35 votes

Do you consume any short-form, easily-digestible content on the internet? And, if so, what do you do to keep your browsing habits healthy?

I really like Tildes' manifesto, and I've largely gravitated away from Reddit since joining this community. I'm generally a fan of pursuing long-form content that requires focus and thought, and that aims to be fleshed-out and engaging, e.g. books, documentaries, essays, etc. But, at the same time, it can feel taxing to digest things meant purely to challenge me/expand my world view/generate interesting discussion. Sometimes I want a break from thinking!

Sometimes I like taking breaks and looking at things that don't really ask much from me. Things that make me laugh, or that make me feel safe and happy. Things that speak to my niche interests and tastes. Not necessarily throwaway, lowest-common-denominator content that aims to appeal to the widest demographic possible, (in other words, still "high quality" content), but... things that probably wouldn't be allowed on Tildes nonetheless? I'm thinking more in the vein of platforms like Tumblr, Pinterest, and YouTube. But... not those exactly, as I'm not the biggest fan of how addicting they're designed to be.

I thought I'd ask you folk if you have any preferences or setups for this kind of content. I use RSS feeds (plain as heck, not an infinite feed) to keep track of channels and blogs and webcomics and what have you, but I'm interested in hearing what y'all have to say. If Tildes is the "improved" version of unhealthy article/discussion-focused websites, what is your "improved" version of easy-to-consume (but high-quality) content?

15 comments

  1. [4]
    MimicSquid Link
    While it doesn't get you off of said platforms, I think with careful curation you can still find good content there. There's amazing content on (for instance) YouTube, so if you subscribe to...

    While it doesn't get you off of said platforms, I think with careful curation you can still find good content there. There's amazing content on (for instance) YouTube, so if you subscribe to limited things and don't go down the rabbithole of related videos you can get something enjoyable and light but not an endless firehose of it.

    When it comes to your "fluff" consumption, be ruthless. Does the thing actually "spark joy", or is it mildly interesting? You can (potentially) enjoy these sites in moderation if you kick things to the curb once they aren't giving you what you want from them.

    10 votes
    1. [3]
      vivaria (edited ) Link Parent
      This was my approach for a while! I loved Twitter for the longest time, if you can believe it. The only way I've ever consumed that website was by, as you say, ruthlessly curating and organizing...

      This was my approach for a while! I loved Twitter for the longest time, if you can believe it. The only way I've ever consumed that website was by, as you say, ruthlessly curating and organizing folks who were putting out content that was wholesome and supportive and creative and thoughtful. Ditto for Tumblr. As for YouTube, I have all of my favorite channels as RSS feeds so that I rarely have to touch the website at all. You can watch videos within some RSS readers, even. (example of my setup: https://vgy.me/kuJTFz.png)

      I guess I must have deleted everything on the websites themselves out of impulse. Had one of those "ack! I don't like what this platform is doing to my brain!" panicky days.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        user2 Link Parent
        What software is that, in the screenshot?

        What software is that, in the screenshot?

        1 vote
        1. vivaria Link Parent
          It's NewsBlur, but I'm not attached to it very much at all, so I'm not sure I'd recommend it in particular? RSS readers seem largely replaceable.

          It's NewsBlur, but I'm not attached to it very much at all, so I'm not sure I'd recommend it in particular? RSS readers seem largely replaceable.

  2. Sock_Rapist Link
    I am a big fan of stand up comedy and comedy podcasts. Laughable is the best comedy podcast app Ive seen so far. Youtube is good for comedy podcasts too since they usually break up the podcasts...

    I am a big fan of stand up comedy and comedy podcasts. Laughable is the best comedy podcast app Ive seen so far. Youtube is good for comedy podcasts too since they usually break up the podcasts into short segments, makes easier to find maybe a 5 min clip on a topic you want to hear their take on instead of just going in blind. Sometimes its just farts and stuff, but sometimes they might have a point of view I never considered and makes me think. Also for more long form content some of them are good authors with books or audiobooks to enjoy.
    You also mentioned how to keep browsing habits healthy. For me, Ive started trying to pay closer attention to how I feel right then and there as I am reading or watching whatever. Ive gone down those rabbit holes of sad stories, bad stuff in the world, or just seeing what morons are up to. While I may have learned a thing or two and gained some perspective I personally try to limit making myself sad, angry, or upset while spending free time on the internet. Not saying don't look into the troubles of the world just as an adult maybe decide for yourself where the line in the sand is for exposing yourself to upsetting content. That parts up to you though just my personal thought.

    5 votes
  3. [2]
    ThatFanficGuy Link
    It helps that I'm intensely-curious about damn near everything. I much prefer to-the-point, concise writing and videos to those that drag on with tangents and explanations that add little value,...

    It helps that I'm intensely-curious about damn near everything. I much prefer to-the-point, concise writing and videos to those that drag on with tangents and explanations that add little value, but reading a long essay is not below me. Those can be exciting, enjoyable, inspiring, and all other kinds of things.

    I "work" – as in, engage meaningfully with something – in waves, on and off. On the off-waves, I'm entirely okay with watching a few short entertaining videos (Markiplier, Dota 2 edited matches, British TV shows etc.). I'm also okay with watching long – 30+ mins – videos, as long as they let me relax. I'd watch 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown episodes, which are ~45 mins, I'd watch SovietWomble streams, I'd watch clips from my favorite TV shows – in a nostalgic, "oh it's so good"/rewatch kinda way...

