then I’ve come across many of the articles already. That said, it does a decent job of surfacing a mix of new things from both the users/pubs and the interests I follow.

Product Hunt

I love what Product Hunt has become: a cogent distillation machine for the best apps/services that come out each day. (Yes, you can “hunt” older apps and services, but for the most part, the things showcased there are pretty new to the world.)

Often I come across things there that I missed through other channels.

Podcasts

Almost none of the podcasts I frequent help with keeping up with the edges of tech, except maybe a16z, The Future of Everything, and Singularity.FM. (Most of the podcasts I listen to are about either science or true crime.)

Newsletters

Kind of not my thing. I subscribe to quite a few, but I’d much rather just have them come to me via RSS. One thing I don’t enjoy is reading long-ass pieces inside an email client.

Facebook groups

As a function of my job I’m a member of hundreds of internal groups at Facebook. Most of them are tied directly to products we’re either building or thinking about building, but some are related to the goings-on in tech more generally. Luckily for me we have an internal dingus that lets me send all group posts to my email client, where I filter and triage them.


Be right back, I’ve 500 new articles to read.

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