You have to stop letting Facebook tell you what to read

A few years ago, publishers allowed Facebook to become basically their sole source of traffic. Now, Facebook is cutting traffic to news feeds in an attempt to staunch the flow of fake news.

A couple of years ago, brainy blog The Awl moved all their pieces over to blogging site Medium, presumably in search of a business model that would sustain the site. (You don't change everything about your publishing model unless your publishing model needs serious help.) Last year, The Awl divorced from Medium and went solo again. This month, The Awl will close entirely. I very much enjoyed The Awl, which was basically a smarter, more patient, better-written Gawker. And now it is dead.

Look, friends. I don't want to make you feel guilty, but if your internet experience begins and ends with Facebook, this is kind of your fault. You own some of this.

Here's what I think you should do, instead: find an RSS reader that works for you. I pay for NewsBlur, because it's a great service and I like paying for services that I want to stay around. It's not based on a super-sketchy advertising model. There are some free RSS readers out there, though.

Once you choose an RSS reader, you should subscribe to the news sites that you like. Then, get into the habit of checking your RSS feed throughout the day. Don't feel as though you have to read everything; think of it as an email inbox. Some of it is obviously not interesting or relevant to you. Delete with abandon.

And if you're a writer: start a blog. Write about what you're interested in. Be plucky. Be opinionated. Don't have hot takes, though — cultivate some beats. Write about things you care about, ignore the rest. If you have other friends who write blogs, you should team up with them and make a bigger blog. Write well. You'll attract readers. And you should promote the writers and sources you like, too.

Look, if we learn nothing else from the 2016 elections, it should be this: what we read is way too important to leave up to anyone else. When we allow someone else to control our media intake, we're giving up a tremendous amount of power. We've got to take that power back.