News Without Social Media is Better

November 30, 2022

As I have been scaling back my usage of twitter one of the things I have discovered is reading online news without social media is better. By not wasting time on links to sites with pay walls I get right to the story. Many of the opinion peddlers on twitter were working to monetize their writing on places like Substack. Sometimes their perspectives were interesting or insightful, but I do not miss them.

Paywalls Are Not Sustainable

Paying for a subscription to a service with a lot of content like The New York Times or Washington Post can make sense. $100 a year is a reasonable price for this. Paying for every person’s newsletter is not. Just because that one Wall Street Journal article is interesting does not mean I want to read every article there. The web has developed a great model for paying for a subscription, but not for an issue or article. With Apple Pay it should be easy to implement single payments for articles, but nobody seems to do this.

Journalists love social media, and they will write-up the latest trends on twitter, TikTok, and other sites. The New York Times and The Verge both cover trending topics within a day or so of them rising to the top of social media. You can stay in-the-know without the outrage or time wasting by simply keeping an eye on your regular news sites.

What is Hard to Replace

  • Updates from live events — if it does not have a liveblog or livestream then social media is often the only place to read about it.
  • Discovery — modern blogs and websites have fallen out of the habit of linking to each other. Bill Hunt has a great suggestion to fix this.
  • Feedback — unless someone emails me or has their own blog I follow, I do not get feedback. I am not sure if I want to commit to adding Disqus or other comments to the blog.

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This work by Matt Zagaja is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.