The Problem with Pocket


Pocket is an app that was formerly called Read It Later. That’s pretty self explanatory – it saved online news articles and blog posts into a form that you could revisit, a whole collection in one place, because you were interested in a piece that you didn’t have time to read right then and there. That’s one offshoot of Twitter – people and not-people (websites and the like) post links to articles that you’d love to read, but they tweet it at a time you can’t read them, and the tweet stays in its timeline. It takes more care and use of memory that I’ve just lost over the past few years (let’s save it for another time to judge whether it’s my attention span from information overload or from gradual brain damage due to legitimate medical reasons) to remember what I wanted to go back and read. So the Pocket app is great for me.

If I use it.

The other day I had some downtime, but stuck at my desk. I decided I would use part of it for catching up on everything I had saved in this app. Going back, I see articles from the beginning of May. It’s been that long – or at least I had only caught up to that date in previous attempts to clear my to-read list in times since saving that Economist article on the Jewish community in Tunisia from May 1st. To be fair, when I decide to buy a physical copy of an issue of The Economist it takes me at least that long to get through it, but I try to read all the articles in it unless I know from the subject matter itself that I will not come out any more willing to give two shits about the issue – something like how City of London bankers are reaching the lows of getting off-the-rack designer suits rather than custom tailored. Anyway, I leave those magazines on the kitchen table to read when I’m eating, and I don’t spend much time outside of breakfast anymore eating on the not-couch. I do love the idea of sitting and reading physical magazines much like I prefer reading physical books, but I don’t go to the bookstore often enough (for the health of my wallet) and I don’t get my 10% loyalty discount on magazines. Plus, the covers are always very American – even in Canada we get The Economists’s American version and I’d much rather the world focus on how terrible our own leaders – our Prime Minister and his cronies/yes-men, and the corruption with many of our major cities’ mayors (beyond smoking crack, even) than only caring about America. It’s a British magazine; I understand their according leanings – but goddammit, can you at least acknowledge your still-loyal child, at least the proportionate 10% of the time?

There’s still a lot posted to their website, and other news sites and blogs of people who actually have something meaningful to say (that is, people much better than me) and I add those articles to Pocket with the best of intentions. But it gets out of hand. I have so many ways to procrastinate, and find more in order to procrastinate those ways to procrastinate, and thus I get a month and a half behind. It’s not my fault. It’s systemic.


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