Ever wondered about… Paper.li


Posted by Anthony Lewis

What is it?

You’re bound to have seen it by now. Paper.li converts your Twitter stream into a digestible daily online newspaper. Every 24 hours, all the links and information shared by the people you follow, or by a selected list of people, is arranged onto a newspaper-like webpage for your convenience. It’s one way of finding the most popular content being shared and making sure you don’t miss out on anything big, or it can simply aggregate up to date content on a specific subject. This program is still pretty new and seems to have some developing yet to do, but with the current buzzword “curation” flying about…well, it does just that.

Why Should I Care?

There are two main ways of using Paper.li – personally and publicly. For an individual, there are significant perks to this free service. Speedy and focussed feed sifting is one. It’s particularly useful for those who find the constant torrent of information a bit overwhelming, but who trust their sources to tweet good stuff. It makes sharing the content easy, too, with built in retweet and reply options, although social interaction is not so much the point here.

The other approach – widely seen and in some cases, resented – is to collect current content on a specific subject to share with the world. The owner of the feed is the “curator”, and the people they follow become “contributors”. There are very practical applications for this. For example, you can create a list of people who you know consistently share worthwhile content, or who are authorities on your subject, and create a “newspaper” of what they share.

You can also create a page based on a #tag, so you can collate everything on a certain subject, or let people submit content to your page specifically, using your tag.  Nice for events, for example. We see that it could be used to feed curated content to groups of people, such as employees of a company, who are too busy to check the Twitter stream hourly, but who need to keep up to date with developments. The downsides? Publishing your Daily isn’t appreciated by everyone – there have been mutterings about vanity and self-indulgence.  We say:  you know those in your stream better than anyone – it’s a case of judgement.  Maybe ask your followers if they’d like to see your Daily in the stream or not? If the answer’s a resounding ‘no’, well, you can still benefit.  If the answer is ‘yes’, happy days.  Just make it good.

Anything Else I Should Know?

As a young product, Paper.li is not perfect. The design is functional but rigid, and you can’t combine newspapers to create one compound paper. For example, you can’t yet combine your Facebook and Twitter streams, or your Twitter stream and someone else’s into one daily page. Paper.li is a good alternative to the acclaimed Flipbook for us plebs who haven’t yet taken up the iPad, and as a practical tool for individual users, it can serve a great purpose. There is definitely more potential to exploit in the future.  But whether you use it as a time saver or enjoy the glory of being a curator of fine content, the possibilities of Paper.li are well worth exploring.

Ever Wondered About is a new series on the Wisdom London blog, where we aim to demystify and explore what’s shaping our social interactions.  Coming up: Paper.li, and PPC. Wondering about anything else?  Tell us and we’ll investigate!

Ever wondered about how Android could be useful for your business? Wonder no more.

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One Response to “Ever wondered about… Paper.li”

  1. Sometime ago I contacted one of the local Paper.li peeps to apologise for the profusion of posts from me echoed in his fine organ. It appeared that I had hijacked the whole paper with my posts I had obviously hit a rich vein of appropriate hashtags.

    I’m hoping it will mature, it is a neat idea and with the rough edges ironed out could work well.

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