Paper.li is an information aggregation site that let’s people create their own online newspapers from sources that they create or choose. Back in September I created my own online newspaper via the paper.li system and watched it for a few days, but then left it alone and forgot about it.
I revisited it today and really like the updates they’ve made to the system. I like the ability to embed the paper into your own site, which I’ve done with My Daily Web Thoughts on this blog. They have also created a Facebook tab app that allows you to create a tab on your fan page that also displays your “online newspaper”. I also like the bookmark feature that allows you to add items to your daily newspaper as you see them while browsing the Web. The main thing that I thought was missing before was an easy way to manually add content to each edition. The + Paper.li button fixes that issue.
From a publisher perspective, I think it’s a genius concept. I wish I had thought of a way to have people use my system to create unique versions of aggregated content and show my own affiliate ads on their creations. For large publishers currently using the system, it seems like they are using the system well as another outlet to present their own content. The bigger question for me, however, is the utility of the system for bloggers, news outlets and businesses. Smaller publishers won’t have as much content available, so most of the content will be from other sources. I don’t know how helpful it will be to send potential traffic to other sites instead of highlighting their own unique content.
For some people, every outlet from Facebook to Pinterest to StumbleUpon to Google+ is another avenue to try to generate traffic. Others think that you should focus on one property or outlet and rock that one. What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments.