The live stream that is the internet is an exciting, dynamic place, but I must say the construct of “an issue” still has appeal. There’s something to be said for content that isn’t changing. Having an artificial stopwatch on this stream—a snapshot—helps bring order. I can think about what happened, not what’s happening. It’s “today’s paper” and not “now’s” paper. (Notice www.nytimes.com has a “Today’s Paper” link at the top? A nice feature.)
With that in mind, a mobile development and social media company based here in Baltimore, Mindgrub, whose work I admire, turned me on to its daily “issue” of its Twitter and social media feeds, branded with their company name and location:http://paper.li/mindgrub. I’m sure many have heard of paper.li before, but I hadn’t paid much attention. I decided to subscribe, so every day, a link to the issue pops in my inbox, and while I don’t read it every day, I find it a great snapshot for when I do have a moment because I like this company’s filtered view – it has bits from Baltimore as well mobile and social media feeds. And I like that it stays still.
I spoke with their company president about his experience with it. He sees it as a marketing tool, but not surprisingly, he uses it for himself to make sense of the streams. The Daily is composed of posts from followers as well as those the company is following. It therefore gives him a really focused presentation of the Twitter feeds he wants; like me, he appreciates the stability of an “issue”. There’s also a Facebook service in development, which I’ve only started to experiment with.
One of the most valuable services I noticed is the archiving. To see the “issue” from a month ago is one of those details that comes in handy when you least know it. What was your school tweeting about in September? Has some merit. In the digital age, one big worry I have is the disappearance of the archives, and this is at least the start of an answer.
We created one – http://paper.li/silverpoint and it was interesting to see what came out. You can set publish settings for multiple times a day, daily or weekly. There appear to be a variety of language options and ways to tweak how the paper gets populated, which we might experiment with.
There’s room for improvement and there are alternative products, but I’ve found it a really nice twist on stopping the stream, for a moment at least.