Five Positives and Negatives of Creating a Paper.li Daily

If you use twitter and haven’t been hiding under a rock for the past couple of months, you’ve probably seen a tweet from one or other person you’re following that says something along the lines of: “The xxxx Daily is Out! Click here to read it…”

So what’s that all about?

Paper.li is an amazing website which creates a daily digest of twitter (or facebook) posts customized just for you.

Its tagline is: Read Twitter and Facebook as a daily newspaper.

I can’t speak about the Facebook integration because as yet it seems rather primitive so I haven’t used it but there are three ways you can create a ‘newspaper’ based on twitter:

1) Have it search through everything the people you follow tweet in the day and make a paper based on what they’re talking about

2) have it search a twitter hashtag and create a paper based on what people using that hashtag are saying

3) create a list of twitter users and have it create a paper about their daily tweets.

Here’s how it works:

You select one of the three options and then select a publishing frequency. They’re called ‘daily’ papers but you can have them generate either daily, morning and evening or weekly.

When your paper is generated, the Paper.li system looks through all the tweets in the set you gave it and pulls out all of the links in those tweets.

It then categorizes them as articles, pictures or video’s and then again categorizes the articles into headings such as education, stories, arts, technology etc etc.

Somehow it selects which of those articles to use for that day and generates a paper with all the different categories and a selection of articles from each.

There are both positives and negatives to the system and here are the top five of each that I have found so far (in no particular order):

Positives

  1. It delivers a daily digest of links tweeted by your friends giving you a very easy to read way of scanning through them all and reading the ones you wish to read
  2. It is VERY well laid out, completely revolutionizing the sharing of links online
  3. You can limit its scope quite considerably and generate a helpful page of links to exactly what you are interested in
  4. It’s like twitter on acid. Forget 140 characters, it includes some images and thumbnails and an excerpt from each article
  5. It comes out up to twice a day and pulls together lots of links you may have missed. You can virtually ignore your twitter feed and just sit down once or twice a day and have everything compiled and delivered to you all together. In fact, they should consider doing a paper version of this that you could have delivered right to your front door…

Negatives

  1. Although you can limit the users it looks at for tweets, you cannot limit the content from those users. It has little or no discernment about what is acceptable and what is not
  2. You cannot lay out the page to your own liking
  3. It picks who the ‘top’ stories are by… which is somewhat arbitrary.
  4. You cannot remove anything from it
  5. It gives the avatar and a link to the person who SHARED each story it includes. The person who shared the story might not be the person who WROTE the story so sometimes that can be a little misleading and confusing.

Yesterday, I experienced the bad side of Paper.li where one of my ‘friends’ had posted a rather graphic picture which many people would find offensive and it posted that picture right there in the middle of the screen…. and there’s nothing I can do about it!

All in all, I think that paper.li is revolutionizing the way we read, share and navigate online and I think it will go from strength to strength. It’s only in its infancy and hopefully many of the negatives I’ve listed here will soon disappear but in the mean time, it has its problems but it’s well worth taking a look at.

Creating your own ‘paper’ is free. Give it a whirl today: www.paper.li

My two papers are The Peter Pollock Daily and The #owaat Daily

About PeterP

I am a blogger, author, stay at home dad, speaker, web hosting trainer and geek (I was so excited to get an iPad that I actually made up a song and dance about it). I am English by birth, but currently live in California with my wife and our three children. I ran a web hosting business for nine years and found that many, if not most of my clients had never learned how to use any of the functions associated with hosting so I wrote a book to try and teach just those skills. I must admit to having fallen in love with WordPress (possibly a little TOO much) and I honestly find it hard to understand why anyone would use anything different to build a site! WordPress is wonderful! My passion is to help others achieve their goals with their websites/blogs. I believe that, with a little help, anyone can have an awesome site.

35 thoughts on “Five Positives and Negatives of Creating a Paper.li Daily”

  1. Good article, Peter. I have 4 papers going right now. I haven’t seen the negative #1 yet. Hopefully I never will. I guest it’s a trust issue with who you have in your TwitList. I can control some of the content by who I select for my TwitList. I don’t think I’d ever set up a paper based on a hashtag. Too much risk.

