Pocket will change the way you read online

Like many other people, I am reading more and more stuff online.

I discover the things that interest me mainly through my Twitter feed, email notifications and those websites that I visit regularly.

Mostly, headlines and links flash before my eyes on my PC screen as I work, and I rarely have time to read as thoroughly or as widely as I would like.

Until a few weeks ago my tactic was to bookmark things on my browser and hope to find time to read them later.

But I very rarely did.

But them I came across a little online tool that has completely revolutionised the way I read things I find online.

It is called Pocket (it used to be called Read It Later). It is beautifully simple, and like many simple things it does its job extraordinarily well.

It works like this.

You find something interesting and you save it to Pocket using any of a variety of ways. I mainly use an extension on my Chrome browser that you can download from here. One click and the item you want to read is saved.

When you open up Pocket the item is there, along with everything else you have saved, attractively presented in a grid of graphic tiles.

Best of all, when you open up your article to read it is crisp and clean and stripped of any advertising with which it might originally have been surrounded. This makes it particularly pleasing to look at on tablets.

There are buttons to alter the typesize and the screen brilliance, and there is a night-time reading mode.

Once something has been downloaded it can be read offline. A tick button marks it as ‘read’ and moves it into a searchable archive section (which can then only be accessed when you have an internet connection).

You can organise your stuff by highlighting it as a ‘favourite’ and/or marking it with appropriate ‘tags’. I have found it best to do this as you save, because it is easy to forget later.

Pocket is ideal for any journalist trying to keep abreast of the rapidly changing and much-discussed media industry. I also think that, like Storify, it has potential as a curation tool for writers’ own work, or as a kind of cuttings library for background material.

One word of warning. It is so easy and quick to use you will soon find yourself reading more than you ever did before. So try to ensure the only things you put in your Pocket are gems!

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About John Wilson

Editor of Hereford Times, Ludlow Advertiser, Stroud News and Journal, Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard and Gloucestershire Gazette series. Journalist for more than 30 years.
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