Test-Driving Paper.li

As you may already be aware, I’ve recently transitioned this blog from the name StickyFigure to my updated identity, Connection Agent.

The major reason is that I’m intent on exploring new ways to connect people and networks, and build new business structures based on Networked Communications.

As part of that effort, The Connection Agent blog and Twitter account (@ConnectionAgent) will be places where we experiment with stuff. New technologies and approaches to tie people together.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been test-driving paper.li, which automagically curates a daily newspaper based on the items shared by a Twitter list you create. Ross Dawson just wrote a helpful overview, and an explanation of how curated news apps work (and why they’re becoming so popular). Louis Gray also put up a helpful post on the broader topic of information curation.

I’ve created multiple papers for two types of audience: thematic interest (pharma/healthcare), and local interest (social media folks in a given geographical area), to see if this is a helpful tool in promoting people and exposing them to their peers:

http://bit.ly/PharmaNewsDaily (pharma news drawn from links shared on Twitter)

http://bit.ly/PharmaNetworkersDaily (drawn from top links shared by pharma’s influential social media types on Twitter)

http://bit.ly/HealthcareDaily (healthcare news drawn from Twitter, with a bit of focus on digital/eHealthcare)

http://bit.ly/ePatientsDaily (links and news shared by influential ePatients and advocates on Twitter)

http://bit.ly/BostonDaily (links and news shared by influential Boston-area folks on Twitter)

http://bit.ly/ConnecticutDaily (links and news shared by influential CT folks on Twitter)

http://bit.ly/NJDaily (links and news shared by influential NJ folks on Twitter)

http://bit.ly/Chicago_Daily (links and news shared by influential Chicago-area folks on Twitter)

Paper.li is cool in that it auto-tweets when a new daily edition is out, AND features in that tweet a few of the Twitter handles that are included – thereby increasing exposure. And yes, it does provide regular exposure for the creator of the paper – a nice benefit if you’re a network-builder. If you subscribe to a Daily (using Alert Me button), it sends an e-mail to you with a link each day when the edition is ready – very handy.

Two major upsides:

– Automated curation in a build-once leave-alone format. You set it up once, and it just runs.

– It brings together a group of resources/links into one place at one time, in easy to read format. Many of these are links you might have missed in your standard tweetstream.

Here are two downsides I see thus far:

– The paper roughly comes out each day at about the time of day you originally created it. The creator should be able to specify a delivery time.

– If you create multiple papers, as I have (and I’m probably an exception), and people subscribe to your Twitter feed, they may feel that they are getting “spammed” by paper.li links on a daily basis ->

My experience with the tool and approach has been mostly positive so far. But that’s me – what matters is you, the readers.

So, now I want to hand the microphone over to you. What do you think of paper.li? Are you getting any papers from others, or have you created your own? Does it help in network-building? Do you see downsides? Let’s discuss this – the whole approach is not going away, so let’s start brainstorming together how it can be refined and improved.


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About Steve Woodruff
Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

15 Responses to Test-Driving Paper.li

  1. Mike Sansone says:

    I’ve been watching this cool tool, and i dig what you’ve done with it. Very cool way to connect folks and provide industry relevant stuff for different disciplines.

    Reminds me a bit of how one connection agent used PageFlakes a while back: http://www.pageflakes.com/stickyfigure 🙂

  2. Hey Steve,

    I too have started “play around” with paper.li… http://paper.li/fmi_marketing

    And you are dead on re: drawbacks… especially re: time of “delivery”

    Steve O

  3. Hi Steve – At this point, I’m just watching this develop; I certainly like the ease in putting these “papers” together, and the handy summation of content, but I do fear a proliferation problem that will dilute their utility (i.e. we get so many every day in our inboxes that it becomes spam). We’ll see.

    All the best,

  4. Karen Putz says:

    I’m enjoying it so far– I like the connecting that’s going on in ways that I haven’t connected before. I’m not sure I’m ready to dive into it like Terry says, so I’ll be watching it more.

    BTW, the ChicagoDaily covers Chicago, not that east city. LOL

  5. Phil Dunn says:

    I liek paper.li. Curation, DJ-ing, content filtering.. whatever u want to call it is crucial these days. I make one for my A-list Twitter folks.

    Another thing that helps me filter is Read Later (instapaper.com). I consider it a “Tivo” for the dilemma of too many open tabs and too much to read (it strips out ads and makes the fonts easy to read, too). More on that here: http://goo.gl/7Wkw

  6. Steve,

    First — you’ve always been the Connection Agent! Good to see you claiming the title. As for paper.li I’ve been toying with it a bit. But, I’m still up in the air about how helpful it is.

    I wish it would let me add feeds from other sites — maybe Facebook updates or even blog headlines/links. I think being a true aggregator would make it more appealing to me.


    • Drew – agreed. One of its upsides – drop-dead simplicity by just grabbing links from Twitter List/feeds – is also a weakness. There are lots of other info streams to tap. But then you get into labor-intensive curation….oy vey!

  7. Karen Swim says:

    Hi Steve, I am using paper. li as well and like it but am also concerned about over saturation. The downsides for me are the lack of customization options. For example, I would like to specify the delivery time and it would be great to have additional customization for the links/lists/people included. I expect that with widespread use we will see more customization offered, likely at a premium. I am using it personally and for clients and definitely love the value so far.

  8. Brett Duncan says:

    Definitely digging the new position and design here at the Blog Formerly Known as Sticky Figure. You need a symbol!

    I just stumbled across paper.li the other day. Haven’t used it yet, but it’s extremely intriguing. I’ll check yours out and let you do all the tire-kickin’ for me ….


  9. Pingback: Seven Steps To A Better Twitter Daily | Waxing UnLyrical

  10. Everything old is new again? By this I’m referring to the visual format because that’s what has been the most challenging for me. Oh the irony that coming out of newspapers and magazines, I now have trouble reading news and events in a format that mimics the format of traditional paper news.

    Even though I’m a visual-kinesthetic learner, my guess is that using social media tools for the two years has cause my brain to recalibrate how information comes in. In other words, I’ve gotten used to reading information streamed in vertically and my brain crashes if my eyes are required to jump around a page. I don’t know what to look at first and so I end up seeing — and reading — nothing. Maybe this is just me?

    Nevertheless, I’ve signed up to receive a number of paper.li efforts created by you and others in my healthcare marketing network and am going to keep reading for at least a 6-8 weeks and perhaps start my own for another non-healthcare sector of my life just to see what/how my perceptions shift. Yes, I am a rank empiricist!

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