An Update to My ReadKit Setup

If you’ve read some of my more recent posts, you know I consume an insane amount of content from the internet. I’ve written a couple posts now about how I avoid information overload using web services like Pocket and Feedly and apps like ReadKit and Reeder. If you’ve missed them, you can check them out here:

Today, I’m back with a bit of an update of both how ReadKit is working out for me, and how I’ve tweaked things since writing about a month ago.

Since writing my post on how I was using ReadKit on July 24th, I’ve knocked my number of videos to watch later down from 204 to 61.  {For all you math people, that’s nearly 70%.} My list of blog posts to read later is at zero and has been there for a while.

Now I have been doing other things besides watching YouTube and reading. Okay, maybe sometimes I was binging on YouTube, but for the most part, I’m just watching videos in my spare time. I have picked up a new habit of watching a video or two as I get ready in the morning which has helped a bit though.

So the ReadKit set up is here to stay though, at least until Reeder is re-released. Then I’ll really have to do some soul searching as to which app to use.

Now onto the tweaks and changes…

When I wrote my first ReadKit post, I was just starting to use smart folders. I started out with these 5:

  • Incoming – RSS feeds from Feedly fed into this folder.
  • Read Later – If I wanted to read something, I saved it to Pocket, and it ended up here.
  • Follow Up – As I was going through the Read Later folder, if I found an article that either required a computer, included a video, or required more than just reading (e.g. a picture I wanted to look at on something larger than a phone), I’d star it which would put it here.
  • Pin It – Periodically, I read things that I want to save. By adding the tag “pin” to the item, it’d show up in this folder and I could easily find it and pin it when I got to my computer.
  • Videos – I feel like this is self explanatory, but anything tagged “video” ended up here.

The beauty of this was that it essentially filtered my content into contexts {a lot like GTD for all you planner people}. I’d skim the incoming folder, save things to read later, star the ones that required a computer or additional time, and pull out the videos and things I wanted to pin. The result was essentially folders for “on the go,” “at the computer,” “pinterest”, and “outside of work” {because we aren’t supposed to watch videos at work, right?}.

Now I’ve been using this system for several weeks, and the beauty of it is that it can evolve, and it has.

I had a lot of videos when I started, and since I like to watch shorter videos first, I started tagging videos by length to help me find the shortest ones. At first, I started with generalized times like “less than 5”, “less than 10”, etc. Eventually I ended up breaking the generalized times down into minutes like “14”, “15”, etc. for only the current chunk of time I was working with. For instance right now I’m in the  “less than 20” block, so I have tags for “16”, “17”, “18”, and “19”. Once I’m finished watching the 16 minute videos, I’ll delete the tag for “16”.

So I’ve rethought tagging, but my smart folders were a mess. They accomplished what I wanted, but in roundabout ways, so I tidied them up a bit and renamed them to reflect how I use them.

  • Incoming – No change here. This folder is the same as before.
  • Read Now – Anything I’ve saved to Pocket from Feedly. This was my old “Read Later” folder renamed to reflect that these are the items I can read at anytime.
  • Read Later – This is the same as the Follow Up folder just renamed. Read later signifies that I’ll need to come back to these when I have time.
  • Watch Later – Videos end up here. This folder now filters by content type rather than a video tag which means one less tag to add to each item.
  • Save It –  Anything I tag with “fav” or “pin” will end up here. The tag indicates whether I need to mark it as a favorite on YouTube or Flickr or pin it on Pinterest.

Do you use ReadKit or another app to read blogs or manage videos? If so, I’d love to hear about them. Also, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

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How I’m using ReadKit to Keep Track of Blogs and Videos

ReadKitOne of my more recent posts was about how I keep up with all the things I follow on the internet. My system has evolved little by little over the years, but the general concept has stayed pretty consistent. I subscribe to RSS feeds using an RSS reader and save the articles I want to read for later. Of course I’ve also managed to find some great little apps over the years to help me with this like Reeder, Feedly, and Pocket. If you missed how I’m using them, check out the article I linked above.

