A few weeks ago, I deleted Twitter from my phone and tablet. This 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 you, like me, used to rely on Twitter to keep up with news and events and no longer want to use Twitter to do so.
I used many of the tools here before deleting Twitter, but they have become more useful and prominent in my non-Twitter screen time calculations. (And no, removing Twitter didn’t reduce my screen time, sadly.) Some of them may be obvious, and some of them may be new to you, but here’s what I’m doing to keep up with general news and topics that specifically interest Me.
Apple News app – For some breaking news and long-form magazine articles
Apple’s News app has been around for years on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, but it hasn’t really gotten much credit for how good it is for those of us who consume a lot of long articles. It’s far from perfect, and yes, even if you pay $9.99/mo (or include it with an Apple One plan) for a News Plus subscription, there are still ads in articles (though I’m not sure how this is different from buy a magazine at a newsstand? I digress), and you have to have an Apple device to access it.
Still, Apple News gives me the top headlines from events around the world every time I open it, plus curated picks based on my reading history and the topics I’ve selected. It also provides push notifications for posts I follow and integrates sports scores and reports from teams I care about.
But the best thing about Apple News is that it gives me access to extensive articles from The Atlantic, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, and many others for a flat fee through my News Plus subscription. I haven’t been able to find any other service that provides me with this much long-form content for such a relatively low price. I used to rely on my Twitter feed to fill my Pocket queue with stuff to read later, but Apple News provides me with a lot of that now.
Google News app: for shorter local news and blogs
Along with Apple News, Google News provides a curated list of news articles based on my interests each time I open it. Compared to Apple’s offering, Google News relies more on shorter pieces and is better at giving me local updates, whether it’s about the weather, local politics, or happenings at restaurants. It’s available on both iOS and Android and it’s free, so it’s easy to pick up and get started.
Google News isn’t perfect – it relies too much on Google’s AMP format of the website and doesn’t do a great job of remembering my paid site logins – but it has also provided a lot of options for my reading queue 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 the home screen on Android phones and in the Google app on an iPhone. But Discover sucks and provides terrible recommendations more often than good in my experience, so I usually go straight to Google News.
An RSS reader: for selected headlines from websites that interest you
Believe it or not, RSS is still around and still works great for keeping up with updates from various websites. I’ve used an RSS reader for longer than Twitter, and it’s still one of the first apps I open every morning to get a feel for what’s going on on the sites I care about.
Setting up an RSS reader takes more work than using something like Apple News or Google News, but the payoff is that you’re specifically entering the feeds yourself, so you have a lot more control. I use Feedly to sync (the free version, I’ve never been forced to pay for it) which I connect to the Reeder app on iOS/Mac Y Focus Reader on Android. It’s set up with dozens of sources, mostly tech news sites, but also a few smaller blogs that I’ve been following for years that update infrequently.
tecmema– For breaking news and discussions specifically in the technology industry
Look, if you’re reading this article about the edge, You probably care a little about what happens in the world of technology. tecmema It’s been adding tech news headlines and discussions for longer than I’ve been blogging, and it’s a go-to place for a quick overview of everything that’s been happening in space each day. I just visited the site on my phone’s browser.
the edge dot com – I swear, we’re helpful
No wait, hear me out: if you don’t want to go through the work of setting up those other feeds and just want to scroll through a feed like you used to on Twitter, our website is pretty good for that. We redesigned it earlier this fall to incorporate shorter posts with links to things we find interesting on the internet, including other blogs and articles and social media posts. Our team has been using it a lot and we are very excited about the plans we have to make it even better next year. And, of course, we’ve got plenty of original reporting and long-form pieces, plus videos and other things to read and watch instead of checking Twitter.
Yes, I am biased. Yes, this is a shameless plug. But heck, you’re already here reading this article. You could also click.
The final piece of this puzzle is a nice read-later app, which I use to store and save articles from all of these sources as I review them. I use Pocket, but Matter, Instagram and others are good options. The Reeder app on iOS and Mac even has its own read back feature, just like Safari and other browsers.
In general, this process of using multiple sources is more work than simply scrolling through a Twitter feed at every moment of inactivity. But the rewards are worth it: You get full stories instead of snippets from questionable sources, and you don’t have to deal with the noise inherent to Twitter. And when you’re done checking the news and catching up on your later reading queue, you can go hit the lawn.
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