What Do You See When You Visit http://Paper.Li/?

The other day I got a email from my boss, the Subject Line read as follows, ‘This Is Cool…’ – the email itself was fairly simple, and contained a single URL Link: http://paper.li/ultranex. When I asked my boss about the email and what she wanted me to do with it, her reply was also simple, ‘What The Heck Is It? How Can We Use It?’ I get these types of questions A LOT at my job, so naturally I went straight into Investigative Reporter mode.

It turns out that my reporting journey would be more fruitful than normal. I attended a social media seminar over the weekend and came back to work on Monday quite pleased with my findings. The seminar had actually mentioned the mythical ‘Paper.Li’ and through a bit more research I discovered the following answers:

What The Heck Is It?
According to its website, Paper.Li is defined as a platform that organizes links shared on Twitter into an “easy-to-read,” “newspaper-style” format. Newspapers can be created for Twitter users, lists or hash tags (#tags).

Ok – Fair enough. I registered my own Twitter handle to see what came up and how my landing page would look like within the platform, and it was actually pretty cool how it formatted into different areas like Photos, Education, Video, and Media automatically. Check out my URL here: http://paper.li/acmontgomery

One other thing I also liked was when I searched for other ‘Paper.Li’ accounts, the search results pulled up how many articles were concentrated around that particular account. This was interesting information that my boss was curious to learn about as a daily metric.  I am now following the daily article listings for these Paper.Li accounts:

http://paper.li/SocialMediaDel ; 249 Articles, Sept. 14
http://paper.li/LinkedInQueen ; 281 Articles, Sept. 14
http://paper.li/ChrisBrogan ; 40 Articles, Sept. 14

But with all new media, its good practice to exercise caution and enter timidly. I pulled up different articles from Forbes, Mashable, and BusinessWeek which all commented fairly about the downfalls to Paper.Li: “It would be nice to have better customization options when it comes to what sections the links are placed in, or how they are ordered on the page.  It’s also unlikely that Paper.li is  to completely replace newspapers, especially because at least some links shared on Twitter refer to them.”

Even after looking at the Pros/Cons of Twitter’s newest Paper in Crime, my original questions still remained…. What Do I See when I visit http://Paper.Li/? – To me it’s pretty simple, I see yet another extension of powerful primary social media platform (in this case Twitter) working in tandem with developing 2nd party platforms to create a entire new ultimate platform.  I also see yet another reason why I will get made fun of for not having an iPad; surely my friends will say, “Amanda, you love Paper.Li! Don’t you think it would be easier and more efficient to read that on an iPad instead of your old school laptop?” Maybe, but I am also still resorting to a Blackberry and I haven’t cracked for an iPhone 4 yet. The daily Twitter/Paper.Li feed is great…

I want to revisit this question when its developed into a second generation in about 8 months-



6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. meagandahl
    Sep 14, 2010 @ 23:50:31

    Interesting investigatory journalism. I have heard of paper.li and checked it out, but the platform itself really interesting, but it’s not as shiny, user-friendly as I’d like. I think it might receive a boost with the big changes to twitter, especially because of the embedded video, music, photo applications, but I have my worries.

    The number one concern in my mind is platform overload. I currently use my regular Chrome browser for yahoo,Wordpress, and tumblr accounts. I use Tweetdeck for Twitter and Facebook, and Gmail for Youtube, RSS feeds calendar and contacts aaand it’s synched to my smart phone. I also have delicious bookmarks to keep up with my personal and professional bookmarks. All that makes me exhausted and I’m probably missing a platform somewhere.

    Now, if I had an ipad…. but I don’t and maybe I’m not smart enough to streamline these into one single unified platform, but I don’t think anyone else is either (yet). Hell, physicists haven’t come up with a Unified Theory yet, so why should I expect the Google guys to address my every want and need?

  2. ksharpedallas
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 05:26:20

    This application is a great way to get more users to embrace Twitter. The bare-bones, hyper-clinical look and feel of most Twitter Interfaces can be a bit of a turn off for those just trying to understand what Twitter is…let alone try it out.

    This application can be a great way to illustrate “remediation;” specifically how a new and unfamiliar 21st century tool like Twitter can be repackaged and reformatted into a familair 20th century interface like a newspaper.

    The structure, form and content of Tweets might be impacted by users who are aware what they post will be reformatted and presented more “themeatically.”

    Pretty anxious to try this approach out to be able to expand beyond typical Tweeter users and caputure the attention of non-users who are more likely to be engaged in the more familar format.

  3. Humberto
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 14:12:01

    Two interesting angles…

    One, on the Twitter platform. Twitter seems to have decided early on (smartly) that they weren’t sure how people would actually use them, and so they let 3rd parties extend their platform through their APIs, unleashing a flood of 3rd-party clients as well as mashups and “re-imaginings” of ideal interfaces for different users. Now that they’ve seen how their platform and network have evolved, they have a bunch of options, from partnerships to acquisition to simple imitation of what they have seen works in the field. The redesign they are rolling out now seems to be an acknowledgement that they are going down a certain “track” (richer consumption/sharing), without making massive changes. Experimentation will continue to happen at the “edges”.

    Second, on Paper.Li specifically, I think it builds on several trends. One is the decline of the traditional newspaper and the blurring of established and new media. If nytimes.com, The Huffington Post, and paper.li borrow from the century-old conventions of newspapers, it means they’re all trying to position themselves on a similar playing field with readers. Paper.li in particular, by borrowing so much from newspapers (even in terms of sections) is particularly appealing to those who are very accustomed to that format. There’s no reason a newspaper format is the “ideal” way to experience Twitter, but there’s a subset of people to whom this form is natural.

    This is likely to be a transitory effect, as these kinds of media continue their evolution (Think of the evolution of TV dramas…1950’s TV serials borrowed a lot more from the radio dramas that immediately preceded them than “Lost” did)

  4. kknight08
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 18:11:06

    Nice overview of Paper.li, Amanda. I am curious about people who use it and whether what they are looking for is actually something aside from Twitter? The main characteristics of Twitter, its brief and ephemeral nature, seem fundamentally changed here – to what end?

  5. missnesbitpro
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 18:15:54

    It does look pretty cool, but I agree with the complaints with it. If it was more customizable and you could pick and choose what goes on to your “personal newspaper” or even what you want to see when you go on to other’s “papers” it would be even better. I think more and more people are moving towards more personalization in their products, and if something can’t be customized to them, it will more than likely not succeed.

  6. aftonbladet
    May 06, 2013 @ 16:37:58

    Thanks for sharing such a pleasant thinking, piece of writing is pleasant, thats why i have read it fully

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