Technology provides more and more ways to be able to consume content that we’re interested in. Social media, email and the web. But sometimes more choices and more content isn’t better. Sometimes there’s too much information. Too many places to access it from.
Have you ever seen an article that you’re interested in, but it wasn’t convenient to read right there and then? Or you’ve been halfway through reading something online and got called away to do something else?
There are a few options to be able to read it when it suits you, like printing it out or emailing it to yourself. I’ve also tried and tested a few “RSS feed” and “read later applications”, and found “Instapaper” to be one of the easiest and most convenient to use.
Here’s how it works
The best description for Instapaper is your own personal “Read later” area. Instapaper has the technology to strip unnecessary images, adverts and fonts from webpages or articles, and displays it in an easy to read, text only type format. You can send web links, email articles or whole web pages to Instapaper and it formats it and stores it for you, to easily read later at a time that’s more suitable for you.
How to get content into your Instapaper account.
The application makes it easy to get something that you’d like to read later into your account. The first and easiest way is via email. Once you register and set up an Instapaper account, you’ll be given your own personal Instapaper email address. Save this as a contact in your personal address book. Then when someone emails you something that you’d like to read later, simply forward the email to your Instapaper address and delete the original email from your inbox.
You can also use email to send the details of a web page you’d like to read later. Simply copy the web address of your article and paste it into a new email and again email it to your personal Instapaper address. Instapaper then takes all the info from the article that you’d like to read later and presents it for you in the application when you’re ready to read it.
Instapaper is a standard “read later” application in many other online content platforms including twitter an flipboard. This means you link your Instapaper account to Twitter (this only needs to be done once), then you simply press one button in Twitter to “read later” and the relevant article is then stored in your Instapaper account.
If you reading this post via email, you can also press the “Instapaper” button in the footer to add this post to Instapaper.
Reading content on Instapaper:
Once you’ve started to send some content to Instapaper, and you’d like to catch up on some reading, access your account in a way that suits you: from your smartphone, tablet or laptop. Each article that you’ve saved to read later is shown and available in your Instapaper account. Once you’re done reading your article, you can trash, share it or file it to access again when you need it.
Using Instapaper is also a great way to gather and store content about a specific project. Lets say you are involved in a project developing an app. You go online and search and come up with hundreds of relevant articles. From scoping your app to design elements and to how successful apps have done this in the past etc.
As you find articles that you’re interested in send them all to Instapaper and from there you can file them into a folder – “My new app”. When you’re ready to process your research, all of the articles are in one place for you to read and review, without the distractions of having to be online to find and read them. (You also always have the option to view the original article if you need to from Instapaper)
Instapaper, is free and a great tool to increase your reading productivity.