How Twitter replaced Google Reader
A smart way of leveraging Twitter lists as a great way of consuming information
I have always been a big fan of RSS, using Google reader to follow hundreds of websites. When Google stopped with Reader I wasn't too happy with the alternatives. So I looked for a way to make Twitter my primary source of information consumption instead of RSS. This article described how I have implemented a way of working that makes Twitter a great tool to replace Google Reader.
I love Twitter for sharing information and connecting to others. However Twitter is also great for consuming information. I know a lot of people who primarily use Twitter for reading, and hardly ever tweet themselves. I sometimes struggled with these two distinct functions. From a sharing perspectives I would like to follow people I can interact with. But from a consumption perspective it’s interesting to follow newspapers, subject matter experts and opinion leaders. Here’s how I developed a way of handling the two distinct functions separately. The secret lies in the use of Twitter lists and the fact you can add people to your Twitter lists without actually following them.
In the Timeline you see the tweets from people you follow. So I use the Timeline for those people I want to interact with. These are the only people I follow. I do not follow newspapers, experts, famous people etc. This gives me a very clean Timeline.
My lists are for information consumption. So the newspapers, magazines, experts and famous people are all added to my lists. However I do not Follow them. So they do not appear in my Timeline. I have organized them per subject. So you will find specific lists for News, Food, Technology, Business, Running and some more subjects I like. Off course you could add them all to a single list, creating a stream of updates on different subjects.
I use the Twitter client on the iPad and iPhone as my primary client for interaction. It’s a great client for the standard Twitter functions, however not the best client for information consumption. For this I am using Flipboard, which presents my Twitter lists in a nice, magazine style format. Another advantage of Flipboard is the re-use of information. Off course you can do a retweet (as with any other client) but it also allows you to share Twitter information on Google+, Tumblr or Facebook. As I do want to tweet only about a limited number of subjects, I can redirect other information I like to share to Facebook, Tumblr or Google+.
I have come to love this way of working. It’s easy to maintain. When you come across interesting info across the web, you either follow the twitter of that site, or you add it to any of your lists. Removing or unfollowing is just as simple. Since implementing this way of working I haven’t missed my Google reader for a second.