Don’t Pick, Use Both Instapaper and Pocket

Among the services that clean away online clutter I know so far, Instapaper and Pocket come across to be the most used services. Instapaper is designed with the sole purpose for you to store, read later, and discard/archive. Pocket, formerly Read It Later, comes out with a concept of saving later for everything including articles, images, videos, and web pages.

The sudden change of approach backed up with well-designed Pocket app across multiple platforms, manages to stir up the existing Instapaper users. I’m also troubled by it, raising the thought of switching from Instapaper to Pocket.

When you’re indecisive, gather more information. That’s what I did. I signed up for Pocket, downloaded the app on both iPhone and iPad, and started to use it for several days. What I discovered is how similar the purpose of Pocket to bookmarking services like Pinboard.

Knowing the difference is enough to get me settling on Instapaper without having a second thought of switching. However, there is one thing that draws my attention to Pocket. The implementation of tags and video support are one nice feature to have in your Pocket. It’s not easy to ignore this fact and blatantly shun away from Pocket.

I’ve managed to come up with a way to use Instapaper, Pocket, and Pinboard together. Each service does a particular task which in the end, provide support to each other while keeping themselves independent.

Read with Instapaper

Instapaper remains as my favorite reading app. Every single detail such as offering to save link stored in the clipboard, return to last read position, and lock orientation when you accidentally switch orientation are pampering the iOS users.

Instapaper

Marco, Instapaper founder and developer, has sought opinions from experts in typography to come up with several typeface suggestions. Instapaper can also save articles from sites that require login credential.

Marco himself loves reading, the customer and himself share the similar hobby. He knows what people needs for web reading. He cares what we also care. He knows exactly that we need a way to discover something good to read and comes up with a feature called “The Feature”. It’s the section where a real human hand-picking the finest articles and essays across the web.

This is what you can find from Instapaper FAQ page:

Instapaper is designed to store links you’d like to read once and then discard.

If you use iOS and need an app for reading, then I recommend Instapaper for this particular need. I can ensure Instapaper will become your beautiful reading room.

Create a Collection with Pocket

Before I elaborate what I’m planning to do with Pocket, let’s turn back the time and watch the result of offering free services. I’ve taken this matter into consideration before deciding to use Pocket.

  • Google and Facebook use your information to provide relevant ads. Sounds fair enough.
  • Delicious, a bookmarking services, bought by Yahoo! and got sold.
  • Instagram, $1 billion, is currently safe. But we’re not sure what will happen to it.

The decision is taken under the pressure of investors and clients. It can shatter easily. Thus free services are fragile.1

I believe Pocket have a prepared plan to generate income while maintaining their status as free services. But there is a possibility whatever the choice they’re taking, it’ll end up sacrificing some of the users “freedom”. They’re no longer making the decision to please customers or fulfill customers’ need.

Pocket

Leaving aside the matter of being free. Pocket allows you to save everything literally. You can save articles, images, websites, and videos. That’s what bookmarking services have accomplished so far, bookmark everything found on the web. However, Pocket is not designed to work like bookmarking services. It doesn’t provide a feature to search through your saved items.

Pocket wants you to consume easily what you’ve saved in one place.

I don’t need Pocket as my bookmarking services. I use Pinboard for that purpose. Throw everything into a single location, give some tags if you want.

Maciej Ceglowski, the Pinboard founder, once made a statement in an interview:

If Instapaper is the beautiful reading room, I’m the dusty attic.2

I have already owned a beautiful reading room and a dusty attic. How will Pocket fit into my daily digital life?

I use Pocket as my app collection gallery. It’s my personal museum to showcase every app I find noteworthy to store and share with readers later. Since the saved apps are also bookmarked on Pinboard and properly tagged, I can keep myself from worrying that my collection will vanish if Pocket makes a radical decision.

To avoid sending unwanted bookmarks to Pocket, I create a recipe with IFTTT. This recipe lets me send only bookmarks tagged with ‘Pocket’ from Pinboard to Pocket.3 Using this approach allows me to have the same gallery of apps properly tagged on both Pinboard and Pocket, keeping them synced. When I lose Pocket, I still have Pinboard with an exact format as Pocket.

The way Pocket presents saved items with grid and picture are surely more appealing compared to Instapaper. With the tags as their feature to organize a collection, I can easily filter collection according to apps categories. The visual cue provided by the good usage of the picture makes browsing apps collection far more pleasant and comfortable.

Conclusion

If you’re an existing Instapaper user, Pocket can still serve as a collection gallery for anything you wish to collect. After all, storing your cooking recipes in Instapaper is not a good idea.


  1. Ben Brooks elaborates the “Fragility of Free”.

  2. Entrepreuners Who Go It Alone — By Choice.

  3. Delicious is no longer under the management of Yahoo!, a good alternative of Pinboard.