Antisocial Media

An ode to the GitHub following feed

Without me even noticing, the GitHub following feed become the healthiest form of social media in my life. It's a feature that feels so incidental the platform that I forget it exists, leaving me pleasantly surprised every time I see it. As far as I can tell, most GitHub users rarely even see the feed since it's only visible on the main page, which I imagine isn't really a hot destination for most users.

I have the standard complement of social media platforms for someone my age, but I wouldn't say I use any of them they way I would like to. For me, social media ideally is a tool I use to occasionally and asynchronously keep up with what's going on in my friends' lives. My actual use of social media platforms is one of the following:

Instagram once supported my ideal relationship with social media, but has incrementally moved further and further away. For years each update has made it harder to see my friends posts, cramming more things into my feed I have no interest in. The main feed has been so polluted that they recently added the "feature" to see a feed consisting exclusively of your friends posts. What was once the primary point has become a footnote in a changelog, hidden behind an awkwardly placed dropdown menu. Snapchat, while a very different beast, has suffered the same gentle decline in usability.

In contrast to this, the GitHub feed has been nothing but pure (though compsci slanted) embodiment of my ideal social media. Over the last 3 years of university, I have followed a total of 21 people followed people on GitHub, either friends or people I admire. This is tiny compared to my social graphs on other networks, but I found seeing updates from these 21 people more rewarding than hundreds of people on Facebook, and significantly less rage inducing than using Instagram.

Obviously these platforms are extremely different and selection bias plays a massive role in my experience using these feeds, but I seeing the projects that are being worked on by people I am interested in is always a lovely respite from the rest of the social internet.