Benjamin Boman

Glasp review: Letting internet strangers discover smart content for me via Glasp

Recently I’ve been reflecting on the overall suggestion made by Cal Newport to declutter my digital lifestyle and focus on the essentials.

As part of his book Digital Minimalism, Cal recommends folks cut down on the amount of digital apps and tools they use to then re-intergrate them later with thoughtfulness as to what they are being used for.

The mission: tone down the noise of our modern lifestyles by 10 by reducing the amount of unconsidered digital interactions.

In doing this myself, I found that I needed to reintroduce technology in a productive way to help me find and read better blogs. One of my favorite tools for this has been Pocket, but unfortunately, the content discovery part of the app is lacking.

The problem is, and I’m sure that you’ve noticed it recently, is that you can’t really Google insightful stuff to read anymore.

Most of the first page of Google’s content is clearly SEO optimized content written by underpaid interns or worse, AI, which is a rehash of everything else you already knew.

Alternatively, if you want to get angry- you could try check for recommended content in your Twitter or Facebook feed. But I think we can probably agree that’s a rabbit hole that typically ends with clenched fists rather than a stack full of worthwhile reading.

Anyway, while researching alternatives I came across Glasp, a social highlighting tool.

Basically, you can highlight articles you read, store the highlights, then read others’ highlights while sharing your own.

And yeah, I get it. Adding a social media aspect to yet another thing may sound like a reason to roll your eyes 😂, but in this case it is actually cooler than it originally seems.

First, Glasp works by adding a Chrome extension into your browser.

From there, you can use their highlighting tool on the articles you’re reading (ahem, like this one?) to save the highights into your Glasp profile.

Example of me using the highlighting tool on Cal’s website.

Finally, once you’ve highlighted enough content, you’ll be able to review and reflect on your work at a glance on your profile.

You can comment on your own work to summarize it, or comment on others to start a discussion about their learnings from that particular piece.

Admittedly, I get a little vain satisfication from seeing other people enjoy my highlights, too. So yes, please, upvote my stuff 😉.

👉 But the best part of the app isn’t necessarily adding your own thoughts on there. It’s seeing the learning materials of others.

By setting your topic interests (currently limited to 10) you can start seeing a list of interesting content to add your reading list when you filter by topic on your home page.

Typically, the articles that people find most insightful can be great reads to add to something like Pocket, that I mentioned before.

So far, I’ve managed to stack up my reading list with authors I could never have discovered otherwise. No doom scrolling or Google searching required.