Subscription.txt: My method of content consumption

I don’t read news, don’t have any social media accounts for consuming content, and hate the addictive news feeds of social media sites. How do I “follow” or “subscribe” to my favorite content? What if there are some YouTube channels I want to subscribe to?

I’ve been trying a method which I call subscription.txt. As the name implies, I write down any sites and their links into a text file. That’s it! The txt (text file) is an abstract idea. You can use any note apps or text processors like OneNote, Evernote, Microsoft Word, etc. File formats that support links are preferred.

I’ve thought about other methods doing similar jobs such as browser bookmarks or RSS, but a text file is more portable and works for any sites.

Assumptions

  • I don’t have any social media accounts. So, I don’t consume content that requires login.

  • I don’t consume content on a phone. I can imagine editing subscription.txt on a phone is a bit difficult, but that’s not a problem for me as I only (mainly) consume content on a desktop computer.

The benefits of using a text file

  • You can reorder, describe and group your subscription list easily. By managing your subscription list in this way, you’re more mindful of what you read, watch and listen.

  • You’re not locked into any platforms.

  • It forces you to consume content on a browser and a desktop computer. It’s a feature, not a bug.

  • You can mark your progress in the text file.

  • You can jot down your “watch later” list.

  • The possibility is unlimited…

How to operate

First, create a text file using your favorite text/note app. You can put the subscription text file in a place you find convenient like starring it or putting it on your desktop screen.

Whenever you want to “follow” something like a YouTube channel, Twitter user or a blog, insert a link into the subscription text file with suitable name, description and grouping. You may not want to click every links for updates, so you can just organize your links accordingly. Normally, you would put the most interested links at the top, while put other links that you only want to check once a month at the bottom.

Whenever you find something interesting and want to watch later, jot the link down in the “watch later” section of the text file. You can also mark the progress, say you only watched the first 10 minutes of a video, then you can write down 10:00, so next time you can start from where you’ve left off.

You can schedule a time block when you want to consume content. Then, you just open the text file, click the links and check for updates.

No newsfeed. No algorithm. You control what you read, watch and listen.