A Review of Paper.li: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Topless woman reading a newspaper

Is a news aggregator the best way to keep abreast of news on Twitter?

Paper.li is a news aggregator. It gathers Twitter posts from a keyword, a list, or  a specific Twitter account and collects what it perceives to be the popular stories and tweets. It then puts them together in a unified format that is like an online paper.

I decided to try it out to see what I thought about the service:

The Good

  • Gathers news from the sources of your choice
  • Is a good clearing house of recently tweeted news
  • Great way to view what has been happening online without having to go through thousands of tweets.
  • Easy to set up
  • Easy to read format
  • Visually appealing
  • Nice way to promote people’s tweets and posts
  • Self Promoting, it posts the paper for you
  • You can have morning and night editions, daily or weekly
  • Once you set the parameters, it will create itself according to specifications
  • Establishes authority for people mentioned in the paper

The Bad

  • You cannot edit the paper, only parameters from which it pulls information
  • You do not control who it references in your tweet about the paper coming out
  • You do not have editorial control over your paper
  • You cannot chose what posts get put in and what gets left out
  • No approval before posting
  • Promotes the paper as something you created

The Ugly

  • Not everyone you put in your paper will want to be in your paper
  • People might get mis-credited for posts due to re-tweeting
  • You cannot fix a mis-post
  • Promotes a message as an overall source when it is pulling news based on set parameters as limited as a single Twitter account.

The positives about Paper.li far outweigh the negatives. Overall I feel it is a valuable resource, however the bads and the uglies do cause concern. The lack of editorial control is the biggest issue I have.

In a paper I created to try out the service, a story was mis-credited.  The Tweep that it was mis-credited to pointed it out to me. Of course, because of the lack of editorial control, I could not change it.  To remedy the situation I deleted the paper.

I have also experienced this in other people’s papers. I have seen posts I have written credited to other people. Of course when pointed out, it could not be fixed and properly credited.

I based my paper off a list I created called “Adult Industry”  that became the name of the paper.  Though I could have changed the name, I didn’t think to change it.  So the name indicated that the paper was representative of all Adult Industry, when in fact it was not. It was a sampling of the industry.  Most of the papers I have seen seem to convey the same thing. They are called things like “Music Daily” “Tech Daily” “Adult Daily”.  As readers we are not privy to the parameters of the paper, and most people would probably not think to ask.  So in the name it establishes a sense of authority that is not necessarily warranted.

My review:

I think that Paper.li is a great tool and has a lot of potential, but I also think it has some bugs to work out before it achieves that potential.