Where do you save and read your online content?
You would think that with all of this technology and content that we're constantly creating, publishing and reading, that it would be a whole lot simpler to save, share and consume it. It's not. It's a mess. And, I'm guess that if it's a mess for me, it's an even bigger disaster for those who are less inclined to spend the time figuring out which services are the best and which ones can be trusted. If we go back to the early days of online content, I quickly became enamored with Delicious (which, at the time, was a bookmarking service coupled with an online social network). You could not only save and retrieve content on Delicious, but you could follow friends and see what they were saving. Most of that technology was driven by the nascent days of tagging content. Over the years, other services came online, Delicious got acquired by Yahoo, RSS readers (like Google Reader) came into play and, well, things just started getting messy again.
A system to save and find content.
For years, I would bounce back and forth. From taking physical notes of things to check out, to using Google Reader to having specific folders in my email program for areas of interest. In short, it just felt like everything was all over the place. It was less about trying to capture and consumer everything, and much more about having an efficient and unified place to get it and keep it. When Instapaper came out, it provided the most ideal place for me to save articles that I wanted to read, but proved less efficient for other pieces of content that I wanted to store (little pieces of data, ideas for clients, videos from YouTube to watch, concepts for a future book, column ideas for the Huffington Post or Harvard Business Review). Still, it felt like I was adding in another place to save my content. Then, Pocket came along. Pocket changed everything. I love Pocket.
Why I love Pocket.
Pocket seems to do everything that a lot of other tools did well, but it just works on many levels. Pocket allows you to save anything that you see on the Internet to an asynchronous experience (meaning, it is cloud-based and once an item is saved, you can view it from a computer, tablet or smartphone, so long as you have the apps and are signed in). If you see something in your email, you can forward it to a specific email address and it shows up in Pocket. If you add the Web browser bookmarklet, a little button appears in your Web browser, so you can add that piece of content. And, best of all, you can add tags to everything. It's simple, fast and easy (I know, this sounds like a commercial, but it's true). Because the tagging system is so well designed, Pocket makes it extremely simple to not only save content, but keep it organized from day one.
It gets better.
Perhaps one of the best features of Pocket is (much like Instapaper), is that once you save something in the app, it automatically downloads the content. This is huge. It means that while you're not online, you can still read, review and work with the content. Sure, the vast majority of us are connected all of the time, but this is also magical because the speed of which you can access content (without Pocket having to run off into the Internet, find the link and pull the content down) makes it that much more magical. From flying to public spaces, having all of that saved content on the app (without needing connectivity) is a massive plus.
Everything in your Pocket.
Of course, as you start using Pocket more, you start seeing the tremendous amount of work that these people are doing to make it better. They have integrated their tool into several apps like Twitter, Flipboard, Zite and more (close to 300 applications). And that is part of the magic too. Pocket made me realize how transient I can be with content. My context for content consumption is so different from when I'm on my MacBook Air to my iPhone to my iPad. Being able to save, consume, share and annotate the content that I'm devouring as an Infovore - no matter what type of hardware I'm staring at - seems to keep the tsunami of publishing from washing me away. Pocket is a true one screen world system.
Organization as part of your New Year's resolutions.
If you want to get a handle on the content that you're seeing, and put it to better use, I can't recommend Pocket enough. As an example: the content that I cover on my Monday morning CHOM FM radio segment is, typically, more of the general news-y things in technology and social media that I don't bother delving deep into on the blog, in my columns or in books. With Pocket, I can just tag all of that content from Mashable and BuzzFeed as "CHOM" when it comes in, so when it's time to build the topics of conversation for the radio show on Sunday night, it's all there... in one click. Once the segment is done, I delete everything with that tag in a very simple way. As human beings, we have never been faced with this much content from so many disparate places, finally you have the right tool on your computer, tablet and smartphone to keep you perfectly informed and totally organized.
If you have some down time during this holiday season, go and check out Pocket. You won't be sorry.
(full disclosure: Pocket is not a client of Twist Image, I am not invested in this company and I don't think I know anyone who works there. I just love it :)