Managing your information diet with Instapaper

16 Jun

Yesterday, I recommended an article from the New Yorker by Susan Orlean. If you’re like me, such on-line recommendations create a dilemma: Do I stop reading the current post and move on to the recommended article, losing my current focus? If I decide not to read the article now, how do I remember to read it later? If, later, I remember that I wanted to read it, how do I find it again?

Attention is a serious problem on the Internet. Every link is a potential distraction. In future blog posts I will explain why attention is central to forming new memories, but for now we can all relate to the experience of following link after link and wondering what happened to the time. We emerge from the rabbit hole with the feeling that we have accomplished nothing and learned little. How can we regain control of our digital life?

One tool that I have used with great success is Instapaper. Instapaper is an app that allows you to save webpages and on-line articles to the cloud and recover them at your convenience on your computer, tablet, or e-reader.

To use Instapaper, first visit the website and sign up for an account.

Screenshot from 2013-06-16 09:28:20

Once you have established an account Instapaper allows you to to put a “Read Later” button on browser. Here is a screenshot of my browser showing the button.

Screenshot from 2013-06-15 19:49:23

Press the button and the article will be saved to the cloud. Download the Instapaper app to your tablet or e-reader and you will be able to recover the article later and read when you can give it the time it deserves. As it turns out I often read my Instapaper articles while walking on the treadmill!

Here is a copy of the Susan Orlean article on my Kindle Fire:


3 Responses to “Managing your information diet with Instapaper”

  1. Renee Morrell June 17, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    This is a great idea, but I can’t get the button to show up on my toolbar. I tried dragging it and copying it. I’m using Internet Explorer 8.0. I’m at work, so maybe they have something blocked.

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