Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Deleted my Instapaper Account, Here are Some Stats, and Why the Service Didn't Work For Me

TL;DR 645 Unread 25 Archived 1 Starred

I've had an Instapaper account since 2008 when Marco Arment launched the service until now. I haven’t been using the account for most of the last 2 years, with my last save in June 2014, the only one the whole year.

So I deleted my account. Finally!

The idea never really worked for me, even though I was very excited about it. I’ve always been a news junkie. My routine is daily RSS reader, hourly Twitter timeline, Facebook News Feed mostly on weekends, and daily manual reading of a number of sites. The idea of a service that could generate a newspaper like thing for me to read later seemed great. But I realized that after I went through my usual news reading routine, my attention was exhausted. 

Instead, I used Instapaper as a bookmarking service for “important stuff”, longer form deeper think pieces I thought I absolutely had to know and would get to later. That also turned out to be untrue. Out of the 671 links I added to Instapaper, how many did I actually read? 26! 3.8%. That’s way lower than even I expected.

I’ve been using the Reading List feature built-in to Safari on iOS and OS X, but it’s where links kind of go to die for the same reasons as Instapaper, I just don’t go there, does’t fit into my routine. Bookmarks are a similar story, only the Bookmarks on my favorites bar see any action.

What I think I might need is something to save links grouped by research topic, not just one big list. Bookmark Folders kind of serve that purpose, but it’s not really an elegant or searchable tool.

I’ve also kind of become one of those people on a desktop browser that just leaves a browser window open per topic with tabs for each site until I’m ready to deal with it. Safari does an excellent job of keeping this state at the ready in my Dock on OS X.