I got an email a few days ago informing me that I'm in the top 5% of users of a service called Pocket -- I've used their free service to read more words on more Web pages than 95% of their users. This is a totally unpaid and unasked-for endorsement, but chances are you haven't even heard of this service, so let me introduce you to why I use it so much:
- Pocket makes it easier for me save Web pages to read later than it is to read them right away, helping me to avoid distraction. You know when you should be doing something, but someone has sent you an interesting link, or posted it on Facebook or somewhere, and you want to be sure to read it, but you're afraid if you don't read it now you'll forget? Being able to add it to your Pocket means you can be sure you won't lose it and can resume what you were doing. This has revolutionized the way I read blogs in particular; I scan the headlines in my RSS reader every morning, and rather than read any of them immediately, I save the ones I want to read to my Pocket and go on with my day.
- Pocket is so integrated with my mobile and desktop browsers that it feels like how the Web was meant to work. Saving a page to my Pocket is easier than bookmarking it in the browser. Reading a page in Pocket is often easier and more pleasant than reading it in the browser, because Pocket gets rid of all the ads, menus, and other distractions in most Web pages so I can focus on the text of the page I'm interested in, and it reformats that text for optimal reading on whatever device I'm using at the moment. I find that any Web page worth taking the time to read (rather than just skim) is worth saving to my Pocket so I can enjoy it more.
- Probably the most important factor in how much I read in Pocket is that the app for my smartphone will read articles to me aloud. All Android phones (and iPhones) have text-to-speech capability built in, but most apps don't support it. The Pocket app does. Since it's already stripped out all the menus and sidebars and other distractions away from the text of the article, when I ask it to read a page it can generally get right to the point. It's perfect for catching up on my reading while I garden, wash dishes, or even drive on the highway!
I've had a really good experience with this service, and I hope you will, too! Next time they announce statistics, I expect you to be in that top 5%!