Should lawyers have their own Paper.li?

By | February 12, 2011

Publish and be damned!

Publish and be damned!

A week or so ago I noticed a little difficulty arise between Scott Greenfield and Rocket Matter concerning Paper.li. Whilst this started on Twitter it soon moved onto their respective blogs. Scott’s blog post Rocket Doesn’t Matter told us:-

“There is was, right on twitter this morning, much to my surprise.

The Rocket Matter, LLC Daily is out! http://bit.ly/hqNe3L ▸ Top stories today via @consumerfinance @lavocate @davisesq212 @scottgreenfield

It’s not the first time I’d seen a twit like this, but the first time I actually looked at it.  It occurred to me I had no idea who or what Rocket Matter is and what their daily had to do with me.  So I looked.

It turned out to be another of those internet Dailies, the fad for those who create nothing to have something to use to market themselves by glomming off the content of others.  Most of the stuff was typical social media garbage, apparently the sort of stuff they find interesting. But why me?  Why was my post in there?

There’s no commentary.  There’s no “value added.”  It’s as if the editor of the New York Times went through a bunch of stories in other newspapers and put them together to make a New York Times, but without asking anyone’s permission.”

Scott went on to wonder whether this was all some kind of marketing tool for Rocket Matter where they were perhaps using his and “other people’s content, without permission, to create the fodder by which they are marketing themselves”. Scott’s conclusion is that this is what is going on and for him what “is not okay is to use my content as the lunch meat for your marketing sandwich”.

Scott will have no difficulty with The Time Blawg’s sandwich (if this post could be described as that) given his view:-

“Fair use, meaning commentary, discussion, whether for or against, or merely to substantiate a point, is great with me.  Anyone and everyone, even marketers, are free to grab a quote, sentence or even a couple of paragraphs if it makes sense, as part of a discussion.”

Scott was usefully told by Antonin Pribetic that you could avoid appearing in a Paper.li Daily by sending a tweet to @NewsCrier (and not @TownCrier as suggested in the comments to Scott’s blog post). So Scott duly tweeted News Crier. I will come back to the effectiveness or otherwise of this later on.

However, by the time Scott had taken this action Rocket Matter had decided to pull their Daily. In Boy Did I Step into a Hornet’s Nest with Paper.li we learn:-

“So about six months ago or so I signed up for this service called “Paper.li” which creates an online newspaper out of the tweets of your followers. I found it interesting, because it’s kind of like Twitter on shuffle.

Turns out some authors were getting annoyed when they would get picked up by Paper.li…

One attorney in particular, Scott Greenfield, wrote a blistering post about our use of Paper.li and how he felt we were freeloading his content to further our marketing goals. It was compounded by a misread on my part about the nature of our Twitter correspondence (did I mention that I’m dense that way)? I thought we were good natured-ly joking, even when I told him he complains “like an old woman or a bus” and was totally taken aback when I saw his post, feeling we were using his content to market our product…

Needless to say, our goal was not to freeload content. Paper.li was one of those things you sign up for and then forget about. We produce a lot of content ourselves, so we are sensitive to Mr. Greefield’s concerns, and I killed the daily without thinking twice.”

Then the other day I saw a tweet from CharonQC:-

“These twitter daily newspaper proclaiming *The Too Farking Lazy To write My Own Blog Is out* dailies are very tedious 🙂 Write your own!”

I started to wonder whether Dailies did have any purpose to serve if they were annoying some of our most respected Twegals. Would it be wise for a lawyer or a law firm to publish one? I have of course seen plenty of Paper.lies but had not published one myself. There are some good law related ones: The Guardian Law Daily and Legal-Conections Daily spring to mind. My own content often appears in them but I had no knowledge as to how they were created or exactly how the content was selected.

As research in preparing this blog post I decided to publish The Time Blawg Daily on Paper.li. This would give me an understanding of how it works and I can always pull the Daily if I upset anyone. I discovered that you can set it not to automatically issue tweets about every edition like the tweet that brought The Rocket Matter Daily to Scott Greenfield’s attention. However, how will anyone ever know about your Daily if you don’t tweet about it? Perhaps no one else needs to know directly about it and it can remain ‘your very own Daily’. More on that later.

