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Ben Halpern for The DEV Team

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How to make the most of DEV if you’re over Twitter

Twitter has played an important role for software developers over the last decade or so. It’s been the de facto networking hub of sorts, and it’s played an important part of helping people stay up to date with software trends. We have a large audience via our @ThePracticalDev and distribute community content through our feeds on a daily basis.

But the roles that different platforms play in the ecosystem can change. Elon Musk recently acquired Twitter, and things are getting shaken up. Regardless of how you feel on the issue, Twitter’s status as a central “Hub” is in question.

DEV is one player in a broader mission pushing towards a more independent web. We’re also a a hub of sorts for the software developer ecosystem. As such, I’d like to outline some steps you can take to make the most of your experience on DEV as a hub, while also supporting a mission oriented around supporting the Independent Web.

This will be the start of a series of posts helping folks make the most of DEV, based on different needs.

First, what do we mean by a more independent web?

DEV is based on our open source code Forem, which also operates the CodeNewbie Community as well as The Ops Community (not affiliated with us, just using our open source code), This MMA Life and others. Internally, our team made the choice earlier this year to focus on DEV’s community health as our greatest priority while continuing the steady march towards the proper Forem abstraction.

With that said, let’s focus on DEV.

For many folks, DEV has become a substantial part of their professional profile as a developer. It is a place to build one’s professional identity in a way that is more nuanced than your GitHub code, and more mainstream and verifiable than your blog itself. People share here because they want the community, the distribution, or just to help build the community knowledge base that grows with each post.

However, the real opportunity on DEV is the learning. The DEV home feed is still far from perfect, but we are making steady improvements towards our goal of regularly serving more relevant and high quality content. If you would like to dive into the code, you can view our specific feed strategies right here. Again, we have a long way to go, but we’re continuing our steady march towards a more useful home feed, which we hope you can observe if you stop by more often.

Today’s tips focus on the home feed

How to make the most of your home feed

We seek to make the feed as relevant by default as possible, but that is a journey. There is a lot you can do to improve your experience today. A few minutes of your time spent on these tasks will make DEV better for everyone.

Follow tags relevant to you. #️⃣

  1. If you have not already done so, stop by the tags page and follow everything you might be interested in.
  2. Next, go to your tags dashboard and assign a higher weight to your top tags (generally up to 10 for the ones you want to see more of).

Follow members relevant to you. 👩🏻‍💻🧑🏿‍💻👨🏼‍💻🧑🏽‍💻👩🏼‍💻

  1. For each of your most important tags, click into that tag and select by “top this month”, and see who is posting interesting stuff. Follow all of those people.
  2. Follow at least 100 people. You can always unfollow them later.

Adjust your “experience level” in your settings. 🐣

  1. We allow you to adjust your experience level to help you see more of what might be most relevant to you.
  2. Adjust this number to your desired settings. Don’t worry, it’s just a “nudge”. Close enough is close enough, and we still serve a variety of content.

React to posts you like. ❤️

  1. If you like something, add a heart.
  2. If you want to keep it around, bookmark it. This will help your feed improve by sending signals while also showing your appreciation towards others in the community.

Top comments (43)

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missamarakay profile image
Amara Graham

I've met so many people IRL and on Twitter by following them on Dev!

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ugopreneur profile image
Ugo Nwokoro

You must be great at networking! Teach me 😪

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missamarakay profile image
Amara Graham

Just start hitting that follow button!!

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jamielivingstone profile image
Jamie Livingstone

I have been a member here for a few years but haven't actively participated in the community. I have started spending more time on the site recently and must admit that the community here is excellent.

I am planning to leave Twitter as I only used it for technology news, and I am looking forward to contributing and learning here.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

That's really great to hear Jamie!

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tkane2000 profile image
tkane2000
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erinposting profile image
Erin Bensinger

💡 Tip: if you need more help finding writers to follow, check out the Follow Friday Series posts on topics that interest you! Happy following ✨

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

Oh yeah, great call!

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joshuaamaju profile image
Joshua Amaju

The last post was in may

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erinposting profile image
Erin Bensinger

That's actually the first post — you can scroll to the bottom of that page to see the latest post, which went out today.

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jarvisscript profile image
Chris Jarvis

Great series. I've followed some great people from it. Another place to find writers to follow id the top 7 of the week posts.

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glenn_miller_860ba12ffbf7 profile image
Glenn A Miller

Thanks for the tip. Very useful.

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dinerdas profile image
Diner Das

Wow, I definitely wasn't following enough people here.

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patricklonda profile image
Patrick Londa

Thanks for shouting out The Ops Community, @ben! 🙌

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chriswald profile image
Chris Wald • Edited on

The ability to personalize the weight attribute for each tag is so uniquely cool. I feel like when I start following topics on other sites, my initial interactions cause my feed to become over-saturated with 1-2 things that don't really encapsulate my interests the way this does!

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360macky profile image
Marcelo Arias

Great tips! 😁

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sreekanth67 profile image
Sreekanth

@ben Great timing.

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mcsee profile image
Maxi Contieri ⭐⭐⭐

amazing !

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rolfstreefkerk profile image
Rolf Streefkerk

It's good to see that Twitter will eventually be taken off the advertisers life support and is moving towards a more neutral position where everyone can benefit from a broad range discussions. Perhaps I'll start using it again at some point in the future next to Dev as tech news / discussion platforms.

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balastrong profile image
Leonardo Montini

For each of your most important tags, click into that tag and select by “top this month”, and see who is posting interesting stuff. Follow all of those people.

That's smart 🤔

How do people get picked up on those lists?

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

That is 100% algorithmic. It's mostly a tally of reactions, with moderators having more weight in the outcomes than average users.

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balastrong profile image
Leonardo Montini

Cool, thank you!

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jfbrennan profile image
Jordan Brennan

Twitter’s status as a central “Hub” is in question.

No, it’s not. Protecting free speech, the foundation of democracy, and cleaning up fake bot accounts further cements Twitter as the de-facto hub of communication.

Full disclosure: I hate social media.

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stojakovic99 profile image
Nikola Stojaković

Yes it is. No one is attacking free speech. Free speech means that government can't prosecute you for the things you say.

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fyodorio profile image
Fyodor

It would be great to have a decent blocking/muting functionality (for tags/users) — the way it works currently is not 100% ideal tbh, and it would really help to improve user feeds, I believe, and customize them better.

(For now tag filtering by weight is quite cumbersome and doesn't always work, and user blocking doesn't usually work on iOS for instance at all.)

IMO, these are important parts of user experience in terms of selective reading.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

Hear you on all of this!

We have work going on to improve on this. Anticipate improvements soon, this is definitely an area of focus.

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bobbyiliev profile image
Bobby Iliev

DEV ❤️

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glittle profile image
Glen Little

One issue with a walled garden like this is that my life spans multiple areas of interest and I would need to find communities for each. On Twitter, I can interact with a variety of people, not just other developers. That said, I do want to come here to get good articles!

🌚 Friends don't let friends browse without dark mode.

Sorry, it's true.