Social media offers an easy and satisfying way to quickly share interesting information with friends, students and colleagues. When I first joined Facebook, for example, I loved the fact that it was a passive way to post things without the temptation to impose myself on the inboxes of others.
Read something interesting. Post. Someone likes it. They read it. Share.
Frictionless joy all around.
As the accretion of shares grown over years, however, finding an old post can be frustrating. In a conversation or in class, I’ll reference something I’ve read online and then if I need the original information I’ll be unable to locate it.
I have lists of bookmarks in different browsers and on my iPad. There are plenty of services that address this problem by saving reads, assisting with curation and facilitating sharing—Pocket, Instapaper, and Scoop.it come to mind. I’ve tried saving potentially useful links and essays as collections of PDFs on my computer, on Dropbox, and even in Evernote.
While some solutions have worked better than others, in the end I just have things scattered everywhere and some in the other’s proprietary locations. A few weeks ago, for example, I stumbled upon a whole bunch of links and files from research in the summer of 2012 in an Instapaper account that I had completely forgotten I had.
We share things because we think they are important. Posting to Facebook may offer the frictionless satisfaction of sharing, but the databases each of us create for Facebook are not searchable.
For a long time I have enjoyed picking through Aaron Bady’s Sunday Reading on his blog—a feature that has since moved to The New Inquiry. I just realized this morning that it is an excellent way to double down on a blog as an ad-free, eminently searchable and usefully sharable place to post things interesting, useful or just entertaining. I can continue to collect the things I find potentially useful or interesting throughout the week, then at the end of the week simply toss them into a single post to share share. Since everything will be in one place I hope individual items be easier to locate later. It will be idiosyncratic and certainly reflect the random online reading that I might be doing, but I thought I’d give it a try. Perhaps most importantly, the next time I make reference to something I read and a student or colleague asks for the reference, I’ll know where to go.
To kick things off, here are some links that I have saved recently and wanted to keep for some reason or another.