So hate is a strong word, so let’s just say I “dis-like” Paper.li. There are simply no redeeming qualities of the constant “The Crazy Cool Daily Is Out” that fill my stream.
Paper.li is an aggregation service. It takes a list of your Twitter followers, a Twitter search, or a Twitter list and puts together a daily newspaper page like site that lists the top stories of the day from these streams. That is all well and good if you are deciding to go in and read it each day. But as soon as you decide to automatically tweet it out (which thousands of you have) my problem begins.
1. There Is No Effort
And by that I mean to say it is the laziest form of content curation. Paper.li has all the annoyance of #FollowFriday with none of the work. Yes I hate #FF as well, for similar, but not the exact same reasons. You set it up, it tweets out every day, and you never have to worry about actually reading and recommending content. It does it for you. I am sure good content is being shared some of the time, but it would be nice to know a person was involved at some point.
2. There Is No Human
If it was only lazy, I might not mind. But we are missing the mark on several levels here. There is no context. No filter. No human decision to share good stuff.
It’s like tweeting 5 people at once to wish them all Happy Birthday. Which also happens a lot and is also really lame. The more names in one tweet, the less context, the less focus, the less likely I am to care. If you want to share some content with me or suggest a person to follow to me, or wish someone happy birthday, focus on one and give me a damn good reason to pay attention.
3. There Is No One Reading It
I get mentioned in 5 to 20 paper.li tweets a day. Don’t get me wrong, me and my ego love the attention. If it really was attention. I am likely the only one that notices. I bet the owners of these Paper.li sites don’t even read them daily. How do I know? Because out of those 450 tweets a months, only one in 7 of them actually results in a click to read the full article.
That’s right, only one in seven results generates a click. God knows how many people are looking at the story summaries that Paper.li creates. But I have to assume that with that kind of click through, the number of viewers is also incredibly low. But honestly the viewer numbers do not matter if no one is actually reading the articles.
Look, if people like using Paper.li to to try and aggregate and read good stories everyday, then go for it, no problem there. I can see the benefit of using it like Flipbook. But as soon as you blindly send it out to the masses with no forethought, we lose.