I recently wrote about what a great tool Instapaper is. In a nutshell, when you come across something online (either on your iPhone or your non-iPhone computer (laptop/desktop)) that you want to read, you click the little bookmarklet app, and the article is saved and synched with your devices. See something you want to read while at your desk, but know you won’t have time until you’re on a plane, click the bookmarklet, and…presto…you have it on your iPhone; and you don’t have to be online to read it either (ideal for air travel).
After playing around with the app for a little while now, I recently discovered another powerful feature, “Give Me Something To Read.” Once you create an account (yes, it’s free), and go to your home page, you’ll notice a link called “Give Me Something to Read”:
After clicking on this link (above circled in red), you are sent to the Give Me Something To Read web site. Here you see, as the description tells you, “…selections from among the most frequently bookmarked articles on Instapaper.”
So, while in some respects this is social bookmarking, along the lines of del.icio.us or digg, it’s also a bit different…at least for the time being. Right now, Instapaper is used by people like me…you know…nerds. So, the selection of frequently bookmarked articles tilts pretty heavily towards the nerdy. I’m, of course, delighted by this. This particular breed of nerdiness isn’t the same as what del.ico.us was (and largely still is); that is, really code heavy. Nor is it the breed of nerdiness that digg has become; sort of juvenile (the equivalent of fart jokes for geeks).
Instead, at least for the time being, it’s – imho – pretty thoughtful stuff. Here’s today’s list:
As you can see, the frequently-read articles are from sources such as Forbes, The Economist, The Guardian, etc. Cool.
One of the things that I believe/hope will keep it at this relatively high level of discourse is the simple fact that this particular social bookmarking service is text based rather than video based. In short: no YouTube. While YouTube is great (and, according to Forbes, apparently “The Solution”) it also tends to move quickly towards least common denominator type stuff. I’m not even going to bother looking up the current most popular YouTube videos. You can guess.
Another thing that’s cool about this presentation is the lack of tags, a limited number of articles…both clearly decisions based upon the premise of not introducing a bunch of unnecessary “features.” Such unnecessary features are sort of a pet peeve of mine recently.
Just a great example of an app done well.