It took me only a few minutes, if that, to set The Time Blawg Daily up. Basically once a day (although you can publish twice a day or weekly instead) Paper.li automatically takes Tweets from who you are following and puts them into an online newspaper format. You have no real control (as far as I can see) as to what this content might be – other than of course the fact that it comes from people you follow. There is an advanced setting (which I have not explored properly yet) which allows you to create more focused papers:-

“You can query Twitter with a more complex search term than just a #tag (e.g. find all the tweets that talk about climate AND carbon but NOT solar = climate carbon -solar).

You can also restrict the Twitter users that can contribute content to the paper by specifying a Twitter list.

Note that this is a first step in providing you with more editorial control. More features are on the way…”

As far as I can see a Paper.li gives you in one place each day (or twice a day or weekly if you prefer) some of what may be the more interesting tweets and content from the people that you follow. From a personal point of view, without necessarily having to tweet it out to everyone else, this could be a useful and quick way of keeping abreast of what is going on without having to look through your whole Twitter stream for the day. You might well pick up on interesting content that you would otherwise have missed. The same goes for anyone who reads your Paper.li.

Is it, in effect, the ‘Daily Me’ (or a step towards that) as discussed by Nicholas Negroponte in his book Being Digital? This is explored by Richard Susskind in The End of Lawyers:-

“Negroponte discussed the idea of the Daily Me – a newspaper, delivered electronically every morning, made up of news, comments, and reportage but containing only topics of direct interest to each particular reader. Each reader, in other words, receives a personalized newspaper that only contains items of direct interest to him or her.”

Your own Paper.li may not be quite as focussed as envisaged by Negroponte. However, it is likely to contain a fair amount of topics of direct interest to you if you follow people on Twitter that have similar interests to you.

Are they a marketing ploy? I don’t really see them as this. They are more about the content (which the publisher has little control over anyway) than the publisher themselves. The adverts on them benefit Paper.li and not the publisher. The first edition of The Time Blawg Daily had adverts for Living Social, Groupon and Google Adwords which again I have no control over.

However, as a publisher, you may end up being associated with content that you would rather not be associated with. Likewise as an innocent Tweeter you may end up in a Paper.li that you would rather not appear in. You might be happy to be in most Paper.lies but not certain ones. Can you control that?

As we have seen you can create a blanket ban using @NewsCrier. Or can you? As we saw earlier Scott Greenfield tweeted @NewsCrier. However, low and behold, he is in the first edition of The Time Blawg Daily! It is not his own content but a tweet from Scott about ‘Rumsfeld To Get ‘Defender Of The Constitution’ Award At CPAC‘. Sorry, Scott I was not expecting that to happen.

So does @NewsCrier not work? How else could you prevent your tweets appearing in a Paper.li. I suppose you could block the publisher. That should work as the publisher would no longer be following you so your tweets would not be picked up by the Paper.li. That would also be one way of selecting a Paper.li you didn’t want to be in but still allowing publication in others. However, is it extreme to block someone just because they have decided to publish a Paper.li?

@ErikJHeels has been blocking people who retweet Paper.li tweets, as well as those who publish a Daily, as he considers it to be spam. To stop seeing such retweets (as opposed to the publications) he just needs to unfollow. Blocking is perhaps a bit severe for that purpose.

Even blocking a publisher to prevent you appearing in their Paper.li (or using @NewsCrier if it actually works) will not necessarily prevent your content appearing in a Paper.li. This is because if someone else tweets your content it will potentially appear in a Paper.li. Thus in the first edition of The Time Blawg Daily there is content from the BBC News website. @TheTimeBlawg is not following any BBC twitter accounts. However @TheTimeBlawg is following @PurplesmurfLLB and it is as a result of her tweeting the BBC content that it appears in The Time Blawg Daily. Thus, can you really ever avoid your own online content appearing in a Paper.li?

If you are a lawyer or a law firm chances are you will be following many other lawyers and law firms. Some of these may be direct competitors to you. As a result you might not want to publish content that leads people to their websites or blogs rather to your own. Paper.li is perhaps more about others than it is about you. Is it really marketing who you are following rather than you? However, that sharing/giving has potential benefits to you in the long run as indeed such activity has on Twitter. But on Twitter you perhaps have more control on what you do share/give than you have with a Paper.li.

What do you think?

What are your views on Paper.li? Do you mind your content appearing in them? Do you publish one and if so what are the pros and cons you have seen? Do you think Paper.li is spam? Does it warrant blocking or unfollowing? Is it a marketing tool and, if so, for who? Should lawyers have their own Paper.li?


