If you’re on Twitter, you may have noticed all of those Paper.li newspapers made up of tweets compiled from Twitter timelines, hashtags and lists. At first glance, it looks like a fun project and maybe something that will direct traffic to everyone on a Twitter stream. It’s a harmless way to share our friends posts and projects, but it could be a lot more.
When I first saw the Paper.li Twitter newspapers I wondered how they worked, how they would benefit those in my Twitter community, and how they would benefit me. Because let’s face it, even though we’re not supposed to say it, we really want to know how things are going to benefit us and what’s in it for us.
My Paper.li Twitter Experiment
I decided to see what this Paper.li thing was all about and set up two “newspapers.” One featured my favorite Tweeters and the other was for my favorite writing bloggers.
And what happened?
I don’t really know if everyone else who is using this service has the same results but it doesn’t drive any traffic to my blog, really. Without stats or metrics in place, I can’t even tell if it drives traffic to anyone else’s blogs, either. It definitely is a unique way of sharing tweets from people who you admire or to create a newspaper around a common theme, but I can’t see it being anything more than that.
Since all the traffic and revenue goes to Paper.li, they’re really the people who benefit. Again, this isn’t a bad service, but it is what it is. The folks creating the paper receive all the advertising revenue and most of the traffic, so they’re the only ones who reap the true rewards. Those on Twitter who create the newspapers don’t really see anything beyond good karma. There’s nothing in it for us beyond our own personal amusement. If that’s your goal, it’s cool. However, I know of plenty of people who now ignore Paper.li Tweets because they don’t get it and don’t get why anyone wants to use it, plus they feel it clutters the timeline.
How to Get Folks to Love Paper.li
I don’t hate Paper.li, though. Again, it is what it is; a newspaper made up of Tweets. Nothing more, nothing less.
The thing is, we bloggers are selfish people. We always want to know how something will help us (over the other way around). Seeing the Paper.li links in our Twitter streams wouldn’t be too terrible if we knew folks were reading them and profiting from them…and really that’s the key to us feeling this whole thing.
If Paper.li wants to be embraced by bloggers they have to offer some perks.
Advertising revenue: Each Twitter newspaper has fairly obvious advertising. However, if there is a way for bloggers to receive a percentage of the revenue or run their own ads, I’m not aware of it. If Paper.li wants more bloggers on board, monetization for all involved is necessary. Otherwise all we’re doing is promoting their stuff for free.
Traffic: I don’t know about you, but I receive very little traffic to my blog from the Paper.li Twitter newspapers. My blogs are featured in several daily but the days I receive traffic from any of the Paper.li papers are very rare. For bloggers to want to embrace Paper.li they have to receive more than the occasional bit of traffic.
Stats: Bloggers are analytical thinkers. Help us see the benefits with stats. As of now we have no way of knowing how many people are visiting our Paper.li newspapers and how many of our links people visit.
Promotion: If any service wants to appeal to bloggers it has to be mutually beneficial.So if Paper.li wants to appeal to bloggers and heavy Tweeters, they have to help to promote the “newspapers.” I realize that’s a tall order when there are so many Twitter newspapers created each day, but there has to be some way they promote a variety of the papers each day and help drive traffic and money to the targeted links.
Should Bloggers Create Twitter Newspapers?
Here’s the thing about Paper.li: too many links on Twitter turn people off. We don’t mind sharing interesting blog posts, videos or news items, but we don’t want our timelines to be nothing but links, either. So they have to be worth our while. Ditto subscriptions. We don’t mind subscribing to cool stuff, but they have to be worth subscribing to. There’s nothing wrong with creating a Twitter newspaper using Paper.li at all. However, if Paper.li wants to bring more bloggers on board, they would do well to look into ways to make this a mutually beneficial endeavor. That means traffic, money and promotion.
How do you feel about the Twitter newspapers? Do you use them for fun or find that they drive traffic to your blog? Discuss…