New Tools: Read Twitter Like a Newspaper

This post is part of a series, New
Tools for Entrepreneurial Writers
, which overviews specific
tools ripe
with opportunity for creative & entrepreneurial writers. The only
limit is your imagination! (If you’re the creator of a new software or
online tool & would like it featured, contact me.)

If you’re using Twitter, then you must check out this new web-based app, paper.li.

When you allow paper.li to access your Twitter account, you can automatically generate an online newspaper that pulls the articles you’ve shared (as well as those your connections have shared). You can also create “newspapers” based on Twitter lists and hashtag conversations.

For example:

So, what are the potential uses for this? Right now, paper.li is still in alpha testing. I don’t think we’ve even begun to see the customization and personalization that can happen. My guess is paper.li will offer a freemium model: get auto-generated stuff for free, up to a limit; pay for editorial/design customization and ability to import/embed onto your own site.

But here are a couple initial ideas:

  • Create Twitter lists (or collections of users) knowing they will feed a paper.li page—and use this to help spread your curated content to people NOT on Twitter.
  • Transform hashtag conversations into an easy-to-read form, and use as part of conference/event sites that want to offer attendees (and non-attendees) a summary of the event.

The key thing: These digests show how easy it is to become, as paper.li says, your own editor-in-chief. It’s a perfect example of Shirky’s idea, “Publishing is the new literacy.”

ALSO: Letter.ly

There is an interesting new tool that helps support individuals/enterpreneurs producing the most original and valuable new online content. Letter.ly is a simple way to sell e-mail newsletter subscriptions (but not for loads of cash—now ranging $2-$5/month).

This model seems most relevant to bloggers and other online writers who have amassed a significant audience—allowing for a paid model that supports the continued production of valuable, high-quality content. It is easy to manage for both the writer and the devoted reader. Go check out Letter.ly.

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