    One other negative some might think about the papers is the fact that you can’t pick the advertisements. Some people may think some of them are a bit offensive, on the edge.

    Overall, though, I’ve found it to be a great tool for putting other people’s stuff out there.

    1. PeterP says:

      Hi Scott,

      I was going to mention the ad’s but then forgot!

      You also don’t get any revenue from them although ‘your’ paper is littered with them!

      I set one up for the blog carnival hashtag but I created a tag that’s so obscure I don’t think anyone else will use it!

      1. nance marie says:

        i just twittered my latest post for the one word, and i used the hashtag. thought i would give it a try. maybe it will show up tomorrow.

        1. PeterP says:

          Cool! Yup, it should be there tomorrow. The papers don’t update in real time, just daily.

          1. nance marie says:

            looks like it made it on there, along with your new word list post.

            i wonder what will be there when it updates again.

          2. PeterP says:

            I doubt there will be anything tomorrow but I think it will be pretty full Tuesday and Wednesday!

  2. Oh no, I hope it wasn’t me that posted the picture! Haha…I keed, I keed.

    The paper is a great concept but I definitely understand the negatives. Hopefully more people will continue to use it and the developers will mature the technology.

    I haven’t personally used this so I learned a lot. Very informative piece Peter!

    1. Mature technology. Now there’s a great idea!!

      1. PeterP says:

        We’d need some mature people in this country before we could produce mature technology 😉

    2. PeterP says:

      You’re welcome, Tony.

      I had no idea what it was all about until two weeks ago and I started experimenting with it.

      I thought others would want to know, too!

  3. katdish says:

    Honestly, I didn’t really “get” why people were using that service. It’s always nice to be mentioned in someone’s “daily”, but I didn’t understand how it worked. Thanks for the info.

    1. PeterP says:

      You’re welcome.

      It’s not as big a compliment as it first seems to be mentioned in someone’s daily… but I still think it’s pretty cool when it happens to me 🙂

    2. Joe Sewell says:

      Allow me to “me too” what you said, kat. In fact, I hadn’t even heard of this blog (I don’t think) until I saw the CommentLuv line on Mike Perkins’ blog, and thought, “hey, I’ve been wondering what those things are about.”

      1. PeterP says:

        And I was going to name this post “What are those ‘daily’ things people keep tweeting about, anyway?”

        🙂

  4. Dustin says:

    Agreed, I’ve found it to be helpful, and interesting at times. Thanks for the info.

    1. PeterP says:

      You’re welcome!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. It’s very much appreciated

  5. Helen says:

    Thanks for explaining how people are chosen. Now I know that @SarahBeeCreations isn’t personally ignoring me in her daily. 🙂

  6. jasonS says:

    Good info, Peter. Thanks.

    1. PeterP says:

      You’re welcome!

  7. herbhalstead says:

    I have two running, both from lists (pastors, techpeeps) – You’ve nailed the issues and the benefits pretty well. I have to say it has become a pretty significant traffic generator for my blogs as other people’s papers feature stuff I tweet.

    1. PeterP says:

      Interesting. As far as I know, I’ve never had a single hit from it!

      1. herbhalstead says:

        yup – #4 on my referrers list

  8. Peter, based on my own painful experience, I wrote a blog post that will come out this week on how to read the content in a paper.li so one doesn’t get overwhelmed 🙂

    I link back to this post as the inspiration.

    1. PeterP says:

      Cool!

      Let me know when it goes live… just in case I miss it!

  9. Duane scott says:

    Do you mind telling me which option you personally chose and why? Did you select the twitter people you wanted or did you go with all the people you follow?

    1. PeterP says:

      I went with all my tweeps but am regretting it.

      There’s one person in particular who posts pictures which are… let’s say NOT G-rated.

      Those pictures keep coming up in my dailies and the only thing I can do is create a twitter list and add everyone I follow EXCEPT that person.

    2. PeterP says:

      Oh.. and as for Why? I chose everyone because I want to see what everyone is linking to.

      1. DS says:

        Thanks for the answers, pal. 🙂

  10. Michelle says:

    Wow, I never knew what that was. I do see it all the time, but didn’t get it. Good info. Thanks!

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