Don't Getcher Twitter Newspapers Here

Credit: sxc.hu user branox

It’s hard to ignore when a Twitter user tweets about the latest edition of “[Your expert topic] Daily” and mentions you in the tweet because one of your tweets appears in the latest edition. While every Twitter user loves a mention, these feel phony. A Twitter paper — often automatically generated using a service like paper.li — can easily include 30 tweets. (I randomly selected a newspaper and counted stopping when I hit 30.)
It doesn’t take long before I figure out the deal after my first Twitter newspaper mention. The newspaper generating service posts a tweet that says, “The latest newspaper is out! Top stories today by @you, @him and @her.” This automated sentence is misleading. The folks mentioned didn’t write the stories. They wrote the tweets that appear in the newspaper.
It’s one thing for people generate their own newspapers so they have a place to start reading the news. It’s another to drag us in so they can get “goodwill” points for mentioning us in a tweet just because our tweets appear in the edition. (You can stop mentions from paper.li.)
Most successful Twitter users share one or two resources in a tweet. Sharing a newspaper leads us to 20+ resources. Too much. It’s easy to see why some like these newspapers especially when the user creates one that focuses on a specific topic allowing users to create their own alltop.
Here’s a Twitter discussion of the good and bad of Twitter newspapers sparked by Freelance Folder’s post on the pros and cons of Twitter newspapers. (Edited for spacing.)

shakirah_dawud: Actually I’ve found I don’t get much benefit from them–they’re mostly retweeted by people mentioned so…
TXWriter: At this point, it may be too early to tell if it is a fad or a trend. The drawbacks are real.
shakirah_dawud: Yeah–and then as soon as you said that it hit me that the app may develop more. Right now it’s alpha stage.
TXWriter: That’s my take too. It may develop more. I can see why it might be considered noise, though.
shakirah_dawud: I only include folks who tweet good info in it, like @TXWriter. I already follow & respect them.
TXWriter: @shakirah_dawud I’ve read yours, btw, and actually clicked through on posts I probly wouldn’t have read.
shakirah_dawud: Yes, but–and I’ve been asking myself this–would you have if you’d not been mentioned :)? Once, maybe.
merylkevans: Even alpha, feels like RSS roundup. But I won’t say never as it may surprise us.
TXWriter: True. I didn’t *get* Twitter at first, and now I use it every day.
shakirah_dawud: They do have a sidebar plugin, but it’s too ad-like. I didn’t think people would click, so took it down.
shakirah_dawud: But I’ve been thinking about adding the link to my navbar. It’s organized; with right content, impressive.
TXWriter: Yeah, I know. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do. Experimenting might be the only way to find out.
9swords: I really like RSS roundups, I use paper.li, twitter search, feedly etc.. to find what I want to read.
merylkevans: All for roundups, just not when you tweet @mentions those whose tweets appear in paper.

While people found resources in paper they would not have found without a mention, I stopped clicking through tweets that say I appear in the latest edition. If I see a link to the paper on a site covering a topic of interest, then I’ll read it — not because someone tweeted my ID.
This is still a young tool and future releases will probably give you more control as Mathew Ingram explains the service. Simply put, Twitter newspapers look like a prettied up RSS roundup of topics using resources selected by its creator. RSS lets you import content into your favorite reading resource like Google Reader. Sharing a roundup is fine by simply tweeting the title, topic and link. Avoid “badwill” and keep your Twitter rep intact by skipping the @mentions of whose tweets appear in it.
What do you think of Twitter newspapers and tweeted mentions of folks who provided the resources?

4 thoughts on “Don't Getcher Twitter Newspapers Here”

  1. Hi Meryl,
    I’ve developed a great “unfondness” for all automated things on Twitter. I think they are not in the spirit of social networking and in fact sometimes they are just wrong – like the auto tweets that were interspaced within the legit tweets on the morning of the Gifford shooting.
    George

    Reply
  2. I’ve seen those too and wondered who they benefit. They don’t benefit the person whose tweets you curated. I already saw my tweets because I tweeted them. They don’t benefit the curator in any other way than to say “Look what I retweeted today, in case you missed it.” They seem like a waste of time from what I can see.
    So I guess they’re for everyone who missed your tweets today, which I guess can be useful to someone who doesn’t know how to check your specific tweets through Twitter.
    Right now, I ignore them. Maybe someone can show me a benefit soon or they’ll develop into something I can use. Until then, no thanks.

    Reply
  3. George, this indeed is another example of automation not offering the value it could. I think it’s a tool for people who subscribe, not to spread it.
    Princess, exactly. Like I said — a niche topic and sharing the newspaper on your own website, Facebook, etc. while letting people know topic is enough. Sometimes the Alltops don’t have the niche covered.

    Reply

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