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Instapaper’s (anti-)social network (marco.org)
99 points by siglesias on Sept 15, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 13 comments

I’d view that as an inappropriate cross-contamination of your privacy. Instead, Instapaper only shows people the “name” for you that they already knew through whichever method they used to find you.

I wish Google+ took this particular leaf out of Instapaper's book. Presenting people by the name you know them by is considerate and friendly, and all social software should work that way.

Really glad to see Marco consciously making these choices. One of my favourite features of Instapaper is that I never get any email from them. The only time I've had email contact with Instapaper is when I emailed Marco.

Note to startups: make a product worth using and you won't need to spam your users' inbox. They will email you!

> Note to startups: make a product worth using and you won't need to spam your users' inbox. They will email you!

I don't think that sites sending emails is always spam. There are some things that I want in my inbox. I like fan page updates from facebook, my unfollows on twitter, updates on people and companies I follow on AngelList etc

Of course I do prefer opt-in and links in the emails to unsubscribe without having to log in. But email is just fine for me - gmail knows what I like.

Yes, some email is ok if you want to hear about certain things. But I'm honestly tired of the typical email dance that starts with signing up for a new app.

First there's the confirmation email, then the congratulatory email for confirming.

Now if this is one of those Launchrock type fake signups, then you get reminder emails about spreading the word to skip the queues, which is probably lies anyway. But let's assume you got in.

Then the notifications start (StrangerX is now following you on YetAnotherApp). Turning off these notifications involves finding the settings page on the app, then unchecking fifteen checkboxes. At this point, I'd rather delete my account, but of course that feature's not built yet (it's an MVP duh)!

Then constant emails from the founders: "We noticed you signed up for our awesome app three minutes ago but you haven't started loving our app yet. Why not? Feel free to ask any questions if you have doubts about loving our app."

Then feature updates. And as was pointed out in a post couple of days ago, they don't even bother to remind you who the hell they are.

To top it all, a lot of startups still use DO NOT REPLY email addresses. W.T.F. Even Joel Spolsky's new Trello app did it! (Hello Joel! How about going back and reading some of those Joel on Software articles?)

Many don't have an unsubscribe link in their emails. Some do, but that takes you to "manage subscriptions". The only ones which have a proper 1-click unsubscribe link are the nice ones I don't mind hearing from.

Boy that's a long rant. I should start blogging.

http://marco.org/2011/09/14/instapapers-antisocial-network gives a clear account of instapaper's alignment with curating. Traditional curation topics doesn't work with instapaper; personal curation. Pulling others steams does not serve any purpose, at all.

Breaking away from the convention social structure seems very appropriate, http://twitter.com/radar_tty/status/114214633656692737

I love the convenience of saving and sharing links via a bookmarklet or a Chrome extension like Instapaper, but I feel that I can only feel more free to express myself under 2 conditions:

1. I know exactly who will read my links and corresponding comments

2. It is unlikely to come back and haunt me

Hence I like sharing links exclusively via email. They're simple, comparatively private compared to social networks and conversations can just simply start from a reply-to-all.

Shameless plug but I'd thought I'd share what I made:


I've been using Instapaper for at least two years, and I've been following a handful of people since Twitter integration was implemented, but to this day I very rarely check the social sharing of articles on the service. There are already sites for sharing articles. Does anyone use the sharing features?

Liked the idea and used it initially, but it gets tired quickly, due to the implementation detail. When you see a recommendation, you have to open the article in order to Read Later. So it takes at least a few seconds for every recommendation. I often want to use the feature before a flight, where I want to add 10 or so articles. If you're on a 2.5G or 3G network, that means clicking on the recommendation, waiting 20 or 30 seconds, then clicking on the next one.

If Marco's reading, please add a "Read Later" button against the recommendation (possible on desktop with an extension).

I follow a handful of people on Instapaper and check the friends list for new content now and again, but rarely do I see anything there.

It's like I'm the only one who regularly "likes" the best articles I'm reading. I wish this weren't the case.

Same here. I'm following everyone Instapaper could find in my contacts (six people, if I recall) but I've never seen any of them like an article.

I completely respect Marco's goal of not building yet-another-social-network, but it is true that the social features are so minimal that I never really use them. I don't need Instapaper to be a social network, and I don't need it suggesting that I that I read something new ever five minutes, but if there were a a few 'suggested reads' instead of the 'social bar', I wouldn't complain ;)

never used the social sharing features, expect to maybe post an article to Facebook once. Its funny, its the opposite of Buzz. Marco realizes that people view Instapaper as a mainly private place, that on occasion a person wants to share something from. This is also the function gmail accounts play in many peoples lives, which is why buzz was not well received.

A question pops to mind. And keep in mind that I don't actually use Instapaper, so I might have missed some obvious detail.

Let's say I find John Smith on Facebook, and somerandomguy on twitter. I have no reason to believe that these are the same person, and he doesn't intend for it to be known.

Is Instapaper going to show me that everything John Smith likes, somerandomguy also likes? Is it going to pick one or the other? What happens?

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