Whether you use the Instapaper browser bookmarklet or iOS apps like Reeder, you know that adding a link to your Unread items is just a simple tap away. This convenience is great, but that doesn’t mean it’s all sunshine and daisies in Read Later Land.
When you save an article to Instapaper in the usual way, you’re not likely to remember where you found the article. For many articles, it’s no big deal. You’re just going to read them, and move on.
But what about those articles you find in your friends’ Twitter feed, or maybe a blog that you want to credit? Wouldn’t be nice if you could keep up with who shared that with you?
Save the sharer
Fact: Your Instapaper account gives you a unique, clandestine email address. It looks like this:
When you email a link to that address, it throws the article in your Unread folder. Go take a look at yours on the Instapaper Extras page after you’re attention has been released from the mitts of this gripping post.
When you fire an email at your Instapaper email address, the subject of the email becomes the title of article, and it’s totally editable.
Tip (finally): Just put “via Steve” on the end of the subject to remind you that he's who sent it. Easy enough, right?
When I actually get around to reading the article, I know where I got it from. If I want to tweet it, quote it in Tumblr, or use it here at PE, I can easily credit the person that originally shared it.
Whether you’re on a Mac, PC, iPhone, Droid, or a “Windows Phone 7 phone” (the only mobile device name requiring a TextExpander snippet), email is an option. No excuses.
The importance of via (serious stuff)
Crediting others is, in my ever so humble opinion, critical to the efficient flow of “social capital” around the blogosphere, Twittersphere, or what ever abstract electronic social sphere you operate in. More importantly, it’s just the right thing to do.
If you’re good about crediting others, you can expect others to return the favor. Call it karma, call it web ethics, call it whatever you like. But it’s a win all around whether you do it for selfish or selfless reasons.
Also see: Everything I know about Instapaper for a big ole laundry list of Instapaper goodness.