Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What is “Instapaper-Worthy”?

There are as many writing blogs on the Internet as there are attorneys. Okay, maybe not that many, but there are a LOT. Some good, some great, some so-so. The only bad ones are those abandoned by the author. After all, everyone has something to say.

You need to organize and cull info, thin the herd. You can’t read everything everyone writes, right? Right. Write!

This is what I do, which is what I recommend you do also…

But first, remember the Seinfeld episode titled “The Sponge”? Seventh season, 1995, 119th episode… (Thanks, Wikipedia.) Elaine’s favorite contraceptive sponge is being taken off the market so she snaps up all the boxes she can find.

Her supply is finite—once they’re gone they’re gone—so she examines potential partners for “sponge-worthiness.” Is her boyfriend “sponge-worthy”? (I forget if he passes the test.)

You need to be (not quite as) selective about what gets your full attention.

Google Reader can be your first line of defense against info-overload. Wait, even before Reader, here’s what you do:

1. Check out a writer’s blog, scan a post or two to get a feel for his writing. Like it? Subscribe to it by clicking on “Follow” at the top of the screen if it’s a blogspot blog, or copy the url and paste it into the “Subscribe To” pop-up box in Reader.

2. Check Reader daily, or whenever you can schedule it. Scan through the blog posts—there might be a hundred if you follow a lot of blogs—and click on anything that looks interesting. If the blog’s text appears in Reader you don’t have to go to the blog itself, great. Blog sites can be so slow to load.

3. Ask yourself: Is this post worthy of my full attention? If yes, copy the post into INSTAPAPER. It’s easy to do from a web browser or Smartphone.

Is this information “Instapaper-Worthy”?

Instapaper is great because it eliminates blog-page distractions like ads (sorry), little faces on Google Follow widgets, archives, books the author is reading, etc. You get plain text and in-line pictures only. You can change the font and font size, organize info into folders, and are a click away from the blog site.

I have an iPhone. Instapaper has an iPhone app, but maybe you’re cheap like me and don’t want to fork over $4.99 unless you have. You don’t have to.

Bookmark Instapaper in your browser and you’ll get (almost) all the functionality of the app, for free. When you tap on the “Text” link for an article, Instapaper switches to mobile-mode; great for the eyes. You can tag pages as Instapaper-worthy from your phone. Instapaper is built into the Hootsuite browser.

Do you know an easier way to thin the data herd? If so, please share.

No, Instapaper didn’t pay me for this promo. Would’ve be nice: the day job’s kinda slow right now and I could use the extra scratch.