Today I’m going to introduce you to the newest app I’ve learned to love.

It’s no secret, I’m a diehard Reeder app user. It was one of the first apps I got for my iPhone. It was the first app I downloaded to my iPad, and I was part of the Mac version’s beta program. Reeder’s earned coveted spots in my dock on my MacBook Pro and my iPad, and if the 4 spots on my iPhone weren’t already claimed, it’d be there too. I really can’t say enough about this app. It’s simple. It looks great, and it has a ton of features. It just works, and I love it.

BUT….

The day Google Reader died, I think Reeder died a bit too. I moved to Feedly well in advance of the day Google Reader was going away, but Reeder wasn’t updated to support Feedly. Reeder got removed from my dock and put away to make room for Feedly’s iOS app and their web version on my Mac.

Reeder for iPhone was eventually updated to support Feedly, and it’s happily made it’s way back onto my home screen, but the iPad and Mac OS X apps were put on hold. The developer said that those apps weren’t as easy to update and that he’d focus on creating new versions instead. The iPad and Mac OS X versions have since been removed from the App Store, and I was left without Reeder.

As it stands now, I don’t do anything RSS related on my iPad. I haven’t found an app I like enough to replace Reeder for the time being, but I don’t use my iPad to manage incoming content anyway.

On my Mac, I was semi-happily using Feedly’s cloud interface {read:patiently waiting for Reeder}. Then, in came an article about ReadKit. It integrated both Pocket and Feedly into one app, and I’m all for having fewer windows open on my computer, so I bought it for $4.99. It does also support other RSS services and things like Instapaper by the way if you don’t happen to use Feedly or Pocket.

Now for my first impressions. I wasn’t too sure what to do with it at first. I liked the idea of one app for Pocket and Feedly, but I struggled with the interface a bit. I’m still not a huge fan of Feedly’s interface, but I do enjoy Pocket’s apps so that one was a bit harder to give up. I also have to comment that the icon is not the best. In fact, I hate it sitting in my dock, and I’m going to find a new one after I’m done with this post. As simple and clean as the app itself looks, I think it deserves a better looking icon. The biggest draw to ReadKit is having all of my content in one place. My only complaint is that there isn’t any way to save my items from Feedly to Pocket without dragging the article to the Unread section in Pocket. You can’t right click and select “Save to Pocket.” There’s not button or hotkey. You can only drag and drop. I believe they are working on adding some new features so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that will be one of them.

I bought ReadKit on a whim, as I do with most things. I honestly just hoped it would keep me content until Reeder’s updated, but now I’m not sure I’ll want to go back. ReadKit has really changed how I collect, manage, read, and watch content from various sites on the internet.

The one feature that keeps me using it is the smart folders which I completely blew off at first, but they have changed everything. So here’s how I use ReadKit.

My RSS subscriptions from Feedly get pulled into a smart folder called “Incoming.” That’s where I make my first sweep. If I wanna read something, I drag it to Pocket’s Unread list in the sidebar and wait for the number to go up to make sure it worked because I’m paranoid like that. {ReadKit developers…. I’m anxiously waiting for that button/hotkey…}

Anything I save to Pocket gets added to a smart folder called “Read Later.” I skim the “Read Later” folder and  favorite anything that I need to view on the computer, includes a video, or I might want to pin.

Anything that gets favorited in Pocket, or starred, whatever you want to call it, gets added to a smart folder called “Follow Up.” Most articles don’t make it to “Follow Up” so this is usually a pretty small folder, but I’ve broken it down a bit further based on type of content.

If it’s something I’m going to want to add to Pinterest, I add the tag, “pin”, to the article which moves it out of “Follow Up” and into a “Pin It” folder. Similarly, I can add the tag “video”, which will move the article to a Video folder. I can easily batch all my “pin-worthy” finds at once, and if I’m in the mood to binge on YouTube videos, I can do that too.

