If you look at my Twitter account or LinkedIn feed, you’d be forgiven for thinking I wasn’t doing any sort of outside reading beyond the stories I use as fodder for blog posts or other stories. I don’t share curated news or anything there anymore, at least not like I once did, but I’m reading more – and from a wider array of sources – than ever before.
I’m just not sharing them on Twitter or elsewhere. Instead I’m pushing them to my Pocket Recommended Items. I could share them on Twitter or elsewhere at the same time, but have made the decision not to for a few reasons:
- It takes additional time, and right now I just don’t have that. I don’t just want to push out the headline if I’m going to share it but don’t often have the time to add the context or perspective that would make it more interesting and personalized, something I want to put my name next to.
- I read in fits and starts, usually building up a hefty collection of saved items in Pocket before I plow through them and do something with them. That means I’d be publishing a dozen or more items inside of an hour and then going silent for the next four. That kind of erratic publishing isn’t what I want to present and it’s an intrusion on the people who follow me.
- It’s not easy to archive just the stories that are shared on Twitter, but it’s just a few clicks to download a list of links you’ve recommended through Pocket. That spreadsheet isn’t exactly the most portable or pretty thing in the world, but it’s actually better in my mind than downloading your Twitter archive, which includes not only the quality stories you’ve shared but also all the Dad Jokes you thought were funny at 5:27 in the morning and didn’t have the good sense to not Tweet. More wheat, less chaff basically.
As with most things, this is what’s working for me right now. I might go back to publishing on Twitter at some point, but that’s not feasible in the current situation. If Pocket offered 1) LinkedIn publishing and 2) Scheduled publishing, I’d consider making a change. LinkedIn is something you can access through a paid account, but there are other features I’d want in a paid account as well, so that alone isn’t going to clear the bar.
While I’m discussing Pocket, I also need to mention how it integrates with the RSS reader Feedly, which is what I’ve gone back to in the wake of Digg Reader’s demise. At first I had issues with the way the two services connect but have come around in my thinking. Here’s why:
Digg Reader let you select an option whereby anything you saved while reading was automatically sent to Pocket. That was great because it was just one keystroke, “S,” and it was done. Because I now use a single RSS reader for both work and personal reading, it meant items I wasn’t necessarily interested in were saved to Pocket because I needed to use them in a client project. Not ideal, but fine. These stories were archived without, in most cases, my adding them to my Recommended Items.
Feedly doesn’t feature that seamless integration. To save something to Pocket you have to click the appropriate icon, which opens a pop-up window you need to then click to confirm and then click to close. When you save an item in Feedly it goes to your “Read Later” list within the reader. At first that seemed clunky – it’s a lot of extra clicking – but I’ve come around on that.
Now as I go through Feedly I mark items of both personal and professional interest for later reading. Then I go through that “Read Later” list and save the personal items to Pocket but leave the work-related stories there. Once all the personal stories are cleared out I go through the list once again and address what’s left, doing what I need to with each one. So my Pocket then remains uncluttered by items I couldn’t be less interested in but which I need for a client content calendar or some such.
The lesson? Sometimes a slightly clunky UX can actually save you time and headaches in other areas.
Back to my original point, if you want to see the kinds of stories that have caught my eye and which I’ve curated, you can check out my Pocket Recommended Items. It’s a mix of media, entertainment, politics and more. It’s still not as good as Google Reader Shared Items, but what is?
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.