What’s Wrong With Paper.Li?

Paper.Li is a content curation website that is built to look like an online newspaper. People tweet articles, and the service scrapes the tweets from Twitter and populates a news page. Tweets often go out that look something like this:

Typically, I’d be thrilled to have a “top story.” However, something is amiss. Below is a screenshot taken 30 seconds after this tweet went out. Where is my top story?

My article, which was a story about Groupon, was buried way down below the fold. I was able to find it, but it is often quite difficult to actually find your featured article. In such a case, I typically do a command-F and search my browser screen for “rizzotees” in order to locate the article.

I mean no disrespect to Dominic, the publisher featured above. Many Twitter users continue to use the service. But when I see a “top story” tweet go out, as a reader I’ll be looking for the cited story. And as the featured author, I’ll also be looking for the story. If we don’t find it where top stories are usually located (at the top), the entire effort is kind of a misfire. Perhaps Paper.Li is not trying to adhere to any journalistic standards, which would be their choice. My recommendation? Put so-called top stories where they belong. Then, Twitter users who get their tweets featured, and who then see their Twitter username in a tweet will get overly excited when they proceed to your Paper.Li page and find themselves at the top.

Without such changes, the Paper.Li experience falls a bit flat for me.


  • Jeremy_Snell

    Do you only check it out when you are the top story or would you look at it regardless?

    • RizzoTees

       @Jeremy_Snell Personally, I do not actively follow the Paper.Li sites of anyone. I also do not often click through on tweets to see which “story” of mine has been turned into a Paper.Li top story. All their site is doing is taking my tweets and turning them into stories. As a social media strategist, I do have curiosity as to which tweets of mine are popular, and I guess I had a professional curiosity as to whether Paper.Li was somehow measuring that by the stories of mine it chose to feature as “top stories.” So, I found myself disappointed when my top story was nowhere near where a top story would be located in a typical newspaper. In fact, sometimes my story was frustratingly hard to find.
      Note that, when I am alerted to a tweet of mine being included on someone’s Paper.Li page, I am always informed via a tweet, and that tweet ALWAYS calls it a “top story.”

  • Greg Bussmann

    I agree with you that the service seems to fall flat. It has reached the point for me where I just skim over them in my timeline – whether I am mentioned or not. 
    I also think the UI of the site is very hard on the eyes. I don’t even want to look at it.
    Good stuff!

    • RizzoTees

       @Greg Bussmann Thanks Greg. When it first came out, I saw people that I know and respected trying the service. It’s probably my job to test drive all of these services. However, I think I’m a bit too practical – I just didn’t see the point of the service. No offense to its creators. It just didn’t seem like something I needed. From a professional nerdy standpoint, I became frustrated when my “top story” was not treated as such. I admit that my frustration is just plain silly. After all, none of our tweets are truly top stories. They’re just tweets.