How often do you go over to LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter to quickly check your personal messages, but end up getting sucked into news feed for hours?
The news feed, conjured up first at Facebook, is one of the most insidious pieces of software code ever written. Behind every news feed is a smart algorithm optimized to snare your attention. News feed has this mystical power to convert our 2 min trips to half-an-hour scrollathons, by flicking on the zombie switch in our brains.
News feed is the secret sauce that the social networks want you to use. It is the slot machine which generates most of their ad-revenue. Notice how none of them offer you the option of turning it off on their sites.
Yet, you can fight back by finding ways around news feed. For Youtube, you can use a browser plugin that can turn off autoplay and the feed. With LinkedIn or Twitter, land on your profile page rather than the default URL. That way, you can still access your messages and notifications without looking at the news feed. I am certain that similar workarounds can be found for every social network.
Social networks are built to serve advertisers – not users. If you cannot avoid using them, use them in ways that serve you rather than its creators and shareholders.