Making sense of the Twitter stream can be a major task, so Paper.li is a welcome addition to the list of applications trying to help users organize their social media marketing efforts. Paper.li creates a familiar, daily- newspaper-like format out of Twitter and links that show up in Twitter. It is then automatically tweeted out to your followers.
People who are trying to curate content and provide value in the links they tweet out will find this free service helpful and refreshing. It can also help the new Twitter user to stay on top of all the news and information being shared. The part I liked the most is that Paper.li can be customized and you can create a newspaper for any Twitter user handle, for any list, or for a specific hashtag (for example, #smallbusiness ) and create a useful document for followers.
Here are the specific types of information that Paper.li compiles and organizes for you:
- It extracts all tweets that include URLs.
- It then pulls the content found on these URLs:
- blog posts, newspaper articles
- Flickr or Twitpic images
- YouTube video
- If you picked a specific keyword or hashtag, it would analyze the text for that topic.
- It finds the day’s most relevant articles in your newspaper (they don’t say how they do this, only that it is the “paper.li magic.)”
You can customize the headline or title of the newspaper as well. (This custom editing is only possible for a newspaper based on your own Twitter username or list.) Paper.li says a paper is updated once a day, but I always seem to notice it updating more often. That may be because people are retweeting it. I suspect one of the reasons for limiting the newspaper to once every 24 hours is that Paper.li has come under some criticism for creating spam by heavy Twitter users. I personally find the newspapers informative and useful; however, I usually only notice them when my username is somehow picked up and included in the newspaper or because a hashtag I’m following shows up.
You can set the newspaper to automatically promote itself to your followers (one of the complaints, I’m sure), but you can do it manually, too. If you are bothered at being included in someone else’s newspaper, you can go into Paper.li and change your own settings. You are limited to using the same Twitter avatar that you use on Twitter, so if you don’t prefer that profile image you have to change it on Twitter first.
I looked for a way to subscribe outside of Twitter and finally found it on the “Alert Me” button at the top of each paper (once you’ve clicked through to the actual Paper.li page for that Twitter user). You get an e-mail when the new edition comes out. Pretty nifty.
Here is a sample that Anita Campbell created for Small Business Trends on Paper.li.
All in all, I think Paper.li is helping Twitter users organize and curate their own content, which is a growing need among small business owners, public relations professionals and marketing types, to name just a few.