    On the on-waves, I usually read design- and webdev-related content that I get from multiple sources: sidebar.io, Dense Discovery newsletter, HeyDesigner newsletter (which often duplicates the daily content of Sidebar). I'd also read the kinds of long reads that get posted on Tildes: things about human condition, history, interesting aspects of sciences etc..

    I notice that the off-to-on-waves ratio is strongly correlated with my lifestyle quality. If I get bad sleep, I get tired easier, so I have more off-time. If I eat too much, or too much sugar, I'm drowsy, so I get more off-time. On the other hand, if I have something engaging to work on, I'd naturally forgo a lot of the things that would otherwise rob me of energy.

    I also notice that, as a person who spends a lot of time on the Internet, I get a boost whenever I disengage from it, even for a few minutes. It reframes the mind, allowing me to focus, consider unrelated ideas... I'm yet to practice going without the Internet consciously. It's entirely possible – I have offline content to consume and things to work on that don't require constant connection (it helps that I store all of the requisite files offline, and that I have DevDocs.io documentation stored in-browser as well).

    5 votes
    1. vivaria Link Parent
      UK humor!! I'm partial to Big Fat Quiz, Tom Scott's YouTube gameshows, and QI myself.

      UK humor!! I'm partial to Big Fat Quiz, Tom Scott's YouTube gameshows, and QI myself.

  4. Tyro Link
    Any sort of content that expands your knowledge on any topic can be good content. It can be something really dumb but easy to digest, like a skill that you want to learn more about but would never...

    Any sort of content that expands your knowledge on any topic can be good content. It can be something really dumb but easy to digest, like a skill that you want to learn more about but would never really need. For instance, recently I have been watching a lot of videos about rock climbing. I have little desire or motivation to rock climb, so I don’t feel compelled to sit there and truly try to learn about it, but it’s interesting to me and so I digest the most interesting aspects. Who knows, maybe I’ll be talking to a person who loves rock climbing and I can understand more and ask the right questions, maybe not. Regardless, I’m expanding my database of facts and also entertaining myself. Though, I think it’s totally fine to indulge in some meaningless content as well. I think even meaningless content can provide something to learn about, sometimes. I think the bigger issue is when you put out meaningless content in search of validation and/or attention. Don’t become addicted to the rush you feel whenever you get likes on a post.

    4 votes
  5. [4]
    masochist Link
    These days it's largely YouTube Let's Plays for old video games and audiobooks. Right now I'm listening to Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology and it's quite lovely. The presentation is light and fun,...

    These days it's largely YouTube Let's Plays for old video games and audiobooks. Right now I'm listening to Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology and it's quite lovely. The presentation is light and fun, something I can listen to while walking around without getting so absorbed that I fail my perception check while playing the game of frogger that is being a pedestrian in a major US city. After that, I'll likely listen to Good Omens. I'd like to start with the Discworld series, but the first book isn't available as an audiobook, apparently, so I'll likely read that one in print to kick off the series.

    Probably not what you were looking for, but it's what works for me.

    3 votes
    1. [3]
      TheJorro Link Parent
      The Colour of Magic Audiobook Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if every single mass produced book has an audiobook now.

      The Colour of Magic Audiobook

      Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if every single mass produced book has an audiobook now.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        masochist Link Parent
        Sadly not available in the US for whatever reason; I'm guessing lawyers.

        Sadly not available in the US for whatever reason; I'm guessing lawyers.

        1. TheJorro Link Parent
          Huh, that's weird. Well, it does exist in some capacity, might just be a case of finding a supplier.

          Huh, that's weird. Well, it does exist in some capacity, might just be a case of finding a supplier.

          2 votes
  6. knocklessmonster Link
    Yes. I actually generally prefer shortform content (videos no longer than 30 minutes). Tildes is, in a way, my way of poking my brain into action. When Markiplier switched to long-form content, I...

    Yes. I actually generally prefer shortform content (videos no longer than 30 minutes). Tildes is, in a way, my way of poking my brain into action. When Markiplier switched to long-form content, I wound up unsubscribing, and poke i on some of his series I want to catch up on. I do watch the occasional NileRed or other, similar, science channel. I spent way too much time, in years past, watching absolute garbage like Filthy Frank, but honestly don't regret it, and go back to watch quite a bit of it.

    If I'm doing something longer, or watching/reading something, I'll usually be trying to learn some sort of game strategy, exploring something in music (either making or learning), or trying to learn something more about the technology I use (where I can learn a bit more programming to automate something, maybe about an interesting system or program).

    A major thing, though, is I don't really pursue content on the basis of "long or short form." I don't do podcasts unless there's a particularly interesting one (mostly JRE talking to some controversial figure, or maybe a Youtuber streaming), but it's usually if I bump into it, and have the time for it. I don't just sit down and watch a bunch of short stuff, but if it's not going to hurt me, I'll watch a bunch of short stuff for an hour. I prefer to play videogames or try to fight to do something at all creative simply because I prefer the interactive aspect that simply doesn't occur with reading or watching something.

    2 votes
  7. [2]
    suspended Link
    Radio Garden and Wimp look like sites that may interest you.

    Radio Garden and Wimp look like sites that may interest you.

    1 vote
    1. Flelk Link Parent
      I haven't seen anyone name-check Wimp in a very long time. I'm glad it's still around, and apparently largely unchanged.

      I haven't seen anyone name-check Wimp in a very long time. I'm glad it's still around, and apparently largely unchanged.

      2 votes