Instapaper and My Ideal Intellectual State
I’m becoming one of those bloggers who posts on their blog specifically to say they’re not blogging. (Evidence: see the opening of my last post.)
I’ve taken on a second job so I’ve been busier than usual, and I have significantly less time to scroll through my Twitter feed, to read delicious morsels of information, and to share these links. And yes, I’ve talked about this race before—the need to read and know, and to know first—but after several weeks of a new schedule, I’m far behind, choking on all of your dust.
The FOMO freak in me has accepted this.
At first, I placed all of my faith in Instapaper to keep me afloat. The process, as it had been, was to sift through tweets in bed before getting up in the morning, scroll through a day’s worth of tweets, and save a half-dozen to a dozen links to read later. After a few weeks, I realized I’d repeated this process each day, but kept missing the final and crucial step: the actual opening up of Instapaper and reading the links I had saved.
Read Later. I’m unsure what this means now. It’s become less of an action, and now some kind of blessed, magical place. An ideal state far in the horizon, to where I put stories and ideas and information for me to consume and synthesize to make myself a better, more informed person.
But I haven’t opened up Instapaper in weeks. I’m scared to look—to open that page, to see the accumulation of links, to scroll down and down and down in a never-ending list.
Weeks-old ideas! Stories that have become stale! So many more missed opportunities to think and write and be part of something!
And then another week passes, and the list gets even longer. I notice that what I do—check in on Twitter, save an interesting link here and there—is an automatic, effortless gesture. What am I collecting? The mere possibility of something, of a story, of an idea I can turn into something of my own? Or am I compiling what will surely become residue of my Twitter experience?
Perhaps Instapaper is just another space, like my favorites on Twitter, on which I’m shaping my ideal self—whatever that may be.