Are you a Twitter user who can no longer stand the overwhelming feeds and trolling replies to tweets that have become commonplace? Are those writers, thinkers, and satirists who used to use Twitter as a place to post the thought-provoking and hilarious quips you looked forward to no longer using the platform? Or perhaps you do not want to commit to the network, but still want to follow a celebrity, friend, or influencer. Regardless of your current Twitter situation, you’ve come to this article to find out how to function without it — to an extent.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a social network that uses hashtags to generate communities and interaction based on common interests. It relies on short form posts called “tweets” limited to 280 characters. Users can follow, repost, or like another user’s tweets.
One of the greatest benefits to using Twitter is access to constant bursts of quick information and headlines. In other words, it never stops updating. Every time you log in you’ll see new tweets from people you follow and suggestions for related hashtags.
Unfortunately, it can get quite heavy in its load and some users find that the short form set up is not for them, especially if they are looking for more in-depth explanations to posted opinions. Still, in today’s world where so much is going on and there is so much to be updated about, Twitter is a great resource. It has been the device of political movements, confronting issues through Hashtag Activism, and political players, the most famous — or infamous, depending on how you view him — being Donald Trump himself.
The Ways to Follow
If you’ve been told there is no way to follow someone on Twitter without signing up for Twitter, that is only partially true. There are actually a few ways to work around this.
1. Bookmark the Page
You can still access the user’s profile and view their tweets regardless of having an account or not. This wasn’t always the case. Now, unless the user’s profile is private, you can publicly view their posts at any time. However, you will not be updated automatically as to when they have added a new tweet. You’ll have to bookmark the page and check back daily.
2. Fast Follow
In 2010, Twitter introduced the Fast Follow feature. This allows someone to subscribe to a user’s tweets without opening up an account. This is done through text messages on your phone.
Text 40404 with the following message “Follow @[insert user handle]”. You will be subscribed to that user’s tweets. They will come in as text messages, so you will be charged accordingly on your phone plan.
This is perhaps the easiest way to follow a Twitter user without being one yourself. You can also send text commands to the same number to turn off notifications.
3. RSS Feed
There is no way to create an RSS feed directly from Twitter since the feature was disabled in 2013. Don’t worry, though! You can still turn tweets into an RSS feed. You’ll just have to seek out the help from third party applications: one to generate, the next to read.
One feed generator option available to you is Fetch RSS.
First, go to http://fetchrss.com/twitter. Copy and paste the hyperlink to the Twitter user you want to follow. You will be redirected to a new page where you can access the XML version of the RSS feed. Go to Account to configure your feed settings and pull up the XML URLs.
Continue to Feeder.co. It is free to sign-up. Once you have registered and find yourself on the home page, copy and paste the XML URL from Fetch RSS into the search bar. Click search and you will be given an option to follow the Twitter feed. Select follow. The Twitter user will be added to your sidebar.
Now, when you pull up the feed, it won’t be in XML.
If you want to occasionally check on a celebrity to see what they’re saying, bookmark the page. If it’s just one user you’re concerned about and your phone plan will allow it, Fast Follow. If there are a handful of people you want to read updates from, take the time to create a nice custom RSS Feed for yourself.
Would it be easier to simply sign up for Twitter? Probably not. Would it be more convenient? Absolutely. By avoiding a Twitter account altogether you do not have to deal with the Twitter interface and all the options for users to follow and tweets to read. This makes it visually easier to deal with. If you want to “follow” a Twitter user without an account, there are additional steps you’ll have to take in order to set yourself up for success. This makes staying Twitter-free less convenient.