I'm on day 17 of my Twitter fast and I do feel like I'm missing things. I'd like to be able to see what's happening with friends and co-workers without feeling like I'm walking into a kaleidoscope at a circus in the middle of a casino. At one time tweets were just text. Now tweets have embedded video gifs with talismanic viral numbers attached to commentary from dozens of people I don't want to hear from. I feel like I have to wade through 85% garbage to get that 15% I'm missing.
I think I can solve the circus-casino problem™ by removing the tweets from their toxic native environment and displaying them as text-only in my archaic feed reader. And that's what I've done.
Here is tweet-skimmer
. It's a node.js script I'm using that gets a user's tweets from the Twitter API and creates an RSS feed without retweets or replies. By the time the tweets hit my feed reader, they are plain text with no media embeds, no images, no kaleidoscopic bears riding tricycles, no favorite counts, and no surrounding Twitter UI.
After testing for two full days I think this will allow me to batch tweet-reading into something I can skim every so often. That way I'll feel like I'm staying up to date with specific people without picking up the daily Twitter habit again.
The metaphor I've been using lately to describe this is that my Twitter habit is like having junk food in the house. I'm sure it would be no problem to have unlimited Doritos™ if I only ever ate 15% of each bag. It just never works out that way. So I'm hoping this new bit of scripting is like only buying 15% in the first place. It's digital portion control. Fun sized tweets.