As someone who spends a fair amount of time exploring the galaxy known as the internet, I’ve found myself needing to “trim the fat” and only pay attention to the meat and potatoes if you will.
Each night before bed I spend an hour or so reading various stories, reviews and blogs about everything you read here. As I got more involved in blogging I started to take things more seriously, and I began researching ways to organize my content into a more friendly format. If you use a Mac like I do, and you browse using Safari, you might have noticed the Reading Pane feature which allows you to put articles aside for you to read later, or if you’re an internet veteran you might be familiar with RSS feeds, which brings you real time content from your favorite websites, so you know when theres been an update (subscribe to our here). Both of these features are general ways of keeping your browsing more streamlined so you’re not all over the place reading stuff you aren’t even interested in for reasons unknown! In this article I’d like to go a step further, and introduce you to some of my favorite ways to organize and keep track of what I want to read and when i want to read it.
First off, if you aren’t’ familiar with Google Reader, you should be. It’s a great way to subscribe to your favorite blogs or websites via RSS and it keeps everything organized how you like it. Google has an app for it and you can download it for your Android, Windows, Mac and/or iOS Device, keeping you up to date wherever you are.
Going a step further are apps like Read It Later, Instapaper and OS X’s Reading Pane or iOS’s Reader. These basic apps allow you to choose articles to essentially “read later”. You’ll need to subscribe to one (you only need one) and install a bookmarklet which you’ll click when you find an article you like and will then add it to your list. When it’s time to read, you simply navigate to the website you subscrbed to, and your articles are ready and waiting for your indulgence.
Finally the newest of the bunch, and I’m not even sure what to call these apps. I know of 2 that I currently use, and both differ greatly in their features, but offer the same basic concept — customizable content.
Zite — iOS — Free — Zite is a highly addictive little app. It calls itself a “Personalized Magazine” and it’s always learning your habits by aknowledging your likes or dislikes of specific articles, and customizing your content accordingly. When you sign up it guides you through a list of categories and you choose which ones you’d like in your magazine, and it searches the web for blogs, websites and articles about the categories you’ve chosen, and arranges them neatly into categories for your reading pleasure. As you click to read an article you can either “like” or “dislike” it, and the next time you visit you’ll have more or less articles based on your choices. The interface is nice and very easy to read, and the sharing features include; email, Facebook, Twitter, SMS, Evernote, Google Reader, Instpaper, Pinboard and Read It Later.
Flipboard — iOS — Free — Flipboard is as unique an app as you’ll find anywhere, and even though I didn’t have a clue how to use it for the first two weeks, the way it works with the touchscreen kept me coming back until I eventually learned it! The app is sort of a combination of an RSS feed utility and a “personalized magazine” like Zite. Upon registration you’ll be guided through an exhausting list of categories which they’ll then group into 7 main topics which become squares in the app itself. After that you’re able to add your favorite websites, blogs or RSS feeds to the remaining squares and add additional squares if needed. Once you’re set up the fun begins. When the app is open, you’re able to “flip” through your squares from story to story, and click on one to open it full screen so you can read it. From inside the story you’re able to share to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or email it, and you can also “Like” it through your Facebook account. At times I find Flipboard to be overwhelming with content and possibilities, but with enough practice I’m sure tat could easily be eliminated. It originally was an iPad app, and just recetly came to the iPhone (which is what I’m using it on) and seems a bit crowded but still fun.
These are just a couple of ways you can eliminate all that internet bloating, and ending up in places that you never meant to be. After all, the internet should be fun, especially when you’re using it for your own enjoyment reading about things you love and are genuinely interested in. No matter which browser you use, RSS feeds are the easiest way to stay organized, and if you’re still unsure then Google it! Happy browsing!