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You know what Vocal needs? A reading list

Would you use it?

By J. R. LowePublished about a year ago Updated about a year ago 5 min read
Top Story - May 2023
You know what Vocal needs? A reading list
Photo by Robert Anasch on Unsplash

It's a Friday night and I've just finished cooking. The scent of satay chicken is still fresh in the air as I sip away at the bottle of soju I've shamelessly cracked open (it's been a long week, ok?). I'm scrolling through the latest submissions of some of the incredible Vocal Creators I've subscribed to, but I can't help but notice some of my favourite writers are missing from the list in my notifications. I know they've posted recently because I saw their work on the 'Top Stories' page when I briefly scrolled past this morning, but I can't see them yet.



Scroll some more.

Scroll again.

Ah - there they are.


You see, the problem is, there are so many creators on Vocal with incredible talent that I just can't help but whack that Subscribe button when I see something I love.

Some creators post once a day, some once a week and some post even less frequently, but others post multiple times a day (which is fantastic, and I applaud the efficiency - truly), but unfortunately this also means I only see content from the creators that post the most. The ones who spend days or weeks perfecting their work are often lost in the midst of other notifications, and I want to see more of them.

Sometimes I comment on these (on the rare occasion I see them) with a "this sounds amazing - will be back to read later" type of comment in hopes that the author will respond and remind me to read it when I have time to. But to be honest, a lot of the time I only read the content from some of the people I subscribe to if it makes Top Story because I'm more likely to notice it then.

An example? Let's look at Naomi Gold - I'm a huge fan of her writing. Her voice is so genuine and easy to follow that every word melts into the imagination when reading her work. But a lot of the time, I only manage to read her Top Stories and even then, sometimes I forget because I see it, make a mental note to come back to it when I have time to read properly, and then don't. And it's not because I feel guilty for not supporting another creator that I'm bringing this up, it's because I genuinely am interested in reading her (and many other's) content but I never remember to do it when I have time.

Cue the dramatic music.

Enter the Vocal Reading List.

I'm on the train to work, as I am every morning. It's a short 13-minute journey (thankfully) and I'm scrolling through the Vocal Top Stories page.

Oooh, Madoka Mori (or let's say, Em Starr or Caroline Jane or... I'm going to stop there, but there are a lot of creators I could list) a new published piece.

I'm a subscriber (to all of these creators) but must have missed the notification. It's listed as a '5-minute read' but I'm about to arrive at my station, so I guess I'll just add it to my Vocal Reading List and read it later.

I spend the day grinding away in the lab, then catch my 13 minute train home. Perfect time to read the stuff I've added to my reading list.

And just like that, I can spend those 13 minutes on the train wisely as I read through the articles I've added to my list. Throw a comment or two into the mix and I'd call that one hell of a productive day.

What I'm trying to say is: I want to support amazing creators more and to optimise my reading, but as someone with the attention span of a cracked pistachio, I often forget about a lot of could-have-been amazing reads.

Not that anyone asked, but allow to me to explain via meme:

See the problem? I need a reminder to come back to those articles that I notice and then forget about immediately after my phone re-enters my pocket. Not convinced? How about this one?

No? Yes? Maybe? Well, I tried.

I have to admit though, I get the vibe that someone (or, perhaps, many people) has already mentioned this idea - surely, someone has?? As I mentioned, I have trouble keeping up with all the content, so I apologise if this is just re-stating other peoples' suggestions. But, if you've mentioned (or even thought about) this before, or have seen another post about it (that I probably missed for reasons mentioned above...) let me know. Would you use a reading list if it was added to Vocal?

I'd love to hear your thoughts below.


Thank you for all of your comments - I was not expecting so many responses but it's great to hear everyone voice their opinions and experiences. There were a few really interesting ideas put forward that I wanted to add to the article.

Justin @ Vocal provided a great suggestion in his comment - using the reading list functions such as the one Apple provides in Safari. I admit, I hadn't considered this at all when I posted this article, but it does sound like a feasible solution - for now at least. The only potential issue that came to mind was that it wouldn't be Vocal-specific so if you use those features for lots of things, the Vocal stuff could still get lost in the mix. L.C. Schäfer also left a few comments outlining additional features that a Vocal Reading List could offer, as opposed to using the generic ones Apple and other companies provide, such as reminders about what's on your reading list, a categorisation function within the list to sort your Vocal stories, and a 'favourites' option. Personally, I loved these suggestions, although I can't speak for everyone of course.

On the other hand, after reading through more comments, I've realised now that a Vocal Reading List would only solve half of the issue I was attempting to address - the other half comes from the notifications feature, which I love overall, but it can be overwhelming. You can get anywhere between 0 - 100+ notifications in a day, especially when lots of people publish new content, or when there are a lot of comments to respond to. As Naomi Gold mentioned in her comment, this make it difficult to stay on top of things. A Vocal Reading List probably wouldn't solve this issue either, not entirely at least.

BUT - Justin @ Vocal's suggestion to add a filter to the notifications could be a huge help. Being able to sort through notifications easier would tackle a big part of the issue and, if I'm honest, would probably be even more useful than a reading list at the moment...

Of course, this is just my opinion on the matter, and if you've got some suggestions I'd love to hear them.

Thanks again, everyone!

