Why Readwise, Raindrop, Pocket etc

So I need to understand how people use RSS-readers, RSS-feed collectors(??), read-it-later services, annotation and highlighting features. I for one can’t wait for the Readwise Reader because it seems like it cuts off some of the many many many apps that it seems to be needed in order for a good workflow to be established. For the moment it seems people subscribe for Pocket/Instapaper/Raindrop/Goodlinks/hypothes.is etc AND Readwise to send it off to a notetaking software. It seems like to many subscriptions for managing a not ao complicated area?!?

I ask only because I can’t seem to get this area of my computer-life to work. I have tried them all, but tend to forget which app is used for which. “And where did I put that article I was going to use for my classes” etc. I have since also tried to combine it all in DevonThink that has both RSS, clipper and highlighting and also a folder system that I can organise it in but the problem there has been that sometimes I can’t clip articles from the web behind a paywall (that I subscribe to).

What are your workflows and how do you manage your articles? And are you fine with several subsriptions for a thing that should be possible with just one app?

I have NetNewsWire for keeping up with a few blogs I’m interested in. If I find interesting articles from there or elsewhere online, I stick them in Zotero. Zotero isn’t really made for this purpose but I find it works out well for me. I just create different collections to separate out interesting web articles from academic papers I need for class, etc.
I find this workflow works for me, but I’ve only had it for a few months so could still change. So far: free, fast, productive.

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This question has probably generated more books, videos, seminars, blogs, apps, and heated debates in forums than almost any other end-user question. I’m sure you’ll get lots of good advice here – I won’t describe my own practices because whatever I do is no good for anyone else.

But I’d advise and suggest a good, hard, long think about what it is you’re trying to accomplish. Write it down, diagram it if pictures help. Then put it away for a week and come back to it.

Most likely everything you’ve tried has not worked for you because what you really want is not specified clearly and simply.


There’s a good deal of overlap between the apps you’ve listed, but they don’t all offer exactly the same feature set, which is partly the point you’re making, I guess! We’re talking about a few related but discrete functions here: rss subscriptions, time-shifted reading, taxonomical categorisation (bookmarks), annotation and highlights, full text search, snapshot/archive of saved items, (and more recently) managing newsletters, capturing/formatting Twitter threads as coherent/readable items, etc etc etc.

Maybe what we’re seeing now is just a natural process of evolution as we come to appreciate how closely related all of these functions/workflows/processes are, and developers push towards more fully rounded offerings. Completely makes sense that all of these things could be contained within the workings of a single app. But we’re only really just coming to appreciate that now.

For me, it’s Reeder for RSS subscriptions (with a free/grandfathered Feedly account) and time-shifted reading; Raindrop for referencing (starred Feedly items to Raindrop automatically via IFTTT); Drafts for notes while reading. I’d be interested in using Hypothes.is for online annotation, but it’s a bit too fiddly on iOS (though the possibility of extensions in Safari for iOS 15 may make it easier in the not-too-distant future… https://twitter.com/andy_matuschak/status/1456344328461185029). Other than that, I’m currently happy. I pay for Raindrop and Drafts, and am happy to do so.

Nonetheless, I’m also interested in Readwise’s Reader app. Looking forward to seeing what comes.

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Would suggest the problem is insufficient review, not storing in the wrong place. Few of these tools encourage review so you really need to make a habit of it. Looking at 2-4 places, at what you’ve saved in the last week, every week, doesn’t take all that long and should give you insight into what you’re doing that is working and what’s not.

Also, it’s not a big deal if you don’t see something you saved in the first place you look for it, so long as you eventually find it. It’s valid (and initially faster) to set up a few capturing and storage systems, and over time to converge on one of them as you get sick of articles accidentally ending up in the other locations.

RSS in DT is an example of that. It’s good if you want to build an archive of a feed over time without having to save each item. You can have that running, and at the same time, subscribe to the feed in your dedicated feed reader and process articles from that. It’s easier to have the feed in two RSS clients than to try to make one elegant system that gives you the benefits of Reeder-type RSS and the DT-type RSS. But over time, you might figure out how to get those benefits in one system.

And yes, very interested in what Readwise is cooking.