About a fortnight or so ago I got featured in the first paper.li daily news thanks to @stevenhealey who often finds things first. When I saw it I was absolutely fascinated, because it met a need I had identified – people don’t want to miss stuff on twitter, particularly good links.
It is really interesting getting on board a new thing before the mass (being an early-adopter) because you’re aware before other people find it and can try and predict how it will pan out, how people will adapt it and what might be popular, or unpopular, and with whom.
So much for being smug though. Typically I completely missed a huge problem with Paper.li… which is how its notifications bother hugely popular tweeters.
Paper.li becomes popular and finds its haters
By chance I stumbled across a tweet from Graham Linehan (celebrity writer of amongst other things, Father Ted and the IT Crowd). He asked what this ‘Daily News’ thing was because it had completely destroyed his @mentions inbox. Every first, second and third tweet was a notification of someone’s paper featuring him, and he and other well-followed tweeters voiced their disgust.
This wasn’t just a problem for @Glinner though, other people didn’t like it because it mentioned the person who shared the link, not necessarily the originator. Paper.li cannot tell who wrote the blog post, it just has the users who shared the link, and some how chooses which one to feature on the paper.
Paper.li moved quickly to change the automatic daily tweets its users turned on so that they didn’t include featured usernames, and things have quietened down.
But the furore is just that – is there something more to paper.li?
Paper.li is Useful When Used Right
I’ve been using it myself but only with accounts or lists that are topic specific, so that the links shared are related stories. The best one is the tweets from all the Architects I follow on @ArchitectLeague, because architects tend to talk about architecture and design, the paper is usually full of related interesting material.
Have a look at the papers you are producing – are they useful for your followers, or just for you? If they create another way to provide focused material that fits your objectives, then yes, share them. Promotion is optional, so use it wisely.
What I like most about paper.li however is that if I share a link, the other people who include me in their paper, share my stuff with a wider audience of people, in a format which is more sticky than the original tweeted link. I have found that I’m getting a good number of clickthroughs direct from paper.li to my blogs and websites.
Even though Paper.li’s Daily Papers are only around for a day and therefore ephemeral like twitter, they hang around longer than a tweet and in a different form and this seems to draw more people to read further by clicking through to my sites. And if they like what they see, then I’m happy.