And for most of us, the problem isn’t just physical. We’ve all got digital TBR piles as well: that blog that always has useful tips and tricks, the digital version of today’s paper, the article your colleague sent over that’s waiting in one of a hundred browser tabs. And that’s not to mention all the places you marked down once as an awesome resource and promptly forgot about.
For the online pile at least, I may have a solution: RSS readers, an old-school application in the online world, but for me, a life-saver. These apps gather updates from all over and store them in one place - news articles, blog posts, etc. Then they’re ready and waiting for you whenever you have a minute, just like that pile of magazines sitting on the coffee table.
The RSS acronym has had a few definitions, but one of the most common is really simple syndication. Just about every site out there has an RSS feed somewhere on its page, usually identified by this symbol: a dot with two radiating arcs.
That last step - holding for later - is the most useful part for me. I can log into my reader and look at a site I haven’t checked for weeks, and all the content is sitting there waiting for me, even if it’s already cycled off the front page of the actual site. I find this especially useful for sites that I know have good stuff, but I’m not going to be checking every day. It’s also a helpful way to remind myself of what’s out there.
The articles will be displayed differently depending on the app you use, how you configure the app, and how the publishers send out their information. You may get just a headline and a link, a paragraph or two, or a full story. Most RSS readers will let you mark items to be permanently saved, read later, or shared with others. And some will suggest links for you or help you to find new stuff - but that’s something I definitely don’t need!