Listening to Articles with Pocket's Mobile App

I'm a bit of an info junkie. If I had the available time, I'd spend a couple of hours every day doing nothing more than pouring through the latest blog posts. I'm subscribed to blogs on writing, tech, marketing, movies, and a whole bunch of miscellaneous topics. I really enjoy keeping up with the latest in a variety of fields whenever possible. One tool that's helping me do so is Pocket, the mobile and web app that lets you save articles to read later.

Here's what a typical article-binge session looks like for me. I'll open up Google Reader or Feedly - if I'm on one of my Android devices - and I'll quickly scroll through the headlines. Even though I'm subscribed to a ton of blogs, I probably only read 25% of the material in-depth. Still, just keeping up to date with the headlines has been incredibly helpful to create at least a passing familiarity with new tech or tech issues in my field.

So I'll go through and star the items I want to read more closely. Because of a handy-dandy set-up in IFTTT, my starred items then appear in Pocket.

Pocket - Web and mobile app
Pocket - Web and mobile app

Why I Love Pocket

When the article arrives in Pocket, I have two ways to consume the media.

  • Read the article in a clean, non-ad-cluttered presentation. It's amazing how accustomed we become to clutter. Think of reading Leo Babauta's blog for practically any article.
  • Listen to the article via text to speech (TTS). This is mobile-experience only so far as I can tell, but it makes for a great way to get caught up on some reading while doing the dishes.

One note about listening to the audio: this isn't like Sound Gecko. With Gecko, you can have mp3's of any article sent to your inbox or to your mobile app. You could even create a playlist on your iPod and be ready to go exercise or commute to work. (Unfortunately, there's no IFTTT trigger for Sound Gecko yet, but I'd love to see one!)

With Pocket, everything happens inside the app (no exporting audio here), but I love having the choice then and there to be able to switch between text and audio. You could be halfway through with reading the article and decide to switch over to audio, and the app will pick up with the TTS from the exact point at which you're reading.

It's not perfect. For instance, some tech blogs or SEO blogs suffer from the TTS attempting to pronounce acronyms as words (Cee-O, instead of S-E-O), but it mostly does a good job.

What Do You Use?

Pocket is my favorite at the moment, but is there another RSS reader I should be trying? Let me know your suggestions in the comments below.

Note: If you'd like to learn more about Pocket, check out my article Tips to Get the Most Out of Pocket

ToolkitMichael Roberts