How do YOU do the internet?
September 30, 2011 1:41 PM   Subscribe

What's your preferred process for finding and curating what you want to read on the web, and making it readable on your computer and tablet type devices?

Man, there's so much interesting writing being done on these internets of ours, it's kind of hard not to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume. Every time I someone points me to some really interesting work that I never would have heard about through my stand-by sites and blogs, I get this brief feeling of vertiginous panic, because it just proves how much interesting content there is out there that's right up my alley, and I'm missing it.

I think I need to develop a better system of delivering the internet's words to my eyeballs. I figured the best way to figure this out is to hear about what other people find helpful, and how they put it to use.

What content sources, aggregators, curators, indexers, feed readers, bookmarkers, and whatever you call services like instapaper, etc., how do you go about deciding what you want to read, and how you want it to be made available to you?
posted by patnasty to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I use Google reader to subscribe to blogs I am interested in. If I find a new blog, I'll just add it in. Some blogs allow you to subscribe to them by tag, so that your feed of the blog is limited to whatever topic it is. Google reader is fairly universally available across all of my devices.

I find that if a story is interesting enough, then it shows up multiple times across the blogs I subscribe to. This helps me zero in on what to pay attention to.
posted by jabberjaw at 2:00 PM on September 30, 2011

Instapaper. It's just easy to log in from whatever device I'm on and catch up while I'm waiting in line/at the coffeeshop/wherever. Even better, I can save stuff there just as easily from my devices.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 2:34 PM on September 30, 2011 [3 favorites]

I use Google Reader for the blogs/websites I like to visit frequently - my feeds are broken down by category (news, technology, mobile etc.) If I come across an article I don't have time to read immediately, I'll bookmark it via Read It Later so I can come back to it.

For those articles I want to keep or take with me, the SendToReader bookmarklet will convert a page to PDF format and send it directly to my Kindle.
posted by Telpethoron at 2:36 PM on September 30, 2011

Nthing Instapaper. It's becoming something of an industry standard, too, with lots of smartphone apps having a 'Read Later' button that sends links straight to your Instapaper account. It's ubiquitous capture for things I want to read.

When I've actually read a cool thing that I want to hang on to, it gets tagged and goes into Pinboard. Things that I want to view later but aren't really suited for Instapaper (i.e. things that won't render well on a mobile device like video, Flash etc.) I sent to Pinboard and mark as 'read later'.

> I find that if a story is interesting enough, then it shows up multiple times across the blogs I subscribe to. This helps me zero in on what to pay attention to.

I think this is the same heuristic Fever uses to pick out interesting news items from your RSS feeds. I don't use it, but it could be worth a look if you're trying to pore through masses of feeds for the best bits.
posted by henryaj at 2:43 PM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

I use Evernote as my offline reader, and have an ifttt script that I use to gather everything I star, and copies it to a notebook in Evernote marked "Things to Read". I'll also use the evernote chrome add on to grab things I see outside of Google Reader, like articles on Longform. On my mobile, the "Things to Read" notebook is configured to be available offline, so I can read the article later.

I'd suggest using Instapaper though. The only reason I use evernote is that I also use it as my Internet junk drawer, and this just fits in my workflow. Most of my actions have Instapaper equivalents.

For especially rare subjects. I sometimes create a Google alert, although this is only for subjects that rarely come up, such as some non-famous person's name. Otherwise the signal to noise ratio is through the roof.

I've been trying to use Xydo Brief to find the best articles amoungst all of my social networking/google reader/various aggregators, but its been rather hit or miss.
posted by zabuni at 2:52 PM on September 30, 2011

I go to, and I've got a Firefox addon that gives me a "k" button. When I see an article I want to read, I press "k" and the article gets sent to my kindle.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 3:07 PM on September 30, 2011

I also use Instapaper and read stuff on the iPad. I used the "blog this!" bookmarklet with a blogger blog for about ten years just to bookmark stuff, but found myself not going back to it that often.
posted by mecran01 at 3:10 PM on September 30, 2011

Google Reader + Metafilter + Reddit + Google Plus + Gmail
posted by empath at 3:45 PM on September 30, 2011

Netvibes to find things via rss and Instapaper to save and read them.
posted by arse_hat at 8:24 PM on September 30, 2011

I'm probably a little more low tech than most responders here, having never quite figured out how to incorporate Instapaper into my reading routine. Anyhow, two suggestions:

1. If any of your devices are Android, give NewsRob a try; I prefer it to Google Reader for RSS feeds.
2. I look forward to the weekly email every Friday. I usually find 3 or 4 of the 5 featured stories worth reading. I use the Chrome plugin to send them to my Kindle.
posted by schweik at 7:33 PM on October 1, 2011

Google reader is invaluable. I have a three-tier system (that I stole from another thread on mefi): Class A B and C level blogs, ones that I read everyday, every week or every month or less. Plus several others that I find interesting on occasion arranged by category. So I read the 10-15 A level blogs pretty much every day, but if I decide I want to check out what's going on on the climate change scene one day, I'll click on the climate category and scan through.

I also star things that I know I'll want to find again, so I can search just through starred items. Even google search gets pretty useless when you have 100 feeds and many thousands of posts it's searching through.

Also you have to learn to self-limit, no one can read the whole internet and even if they could, reading that much can't stay in your brain very long.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:08 AM on October 2, 2011

Like many other here, I use Google Reader. I popped in to mention how I use it, which may be a bit different than other users. Google Reader allows you to create "folders" of feeds, and read them all at once together. I tend to create folders based on how the feeds should be read.

For example, story-based comics that need to be read sequentially without missing a page go in one folder, which I read sorted oldest-to-newest. I treat that folder like an e-mail inbox and read every single item that pops up in it.

In another folder, I might keep "surfing" type feeds. Sites like fun tumblrs and blogs, and of course Metafilter, go in there. This folder I read sorted by "magic", that is, with the items that Google thinks are most relevant to me at the top. I don't feel the need to read all of them, I just read until my appetite is satisfied and then click "mark all as read".

I have several of these two types of folders, further subdivided into where I would read them (at work, at home, anywhere no matter what). Comics and "surfing" reads are generally read at home. Programming blogs and tech news at work. Etc etc.
posted by Vorteks at 2:48 PM on October 3, 2011

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