Pocket Is the App that Banishes Web Chaos
I have been using this app for quite a while, but I have only recently begun to use it intentionally.
After reading Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport last month, I went back to all of the apps and accounts that I own on all sorts of platforms. Some of them, I had not touched in years. In fact, some of the apps on the home screen of my phone hadn’t been used since the beginning of the pandemic. This was a situation that required some spring cleaning, to be sure.
However, there were other apps that I used often — almost every day. In keeping with the spirit of digital minimalism, I choose to cherish those pieces of technology that make my day to day easier, or, in Marie Kondo’s words, “spark joy” in my life. The sad thing about these apps was that I noticed how inefficient I was in my use of them. I stuck to my routine of a few buttons within their interface that got the regular job done for me, and so I didn’t even think to venture out of that sequence of actions.
While using these apps inefficiently, there were features which I had never tried out, although I saw them every day. One of these neglected resources in my life was an app called Pocket.
What is Pocket?
Pocket is self-described as a “web service for managing a reading list of articles and videos from the Internet”. The concept is simple enough, and the app itself functions in a similarly simple way. It is all straightforward. When I like a page that I am too lazy or busy to read at that exact moment, I use Google Chrome’s Pocket extension to save it to a repository of material collected from the web. There is no rhyme or reason to my collection, other than a general desire to come back to the pieces. I am also a hoarder of tabs — a trait which I am trying to overcome — so I can use Pocket before I close tabs. That way, I don’t feel unsettled by the act of loosing web pages from my sight. No one sees my Reading List, so I can be myself, and completely truthful about the wandering eyes of interest.
The Content Predicament
As I looked through my Pocket account, I realized that I had not consumed most of the content that I had saved, which made me feel like the app had become a content dump that was acting as some peace of mind.
One day, I will read that, surely.
It will be there when I finally want to read it.
Finding something good to read will be so easy because I have stored up all this stuff.
The unfortunate fact about this mentality is that interests and passions change with time, especially in someone of my age, at 20, who is still trying to find out who they are.
Putting off a piece of content for too long is a sure-fire way to stoke the ashes where the embers have already gone out.
Looking through Pocket and deciding to be more intentional about my content consumption on the app has been helping me feel more involved in the process of engaging with the internet. Now, I will go into some of the features that have revolutionized the Pocket experience for me, resulting in more reading, more inspiration, and more critical thinking on my part.
There is a search bar. Why don’t I use it?
Isn’t it funny how we forget even the most basic functions sometimes, while all caught up in our own little steps to get us where we want? Somewhere along the line, I had forgotten about the search bar feature in Pocket. As soon as I rediscovered it, I became more motivated to read. One of the biggest obstacles in my picking out a piece of content from my Reading List was the sheer number and variety available — I like a lot of things on the internet. Now, according to my mood, I can search for “art”, or “technology”, or perhaps “recommendations”. The results will have been a more intentional choice for me in that moment.
Plus, there is a tag feature as well. Although I don’t see myself using it as often as the search bar, because it would simply require too much time for my liking, I can tag anything on my Reading List however I want, and search through my personally crafted index of moods and desires.
Why did I not know that there was a social feature?
During my well overdue clicking around on the app, I noticed something that has also changed my Pocket habits: “My Recommendations”. I realize now that I can share saved content on my public Pocket page, along with comments about my thoughts on the recommendation.
Here is my public page. I will be adding more to it as time goes on.
Similarly to my experience as a blogger on Medium, this social aspect of Pocket is already getting me to think more critically about the content, and to engage more actively with my interests. The idea that I could write a few sentences as a review — a comment of sorts on every type of content available online, with all of those comments collated in one spot — is a great way to motivate myself to go deeper in my reading.
I want to offer something useful to the people who read my stuff, even if it is the shortest ever review on something that has left an impact on me. Plus, such a collection of ideas can easily turn into a brainstorming session for future Medium articles…
Playlists of webpages is a neat idea…
“Pocket Collections” is a cool aspect of the app that I recently found out about as I was scrolling through the Discover Page — something I seldom do. Each collection is essentially a selection of stories curated by Pocket editors and guest editors. Pocket’s concept and user interface lend themselves to this type of curation easily, so these articles-within-articles are a delight.
To get a better sense of what I mean, check out “The Ultimate Dinosaur Reading List”. It’s a fun one. These collections have allowed me to dive deeper into a lot of topics by drinking up the squeezed out, good stuff from all across the web.
I have one big complaint, however. I wish the ability to make collections was open to every user. It seems a shame not to have that be available on an app that is so ripe for it. On that note, I will be doing similar collections on my own Medium articles, because I am in love with the act of curation.
I would encourage you to create your own free Pocket account, to see if it is something that will bring you more comfort in your internet escapades.
⭐️ Follow for more content on the things I consume and think about! Especially if you would like to see some playlists of webpages ⭐️