Managing your Online Reading

Posted on Aug 22, 2010 in Opinions, The web

Twitter, Facebook, RSS feeds, Mail – we all get more links to articles and webpages nowadays than ever before. I would often find myself coming across an interesting article, but would lose track of it in a mess of tabs, unless I read it right away.

Bookmaking is the most obvious option, but you risk cluttering your useful bookmarks with lots of items you’ll only look at once.  So how can you organise your reading? Here’s the system I use…

One-hit wonders

If I’m skimming Twitter (using Twitter for iPhone or Echofon on the Mac) or my RSS feeds (using Reeder app on my iPhone or NetNewsWire on the Mac), I probably will only read the linked items once.

But if I haven’t got the time right away to fully immerse myself in the article, I send anything that catch my eye to Instapaper, using the handy Instapaper bookmarklet. This service will store the URL for you, until you’re ready to read the full article. The nice thing about Instapaper is that most Twitter clients and RSS readers now have “Send to instapaper” functionality built-in. You can either browse stored articles via the website, or use one of the many Instapaper clients available for several devices, including Amazon’s Kindle.

Then, whenever I have a slot of time set aside for reading, I head over to Instapaper and go through the articles. Anything that’s been read is archived, unless I know I’ll what to reference it at some point later – which brings me to…

Reference Material

These are the tutorials, how-to’s, cheat-sheets and other million useful sites that the internet seems to churn out daily. If I know it’s a topic I might need to look-up later at some point, these types of links get sent to my Delicious account, where they are tagged and can be easily looked up when I need them. This helps me to save time doing research on a project or subject later, and helps solve “if I could only find that one site”-anguish.

Essentials

Any website I find myself using daily eventually gets added to my Safari Bookmarks bar (I don’t bother with the “non-bar” bookmarks). Alternatively, if it’s a project-specfic URL, it might get added to a VoodooPad document for later reference.

That’s basically the way I do most of my online reading – I’d be interested to hear the apps and services you guys use!