How I Read on the Internet

Yesterday Eddie Smith wrote that Read Later is dead and I figured now would be a fantastic time to post some related thoughts about how I read on the internet[1].

Incoming: RSS, Twitter, Chat, etc

Online information comes from various sources. I subscribe to hundreds of feeds in NewsBlur. I follow a bunch of people on various social media platforms. Friends send me links via email or IM or Slack or other private messages.

If the item is short and I have a moment, I read it then… it’s like a reading adaptation of the 2-minute “Process it now” mantra from Getting Things Done. I read pretty quickly, so I can read many (most) things I come across on the spot.

Reading Later

If not, it gets sent to Instapaper. I have a recurring weekly task in OmniFocus to review my Instapaper queue, but in reality I do it far more often… Instapaper tends to be my bedtime reading.

After Reading

Once I’ve read something:

  • If it was rather unremarkable it’ll simply get archived in Instapaper.
  • If I found it interesting, I’ll save it to Pinboard for reference.
  • I might also choose to share it out to Twitter.
  • If it leads to a followup task, it gets sent to OmniFocus.

By deferring any sort of longish reading to Instapaper, I can rapidly move through incoming streams, then shift into reading mode later.


  1. This is how I read. It probably isn’t how you read. If you read in some other way and it works for you, that’s fantastic. I’m okay with that.  ↩