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About the Creator

J. R. Lowe

By day, I'm a PhD student, by night.... I'm still a PhD student, but sometimes I procrastinate by writing on Vocal. Based in Australia.

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Comments (40)

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  • HyperWritesabout a year ago


  • Miracleabout a year ago

    Wow such a wonderful story,wow this is so amazing

  • Farcas Ionutabout a year ago

    Yup, and also an explore tab with stories from multiple fields would be amazing to see.

  • Stephanie J. Bradberryabout a year ago

    I share a lot of your sentiments. Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Grz Colmabout a year ago

    Yes I would like this feature too J.R. Thanks for sharing. Loved your cartoon! 🤣

  • Joelle E🌙about a year ago

    I was just thinking this! Thank you!

  • Gina C.about a year ago

    I agree, this is such a great idea and would be soo helpful! I'm constantly seeing stories I want to read with not enough time. I really enjoyed the memes; this was clever, relatable, and fun to read! 😊 Congrats on Top Story!!

  • Violet LeStrangeabout a year ago

    Yes. Please. What a great feature this would be for app and browser based users. Thanks for putting the idea out there!

  • Mariann Carrollabout a year ago

    When I don’t have time to read a story, I want to read, I used the share feature. I save their story where I can conveniently read them later. That’s how I used the share feature to my advantage,to read a story I love and like. I have to many hearted stories that it’s difficult for me to find a story I am looking for .

  • jagu jerryabout a year ago

    excellent write up,this is a book full of emotions of our daily life and i have learnt alot fom this thanku for creating this master peice i hope u will be creating more like this and i am excited for that coming stay blessed dude

  • Farhan Mirza about a year ago

    Excellent write up , you are a classic and champion writer . I have learnt so much from medium , my intellectual level has been on a constant growth since I joined VOCAL . People here are like you , genius, smart and intelligent . Thanks for writing the best experiences and research of you , on life . ❤️🤝

  • Ash Taylorabout a year ago

    You're absolutely right about sometimes not reading things until you see them on top story! I saw this as your posted it yesterday and went "Oh, I agree with that! A reading list would be great, I'll check this out later." And then I forgot until I saw it had made top story (which, congratulations by the way!). A reading list would be incredible - especially if you had the option to make it public. That way you could showcase works by authors that you really love and other people can find them. Another feature I'd love to see vocal implement is a 'latest stories' on the home page, as well as a top stories. While we have community-specific latest stories, it would be nice to just be able to click a button and go 'okay, these are all the most recent stories that are coming in.' perhaps too difficult to do across all communities though...

  • Lamar Wigginsabout a year ago

    This was a great way to bring an existing issue that affects us all to light. I'm sure I've missed 50+ stories in the last couple months because I never returned. Can't wait to see how this pans out. Congrats! To me, this is more than a top story. It's a Top Priority and would be a huge improvement on how the platform works.

  • Oooo, a reading list would be very helpful. I do my reading mostly in FB Vocal groups which I visit every morning. But there are quite a few of my favourite creators who aren't on FB so I rely on my notifications to read their work. What I do is, I click on the notification and open a new tab. And I do that for every story that I wanna read. That way, I create a reading list using tabs. So I just pop back in to read whenever I'm free. But an actual reading list would be amazing!

  • Testabout a year ago

    JR, I totally agree. As a fellow cracked pistachio-head, I would totally appreciate a To-Read list. This is such a well-written piece...and the graphics just bring it home! 😄 Thanks so much for the mention! I'm proud to be amongst such talented writers.

  • ARCabout a year ago

    Great article, JR! A big ‘second’ to this request for feature. Glad it made TS! Hopefully that means it’s on the roadmap. Congrats and well-done!

  • Luke Fosterabout a year ago

    There is a certain irony in the fact that I have only seen this because it is a top story. But I have subscribed, in the hope of catching future work.

  • Emma David about a year ago

    A great vocal I must say a thumbs up for you This so interesting to read and understand

  • JBazabout a year ago

    I do my best not to miss your stories, BUT you are correct had this not been a Top Story would I of had the chance toe read it? I don't know. It is like a favorite on Net Flex. I have way too many to watch them all. Glad I read this one. Congratualtions

  • Matt B.about a year ago

    Now the problem is I'd need a reminder to check my reading list. LOL.

  • Godwin U.Ubahaabout a year ago

    Great inside, Keep up the good work.

  • Carol Townendabout a year ago

    point. I'd use a reading list if it was added to Vocal. There are a lot of interesting and amazing stories here, some of which don't get noticed unless they get to 'Top Story.' I think it would be a great idea for big readers especially (like myself) to be able to use a reading list. I love your idea, and I hope that Vocal will kindly consider your points.

  • UDEME UDOINYANGabout a year ago

    Great insights! Your article really sparked my interest and got me thinking. Keep up the fantastic work

  • Dana Crandellabout a year ago

    First of all, I enjoyed both the story and your memes. Second, Naomi is also on my "subscribed" list and her style is both unique and captivating. Third, your suggestion is awesome and I see that Justin has already commented, so it's found its way. Now, what am I forgetting? Oh, yeah! Fourth, congratulations on a well-deserved Top Story!

  • Stephen A. Roddewigabout a year ago

    That’s an odd way of spelling “email subscription option for non-Vocal users” 🤔

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