How many ways do you gather information these days? There is no shortage of talking heads on cable TV. Newspapers abound, but most have a digital version now so using iPhone, iPad, and Mac in en vogue.
News apps are everywhere and there is far more information available– news, commentary and opinion, or plain old information– than we have time to view or read. That brings me to a work flow I have for gathering information to be read when I have time to read. Yes, I use an RSS reader, but I shuttle what I gather into Pocket and Instapaper.
Much of my reading and video viewing these days is done on iPhone and iPad. Pocket and Instapaper are two offline reading tools which integrate with RSS readers, browsers, and applications. That means you can find something you want to read later and have it bookmarked and saved. I use Pocket for business and professionals interests, and Instapaper for personal items.
The way it works on the Mac is rather simple. Within my RSS news reader of choice I can scan through dozens and dozens of websites, mark items as Favorites, then add them to Pocket or Instapaper to view later on any device– iPhone or iPad. That two-step process is remarkably efficient and allows me to view hundreds of articles of interest but save only those that I want.
Where do Instapaper and Pocket come into play?
Reading time and reading location.
Both applications store website pages and provide an efficient reading experience. Pocket lets you follow others to gather recommendations, has tags for easy organization, and you can even listen to articles using built-in text-to-speech. The Premium version has a permanent library, full-text searching, and easier organization.
Instapaper works similarly but in a less cluttered fashion more reminiscent of Safari’s built-in Reading List (which can also be used offline). With Instapaper you have controls over font, colors, text highlighting, plus text-to-speech, and sorting.
We are deluged with information so rather than let it come to me without a filter, I grab what I want and organize it to fit my daily routine. The RSS news reader gathers and filters, Pocket gathers for later reading, Instagram gathers for later reading. Why not just stick with the RSS reader? Not all sources can be obtained via RSS. For example, I browse Flipboard and Apple’s own News app– as well as other news apps– and when I find something I want to save later it is more efficient to drop it into Pocket or Instapaper.
Pocket and Instapaper don’t do a good job of creating categories of content similar to how we segregate files in the Documents or Files app via folders.
The world is a complex, complicated place and it takes effort to segregate valuable information from fake news and the growing trend toward sensationalist, worthless drivel. An RSS news reader, combined with Pocket and Instapaper make it easy for me.