The App That Made It Possible to Actually Read Everything I Want To

The product: Pocket, a mobile app

The price: The reasonable price of $0 dollars and ¢0 cents

The reason: During every editorial meeting at Man Repeller, at least one computer starts wheezing like it’s running a marathon. “Sorry, I have 700 tabs open,” someone will say, usually Amalie, “and my computer’s furious at me.” She is then immediately forgiven, because having a score of tabs open is the standard operating procedure if you work in media, or work on a computer at all, probably. But that doesn’t mean it’s not generally a bad and stressful component of tech-dependent jobs. In fact, I’m convinced the number of tabs you have open functions as a multiplier on your burnout rate, which is why, *activate QVC voice*, I’m an avid user of Pocket, a mobile app that organizes all the stuff I want to read online.

My List
Currently on my list: I’m a sucker for big splashy headlines like “The Age of Decadence”—they always go straight to my pocket. (Ditto Atlantic’s—but I can’t vouch for either yet.) Of these five, I’m probably most looking forward to reading Naomi Fry’s New Yorker dispatch from the Weinstein trial. The headline alone got me thinking. The Siba and Dunkin‘ stories are admittedly wildcards—pretty sure their respective authors (R. Eric Thomas, Leah Carroll) tweeted them with enough gusto to pique my curiosity. We’ll see if I get to them.

Here’s how it works and why my life hasn’t been the same since I installed it: You go to the App Store and download Pocket. Following the app’s instructions, you add the Pocket plugin to your phone and computer, which takes one minute even though it sounds like homework, and makes a little red envelope (Pocket’s logo) appear at the top of your browser window on your computer (or on your phone, within the “share” options). Then everyone on Twitter, Slack, text, and email sends you articles all day long until you’re absolutely drowning in content and tempted to look at upstate farms on Zillow. But instead, you decide which articles you actually want to read, click the little Pocket symbol, thus sending them to the app on your phone for safe keeping, then close everything, including the Google results for “how to build your own chicken coop.” Later, when you’re bored on the train or waiting for your laundry or sitting in reception at the doctor’s office, you open your Pocket app and find all the articles you’ve been meaning to read—available offline!—loaded into one clean, consumable list.

From my Pocket archive: I highly recommend N+1’s “My Instagram” by Dayna Tortorici—it’s a long (38-minute!) read that you’ll be happy to finish once you start. The Renoir piece is interesting; I read it after falling into Peter Schjeldahl’s byline after I finished (and loved) his recent piece, “The Art of Dying.” (I pocketed a bunch more and am saving them for a lazy sunday.) Anne Helen Peterson’s analysis of Knives Out crystallized a point I’d been circling around for a while. And finally, all due respect to the important two-minute read that is “British Children Are Haunted” by Brandy Jensen (I’m very devoted to The Outline).

Apps like Pocket, which are essentially shiny RSS readers, have been around for a while (you might love a different one). But based on the number of people that ask me what it is when I mention it, there’s still a substantial knowledge gap. And I want to close it! Because even though it’s such a small change—reading articles from an app rather than from a tab—it’s far more impactful than its basic use case might imply. Saving my articles for later not only cleans up my workspace, a.k.a. my web browser, and enables me to table internet content for when I’m in the right headspace to consume it, but it forces me to consider what I actually think is worth reading. Not just in the moment, but later, too: Often the grace period between my thinking something is urgently worth reading and opening up my Pocket reveals that I no longer care about reading it at all. This is an important hack for fighting the event horizon of attention that is the internet. Things aren’t always as urgent as they seem.

Since I convinced the whole editorial team at MR to get Pocket, we now have a symbol on Slack that means “Tysm I’ve just pocketed this and will read it later, but now I’m getting back to work” (it’s just “🕳”…feel free to steal), and far less wheezing computers during pitch meetings. If you don’t have it, I highly recommend it. Because as every woman in a dress has long confirmed, everything’s better with pockets. *deactivate QVC voice*

10 MR reads

Lastly, I asked the team to share some of their favorite long-ish MR reads for your existing or imminent Pocket. Here’s what they said:

My Not-So-Secret Recipe for Cultivating Adult Friendships
Giving Up Shampoo: A Horror Story
Aidy Bryant Is You, But Famous
Leandra and Pandora Discuss Early Motherhood
Fashion Insiders Confirm Almost Every Stereotype in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’
‘We Met the Day Before Our Wedding’: 5 Unusual Love Stories
Meet Carrie Bradshaw’s New Alter Ego
How Bon Appétit Became a YouTube Sensation—and Why Claire Saffitz Is the Perfect Star
3 Women on What They’ve Learned in Their 70+ Years of Life
12 (Very Cool) NYC Teens Explain Their Back-to-School Outfits

Image featuring ASOS shorts.

Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman is the Features Director at Man Repeller.

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