READ COLLABORATIVELY ONLINE WITH DOTDOTDOT

One thing about Cultivation Center staff, we love to read. But we are also weary of the rabbit-hole effect of reading online where we access business related articles. Searching articles on the internet can become an obsession but its also a time consuming, mind numbing and, often, an isolating venture. So at a recent team meeting Amy suggested that we find an app with the capability to highlight and annotate articles (a key way for us to share our thoughts with one another while virtually batting around new business concepts) and I was charged with finding a dynamic read later app. This is how I came to discover dotdotdot.

After searching through a handful of promising reviews I was convinced to explore dotdotdot, which beta launched in March 2013, over other apps on the market. It was the words “read together and collaborate” that really grabbed me. According to one comprehensive review, with dotdotdot my team and I could highlight, add notes and search notes in articles saved to the app. We could also view each others, and others, notes and highlights. Building content sounded simple too. We could browse both Drop Box and Google Reader from inside dotdotdot and also import RSS feed into our accounts. Cool!

By now you’re either totally geeking out on dotdotdot or you’re completely stupefied by its functions. Either way, you’re not alone.  As the sole Cultivation Center team member who hadn’t previously used a read later app I tentatively signed on to dotdotdot. I had fun setting up my minimalist profile and then marvelled as I started garnering followers within minutes of joining (once a member it’s a “public” forum). My nail biting moment came when I made my second attempt to download the the dotdotdot “bookmarklet”. Did it work? Where is it? (Hint: The bookmarklet appears as three little dots in your navigation bar…) Is my laptop going to implode? But once I started combing the Fast Company Facebook page (my favorite!) for intriguing articles and importing them to my dotdotdot account I was indoctrinated.

The next test came when I read and annotated my first article. I immediately found the view to be easy on the eyes (point for dotdotdot) as the app transcribes an article link into a clean, ad-free format. Thankfully I kept my annotations conservative because I was later reminded that each one was archived in a public (as in other users can view them) feed on dotdotdot. I think I may have lost one follower because of how my 4 or 5 comments littered the feed. This is no big deal but it really made me feel like a new kid (point lost for dotdotdot, just kidding!). I moved on and gave emailing one of my notations (directly from the app) to my team a whirl. It’s a useful feature but needs development as I could only send the email to one person and there are two others on my team. Finally, I admit that I got a little rush of gratification when I saw that Amy had “liked” one of my other notations. Maybe it was just redemptive after earlier losing a follower due to my annotation enthusiasm but the positive reinforcement was nice.

Speaking of positive reinforcement, I’m going to end with some big points for the dotdotdot crew. In the first few weeks that I joined the forum I received 2-3 “personal” but non-invasive emails from dotdotdot staff. They seemed genuinely eager to hear how my experience with the app was going so far so I actually responded to one of them with my feedback. I’ve never given feedback on a social sharing app. Believe me, I’ve been solicited. I like dotdotdot and I want to see the app and the company thrive.

dotdotdot is a valuable and time saving tool that’s helping to make our Cultivation Center team, and our business, even stronger. We’d love to know:  What articles are peaking your interest right now?  What are you reading over “winter break?” And we invite you to share these articles with us on dotdotdot