Now, I do the majority of my processing and reading on my Mac using ReadKit so that’s where this system really shines, but I can also mark articles as favorites and add tags from the mobile Pocket apps, so I can really use this system anywhere, it’s just more efficient using ReadKit.

After combining all my reading into ReadKit, it became really apparent that I had ironed out all the kinks in my system for everything except for YouTube. I could read all in one place, but videos were another story. I had some blog articles that contained non-YouTube videos saved in Pocket. I also had my Watch Later playlist and my overflow “Watch Later 2” list in YouTube. I started thinking, “Wouldn’t it be nice if everything was in one place?”

Now I’ve tried using an ifttt recipe in the past that added any video I marked as “Watch Later” on YouTube to Pocket. Sounds great right? WRONG. If I watched a video in Pocket, it still stayed in my Watch Later playlist. Eventually my Watch Later list was going to fill up making that recipe useless unless I also went to YouTube and removed it. That meant I had to remove it from 2 places… No good.

In the end I just saved all the videos from my YouTube playlists to Pocket. They of course got favorited with a video tag so they now appear in my Video smart folder in ReadKit, and since they aren’t in YouTube playlists that have a 200 video limit, they can all go in ONE list not two or three.

I actually really liked this set up. In fact, I loved it so much, I recently decided to add my YouTube subscriptions directly to Feedly. Now, when someone I subscribe to uploads a new video, it shows up in my Incoming folder, and I don’t have to log into YouTube and scan my subscriptions page for new videos I missed.

I’m really loving how I have settled into this system. It’s really helping me manage the information overload. In fact, I have less than 10 things to read later, and I’ve whittled my videos down to 204.

If you like to follow blogs, videos, or really anything on the internet, check out Feedly, Pocket, Reeder, and ReadKit. They are all fantastic apps. I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into my OCD mind, and how I sort of keep track of everything.

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Keeping Up with the Internet

I have a confession to make. I’m an information junkie. {I even took a personality quiz from a local newspaper that said it!} I love reading about new products, fun ideas, and just about anything else you can think of. I subscribe to over 145 RSS feeds, at least 38 YouTube channels, and of course whatever else I happen to stumble upon during the day. Media overload is a normal thing for me, so I have to have some elaborate organization to keep up with everything. Now I had been planning to do this post since I started by blog, so with the recent death of Google Reader, now seemed like as good a time as anyto explain how I manage {or at least try to manage} all of those the things I read and watch on the internet.

Another confession: When I heard of the news that Google Reader was going away, I have to admit I started freaking out. I may or may not have tweeted some complaints to Google and signed some petitions pleading for Google to get rid of it. We all know how that turned out though, and that brings me to Feedly. After trying several options, Feedly seemed to fit my current workflow the best. If you’ve been floundering around since Google Reader died, I highly recommend Feedly. Basically, any RSS feed I follow got migrated to Feedly with their seamless transition from Google, and that’s basically where it all starts.

A view of Feedly in my browser.

So a ton of people posts to blogs I follow, those posts go into Feedly. From within Feedly, I can quickly skim through everything that was posted, and that’s where I choose to read the article immediately {only if it’s short or super interesting}, save it for later, or just ignore it. For now, I’m using the web-version of Feedly on my computer while I wait for my “go to” RSS Reader app, Reeder, to update both it’s Mac and iPad apps. Reeder for the iPhone has been updated to support Feedly though. {If you don’t want to use Reeder, Feedly does have it’s own iOS app that is also pretty nice.} Oh, by the way, Reeder for iPhone is currently free right now, so  if you’re interested in trying it, now’s a great time to do it!

