Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Keeping Up With It All. My Favorite Tool Ever!
I am addicted to Twitter.
And I have admitted that before. I truly enjoy the people I am able to connect with and have conversations with. But I am most addicted to the resources because that is how I started. I spend lots of time finding stuff for my teachers. And I figure if it works for them, why not share with other educators.
There are tons of links, articles videos and other great stuff that come across my screen everyday. I can never keep up with it all. People ask me all the time how I have time to go through everything. The key is I don't do it the moment it comes up. If I see an interesting tweet with a link and I have time, I will dig deeper but most of the time I only glance, decide if it is something to look at and save it for later.
There are lots of ways to save tweets for later. Each tweeter has an RSS feed that you can subscribe to in a reader like Google Reader or on a page like Netvibes or Pageflakes. And that is an ok way but you still have to do that for each Tweeter and still have to scroll through each user to find the good stuff.
Others suggest using a social bookmarking service like Diigo or Delicious and that is better to save links but then what if what you find is no good or not what you expected? Then you have to spend the time to go back and delete the save. And that can be time consuming. Diigo does have the advantage of the Save It Later feature that doesn't bookmark but does save for later. And it works but for me it was too many steps and I needed something that would work on any device and I can access on any device.
My favorite tools that I absolutely can not live without is Read It Later. It is a beautifully simple service that saves your links for later. The best part, the app works on just about every device out there. So I can go seamlessly from my PC, to my iTouch to my Droid and have complete functionality and access to my complete list of saves.
Sounds little like Diigo right? Don't get me wrong, I love Diigo. But the thing that sets Read It Later apart is the Unread/Read features. I have the standard list of unread links. But what if I read one, uncheck it and forget to save it to my Diigo account? No worries my friend. Read It Later saves every link I have ever saved to read later in a nice little list I can access anywhere. And it is searchable too by key term, tag or date. Now that is handy!
As I said before Read It Later is available for any browser with the simple bookmarklet. There is one for adding the site to your Read It Later List and one for marking it read. But if you want more functionality you can get the Read It Later Extensions for either Firefox or Chrome.
Want to have access on your iTouch or iPhone? No problem. There are apps for those devices too. Do you have a Droid? If you use the Dolphin you can use the bookmarklets or you can download the PaperDroid app in the Android Marketplace.
Once you get your list started (and you have some time) you can log into your account, anywhere you have Internet access and see all the sites you marked and can visit them at your leisure. Each site opens in a new window so you don't have to worry about going back and forth to your list. Once you are done with the site you can unckeck it but remember, you have the "Read" list so you can revisit it in the future.
One of the new features is your List with a brain. Called Digest, you get a highly organized and personalized site of all your saves that reads like a newspaper. It costs 5 bucks. I haven't done it but it looks neat.
Right now I have over 300 sites. Yep, over 300 in my list. Some have been in there since I started using the service about a year ago, and I just haven't gotten around to looking at them but I know I want to some time. So if you are looking for a quick and easy way to save all those great resources you get from Twitter that you just don't have time to check out, give Read It Later a try. I promise, you won't know what you did before it!