Archive for hashtag

Ever wondered about… Paper.li

Posted in Ever Wondered About... with tags , , , , on September 16, 2010 by wisdomlondon

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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Gah! We’ve #hijackedthehashtags!

Posted in social media with tags , , , , on August 17, 2010 by wisdomlondon

Ah, hashtags.  They used to be these handy little things for adding context and metadata to our tweets.  How diligently we hashtagged keywords, events, names, products, brands.  And how useful it was, with our Twitter streams beautifully ordered. We knew what was important.  There was even such a thing as hashtag etiquette (“use sparingly, use the right term, or people might UNFOLLOW YOU”). How quaint!

But it’s all gone a bit wrong.  We have hijacked the hashtag.

Not everyone, just frivolous types like me and @LisaBarone.  We’ve discovered what fun we can have with it.  The hashtag has become an oft-employed comedy tactic, underscoring otherwise banal tweets with what we’re really thinking.  It’s like the thought bubble in our Twitter cartoon strip, played off against the straight-man speech bubble of the tweet.

And now it’s chaos out there.  Hashtags in this instance have become nothing to do with a trending topic, and everything to do with entertaining people, encouraging banter and having a bit more fun.

What I think is interesting is that the two seemingly opposite uses of hashtags (one orders, the other is more about disorder) exist alongside each other pretty well. And it’s all about context.  When I mention / engage with people, I perhaps wouldn’t #hijackthehashtag if I don’t know them or if the context isn’t right.  Maybe I don’t want to make them laugh.  And of course, you can have too much of a good thing.

But for certain instances when only humour – or at least a little less seriousness – will do, and when I’m most engaged with my Twitter crowd, #highjackingthehashtag rocks.

Stand back and you’ll see that the beauty of it all is that we are constantly finding new ways to engage in 140 characters, ingeniously using what exists and bending it to fit our needs, spotting the joke, joining in, engaging more.

So I can’t bring myself to get too serious or responsible about it.  It’s not for everyone – that’s probably the point. It is tweviance, let’s face it. And while it might not be compatible with that mysterious unwritten Twitter code of conduct, it’s coming into the mainstream and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

In fact, it’s exciting.  The relationships I have been fortunate enough to build in 140 characters are precious, life-affirming, often joyful things.  See how much we can achieve in 140 characters with a little ingenuity? I’m in no doubt, #thehashtagshelped.

Kate Spiers is Founder of Wisdom London.

And she is relatively remorseless about #hijackingthehashtag.  See more hashtag tweviance here!