What the Hell is a “Readflow” Anyway?

by Eric Daryl Meyer

One of the inherent perils of life as a graduate student (just mentioned) is that, if one is going to get anything done, ever, one must be self-motivated, self-starting, and self-disciplined enough to do so. One of the major speed-bumps to all that good self-direction (at least for me—maybe all the other grad students are different [hahahahaha!]) is the very “interwebs” upon which you read these words.

Given that I spend a significant amount of time reading items of interest that I stumble across, or that others flag for me, Alan Jacobs’ post on his “Readflow” got me thinking about ways in which I could focus, direct, and use my internet reading time a little bit better than I do. The neologism itself sounds a little bit too self-consciously “tech-saavy” for my taste and smacks a bit of corporate-speak, but the concept has stuck in my mind nevertheless. Maybe that says something about me.

I do already use Readability to filter out ads and to save longer pieces for subway travel (or other more convenient, less work-oriented time), but I think that I may start using it as something of a cache and clearinghouse. I like the idea of having periods of “more focused distraction” in which I read the bits that have come up and either share them or file them as appropriate. Pinboard looks useful for the tagging and retrieval features that are lacking in Readability, but the added step of tagging individual pieces in a separate window sounds like more hassle than I’m going to commit to reliably.

This blog, too, may be more deeply integrated my reading process—at least for pieces that are not only worth sharing, but also spark a few comments. I know—what the internet really needs is one more guy spouting his opinion—right? Well, no one is forcing you to listen.

And if others have habits or patterns of reading that have proven useful, I’d like to hear about them as well.