Pinboard: the cement in my 'read later' workflow

One of the greatest benefits of writing PE is learning about new things from readers. Pinboard is a great example of such a thing. A while back, I wrote a post on how to deal with “read later links” that you get by email. Michael, one of the commenters on that post, mentioned that he was using Pinboard to keep up with his Instapaper articles. I was intrigued, so I grabbed a Pinboard account myself.

In hindsight, jumping on the Pinboard bandwagon was smart for at least two reasons:

  1. Pinboard’s one-time cost goes up a tad every time someone new signs up
  2. Pinboard is awesome

How I’m using Pinboard

For me, Pinboard is beautifully boring. It’s a no-nonsense, just-works means of bookmarking almost every article that makes some sort of impression on me.  Any article or site that I’ve had some interest in reading in the past and may want to revisit in the future resides in Pinboard as a bookmark.

These bookmarks arrive in my Pinboard account through three primary channels:

  • Instapaper
  • Links I share on Twitter
  • The Pinboard browser bookmarklet

Instapaper + Pinboard

I rarely read full articles in my RSS reader. Instead, I usually look at headlines, teasers, or skim. If an article looks interesting, I send it to Instapaper, the final destination for just about everything I want read on the web.

Pinboard is the ultimate cement in my “read later” workflow. It keeps track of every article I send to Instapaper. This lets me happily archive things in Instapaper with the assurance that I can easily find the article again in the future using a simple Pinboard search.

You can make Pinboard watch your Instapaper Read Later folder (or any folder) by copying the folder’s RSS link into the Instapaper feed URL field in the Pinboard settings:

Transient

Where does one find this URL, you ask? Look for “folder tools” on the right side of the page when you’re signed into Instapaper:

Transient

Twitter + Pinboard

Well crap. What was that link I shared on Twitter the other day? Something to do with keyboard shortcuts or something. Let me scroll through my timeline to find it.

Been there? I sure have. But I'm not going back. Pinboard collects every link I share on Twitter, tags them "from twitter," and makes them searchable. It will do the same for you if you tell it to in your Pinboard account settings:

Transient

The Pinboard browser bookmarklet

Pinboard offers lots of bookmarklets on their “howto” page. These special bookmarks give you a lot of flexibility for bookmarking pages you encounter in your browser.

I keep a Send To folder on my Safari bookmark bar for bookmarklets:

Transient

I use the Pinboard Popup bookmarklet a lot. When clicked, it launches a window that lets me edit the bookmark title, add a description, and add tags.

Tip: If you select text on a web page before clicking the popup bookmarklet, it will save the highlighted text in the description. Useful.

Both the bookmark title and description text are searchable in Pinboard.

Other Pinboard features

There’s much, much more to Pinboard than what I’ve described in this post. I only hit the highlights of how I use it.

If you’re looking for a better way to socially (or antisocially) bookmark web pages or want an alternative to certain other bookmarking services with less-than-certain futures, Pinboard is worth every cent.