If you find, as I do, the act of physically marking books indescribably (in the literal sense) disrespectful (to the physical book), you probably felt great the first time you realised that PDFs could be digitally annotated. Equally so when Amazon’s Kindle brought eBooks into the mainstream. Unfortunately the story of highlights on Kindle has been one of some frustration and disappointment for me, in large part due to the restrictions placed on liberating highlights from the Amazon ecosystem, and the UX of highlighting on an e-ink Kindle, which remains to this today clunky, slow and always just a little too imprecise.
After switching from an iPhone to an Android device at the end of last year, my content consumption workflow changed significantly. I stopped reading articles on my phone due to the poor experience provided by the Android version of the Instapaper App, and I started checking my RSS feeds once a day on my laptop rather than on my phone. This new approach to getting through my feeds helped me to remove a lot of the noise from subscriptions, and also got me thinking about whether certain topics really required a feed subscription when I was usually being exposed to the latest on those topics either via word of mouth or just through browsing the front page of Reddit.
I remember content consumption being quite a simple process before I owned a smartphone. I had some preferred RSS feeds that I subscribed to with a reader of my choice, which I would go through on my laptop whenever I had time and save articles that I was interested in reading later. In the years since I first started using smartphones I’ve gone through a few different mobile-first apps such as Flipboard and Pocket, trying to augment/improve my content consumption workflow, but as of last week it seems I’ve come back around largely to my pre-smartphone habits.