One of my favourite things about Micro.blog is that whether you’re using the default app or third-party options like Gluon for Micro.blog, you can adjust a setting that stops any replies from appearing in your feed. With this preference enabled, only original blog posts, articles and photos are displayed. To be clear, I’m not saying that you should block mentions or direct replies to your content, only hide replies to others’ conversations in the main feed.
This may seem counter-intuitive for a service that is supposed to be an open alternative to other social-networking sites, and I can certainly see the benefit of displaying replies: you may discover interesting views and conversations long after their (linked) original post has gone by. Reading my suggestion, you may be thinking, Why would I want to limit the social potential of an app that’s about socialising?
Bear with me for a moment. When you read a book, flick through a magazine or scroll through a news article online, you want to be able to understand and enjoy the included text uninterrupted and with full context. When you plan to watch a movie or TV show, you generally want to see it before hearing others’ views or encountering spoilers. Imagine if you were reading a novel—whether in print or digitally—and a random idea or comment suddenly appeared in the middle of what you were reading. What if before seeing that movie you planned to catch on the weekend, you were to hear everyone else’s views on the story beforehand, out of context? That would be frustrating, right?
So often these days, we complain about the noise of social media apps and services. If you have too many accounts, then of course, you should probably cut things down a bit, but how much of your mental overload could be resolved simply by cutting out comments and replies (where possible) in your feeds? Whatever services you use, see if you can limit the number of rogue, context-free ideas enter your feeds, so that you can engage with any given article or blog post from its beginning. Once you’ve taken that in, then move to see what others have to say and contribute to the conversation.
Cut out replies and give yourself the chance to slow down.