92 Comments

Amanda Bancroft on 12/02/2011 at 12:29 pm.

Ah, Paper.Li. I’ve yet to find anyone with a good word to say about them. My own control is that I unfollow anyone who RTs a daily because it mentions them (I tend to unfollow anyone who RTs their own mentions anyway). However my biggest bugbear with them is attribution. I’ve often appeared in a Daily with something I’ve RTed then attributed to me. And that really bugs me – I have no desire to take credit for anything that isn’t mine. Like Scott, I’ve investigated how you can stop it, but have so far found no mechanism that works.
PS, apologies for typos, I bashed this out on my phone!

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Brian Inkster on 12/02/2011 at 3:44 pm.

Thanks Amanda

I am still making my mind up – but can’t see it is all bad.

I think once you get your head around ‘attribution’ and how it works on Paper.li then it should not be that big a problem. The person being attributed is the tweeter of the news and not the author of it (as you are clearly aware).

I will try to give an example that likens it to the Twitter retweet:-

If I were to read your article about Twitter for Lawyers at Legal 2.0 and then tweet the fact: @BrianInkster Twitter for Lawyers… what is it good for?: http://ow.ly/3VcIl

My tweet is not saying it is my article (some might think, on the face of it, that it is). As soon as you click through to the link you see who the author actually is.

If someone were to retweet my tweet – e.g. @SmallRivers RT @BrianInkster: Twitter for Lawyers… what is it good for?: http://ow.ly/3VcIl – then again, on the face of it, any followers of @SmallRivers (who own Paper.li) may think that the content is mine. Once more when they click the link they will discover that you are actually the author.

The exact same thing is happening at Paper.li. In the scenario given then your headline ‘Twitter for Lawyers… what is it good for?’ would appear in the Paper.li along with a snipet of text from the blog post and with it being ‘attributed’ to me. However, that attribution is merely as someone who has shared the content not as author. If everyone who reads a Paper.li understands this (although I accept that there will be many who don’t) then I don’t think there is any real problem. The person mentioned is simply the equivalent of someone who retweets another’s tweet.

Antonin Pribetic described Paper.li today on Twitter as “a hyper-retweet”. I think this is a good way to look on it.

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Alistair on 12/02/2011 at 12:40 pm.

That was a very interesting post Brian. I often get picked up on these paper.li streams and I’ve always been a little uneasy about it. I follow people because I find their tweets interesting and I like to engage with them so the idea of stopping to follow their tweets simply because of an automated tweet seems a little on the extreme side.

I have found my tweets and blog posts ending up alongside other tweets and blog posts that I would not necessarily want to be associated with. This has largely been about the content of the other links contained within that particular paper.li edition and the sometimes questionable nature of that content.

I can see a personal advantage in being included in an edition of someone’s paper.li in that it opens your own content to an audience beyond those who follow you. I regularly find when reviewing the stats for my blogs that people have found their way to a particular article from one of these paper.li editions.

I have personally considered the idea of having a paper.li, but decided against it based on the lack of editorial control.

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Brian Inkster on 12/02/2011 at 3:57 pm.

Thanks Alistair

Paper.li do say within their more advanced feature (which gives you a little bit more, but not that much control) that “this is a first step in providing you with more editorial control. More features are on the way…” I think that is needed. The ability to review the Paper.li before it is published and/or remove items from it would be one such feature that springs to mind. Although, do you really want the hassle of reviewing/editing your Paper.li? Having said that should everyone not have that ability before publishing anything in their own name?

Your decision may be a wise one for the moment… at least until Small Rivers add in that extra degree of editorial control to Paper.li.

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Charon QC on 12/02/2011 at 12:40 pm.

I don’t ‘really’ mind the Dailies….. I just like stirring when I am in that sort of ‘stirring’ mood.

I do, however, prefer to see good blogging – of all shades and styles – from a growing (this is good) number of law bloggers. Far more interesting.

Why The Grauniad…gawd bless their liberal cotton socks… should feel the need to have their own Twitter daily is beyond me.

To be honest… I never look at them now…… do I care? No… not much.

I would far rather mention a good blogger’s blog post in my own blog and be mentioned in another’s blog….