Reeder

Reeder for iPhone

Now back in the day, I starred anything I wanted to save for later in Google Reader. The downside to that is not everything I wanted to save for later was from an RSS feed which led me to Pocket. I can save anything from the web, including articles from Feedly directly to Pocket. Both Feedly and Reeder offer the ability to add items directly to Pocket quickly. There’s also a browser plug-in for those non-RSS items I want to catch up on. Then, when I have the time, I can catch up on those articles on my iPhone, iPad, or computer either through the Pocket app for Mac or the web. {When I’m on the computer, I prefer the Mac app, but it does lack some of the features of the web version like bulk update so occasionally, I do use the web version.}

Pocket App for Mac

I do have some feeds where I always read every post like the Skimm which posts a “skimm’d” down version of current events for us, “non-newsy” people. For those, I save myself a step and set up an IFTTT {If This Then That} recipe to automatically send those posts to Pocket so that I don’t have to add them to Pocket each day. If you haven’t checked out IFTTT, I also recommend it. You can set it up to do just about anything from sending you a text that it will rain the next day to tweeting Happy New Year for you. It’ll even turn your lights on or off based on events like when the sun sets if you have certain electronic gizmos.

By this point, everything I want to read or check out later is in Pocket. I’ve successfully filtered down my thousands of articles into a more manageable hundreds, but that’s still pretty chaotic. Right now, I probably have about 330 articles to catch up on. Further organization methods vary depending on my mood, but in general, I try to take care of the quick items like pictures or short blog posts first. If there’s something worth saving, for instance, a really good cleaning tip I’m going to want to return to later, I usually pin that onto a relevant Pinterest board. {I know, not the best way to archive information should the author delete content.} Since I typically catch up on things stored in Pocket while on my iPad or iPhone, I usually star {mark as a “favorite”} any particularly long articles, things better suited for viewing on a computer, or videos so that I know those are ones I should catch up on when I’m at a computer.

Now that I’ve covered my RSS feeds, I still have to do something with all those Youtube videos. Since watching videos at work is usually frowned upon, I save watching them for later. Thankfully, YouTube has a handy “Watch Later” playlist for that. On any normal day, that’s where I’d put these videos, but right now I have over 210 videos to watch, and apparently, YouTube has a 200 video limit on your Watch Later playlist which I have reached more than a few times. Now if these were silly 30-second cat videos, this wouldn’t be an issue, but videos seem to be getting longer and longer. {I have one that’s almost an hour long!} I usually try to watch the quickest videos first just to keep the number down, so who knows when I’ll actually get to that hour long video. It seems like more and more people are making longer and longer videos. {Note to all the YouTubers out there – Make shorter videos so we have time to watch them all!} For now though, I have a second playlist, “Watch Later 2.” {How original!} Anything under 9 minutes {because my shortest videos are about 7 minutes right now} goes into that playlist, and I’ve been whittling down that playlist little by little {at least until the next Web Finds}. I plan to keep increasing that time limit up little by little as I watch the shorter videos at least until I get my original Watch Later playlists gets out of the zone where I risk hitting the dreaded 200 video limit. Oh and if any of you are curious as to how I watch these {being the App hoarder I am – I like to try apps until I find the best one…}, I either connect my laptop to my TV and just watch them through the web {42″ of planners, cat videos, and Jenna Marbles…}. If I don’t feel like doing that, I watch them on my iPad or iPhone using my favorite Youtube app, Jasmine.

Jasmine for iOS on my iPad

Jasmine for iOS on my iPad

So that’s my super-OCD method of keeping track of what I read and watch on the internet. {Actual books, movies, and TV shows are a whole other ball game.} If you have any tips on managing RSS feeds or YouTube videos, if you happen to love any of the apps or products I mentioned, or if you just happen to get something out of this post, I’d love to hear from you.

P.S. If any of you happen to have tips on how you keep your RSS feeds organized, I’d love to hear that too. That’s one part of this process I’m not happy about. I just can’t seem to find a good way to categorize them.

And again, all apps mentioned in this post are currently free. I wasn’t asked to mention these products, I just genuinely enjoy using them, and wanted to pass them on to my readers.

Until next time,

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