Must dash… have some more rubbish to write mocking the newly minted Egyptologists….and on all matters arab…. Où sont les experts et pundits sur l’Algérie?

I just happen to know the answer to this ‘issue of the day’…. They are racing to Wikipedia to find out where it is…. hyperventilating and tweeting away on their goddam iPads to give the impression from their armchairs that they are about to bring down another dictatorship single handedly…..and that ‘their tweets are REALLY important on the matter’…yawn….

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Brian Inkster on 12/02/2011 at 4:38 pm.

Thanks Charon

Indeed… you are quite right: A Paper.li can never be a substitute for a Blog and referencing blogs in blogs is much better and, of course, controlled. On this point thank you for mentioning this post in your Blawg today (with an appropriate and amusing illustration):-

http://charonqc.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/the-seriously-sht-daily-li-is-out-gawd-help-us/

If you look at the Paper.li as “a hyper retweet”, as Antonin Pribetic described it today, then it possibly serves some limited purpose. It does, of course, facilitate the spread of word about blog posts and I am sure you will agree that this can only be a good thing.

From recent tweets on the ‘issue of the day’ I am wondering if ‘The #Algeriatric Daily’ will play a part in bringing down another dictatorship 😉

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WardblawG on 12/02/2011 at 1:12 pm.

Great post Brian.

A daily paper.li is to be welcomed provided you get it right; it must suit your own business model and objectives.

I run about 6 paper.lis at the moment both for myself and for clients, including a mixture of keyphrase searches and listings. If your law firm is worried about mentioning competitors, it may be a good idea to run the paper.li based on a custom-made list that you’ve made.

One tip for the SEO enthusiasts out there – any backlinks to your website posted on a paper.li count towards SEO as the links posted are NOT nofollow ones 😉

Best wishes
G

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Brian Inkster on 12/02/2011 at 4:46 pm.

Thanks Gavin

Yes… I noticed the ability to “restrict the Twitter users that can contribute content to the paper by specifying a Twitter list” as part of the advanced functionality of Paper.li. This would be a good thing to use, as you say, to avoid mentioning competitors (if you were to consider this an issue). However, those on your list might mention your competitors content and thus they will end up in your Paper.li anyway. How do you get around that?

Interesting SEO point. Will need to check my Google Analytics 🙂

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Kartellblog. on 12/02/2011 at 4:31 pm.

From the Twitter ToS:

“By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).

You agree that this license includes the right for Twitter to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals who partner with Twitter for the syndication, broadcast, distribution or publication of such Content on other media and services, subject to our terms and conditions for such Content use.”

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Brian Inkster on 12/02/2011 at 10:50 pm.

Thanks Kartellblog

This presumably would make it difficult for anyone to challenge the ‘hyper retweet’ that is Paper.li.

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Amanda Bancroft on 12/02/2011 at 4:43 pm.

I take your point Brian, but I disagree with people who don’t make clear in tweets that what they are linking to isn’t theirs either. I think I’m probably just a twitter grouch lately-so many things about it drive me mad!

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Brian Inkster on 12/02/2011 at 11:07 pm.

Thanks again Amanda

I would tend to agree with you. The examples I gave earlier were not typical of tweets I would necessarily make. As you are no doubt aware a tweet by me would more likely look like this:-

@BrianInkster Twitter for Lawyers… what is it good for?: http://ow.ly/3VcIl (by @_millymoo)

More difficult of course for a Paper.li bot to translate that when producing one of its Dailies. I can’t imagine Small Rivers will attempt, in the near future, to create a system that can accurately identify the author of work tweeted by another.

Try not to let Twitter drive you mad. I am sure, at times, it does that to us all 🙂

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Charon QC on 12/02/2011 at 5:18 pm.

To stop stirring for a moment – anything bloggers / regular tweeters do to help spread the word about blogging is fine by me…well….short of, obviously, anything which may be criminal, infringe the human rights of others, is not tortious etc etc etc……. BUT…if it makes prime minister Dave Cameron…’sick to the pit of stomach’… I’m all for it.

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Brian Inkster on 12/02/2011 at 11:19 pm.

Thanks again Charon

There are bloggers who also publish a Daily. The Vidster by @Vidocq_cc springs to mind:-

http://paper.li/Vidocq_cc

On the whole the Vidster seems to promote other bloggers and legal news websites. Would be interesting to hear @Vidocq_cc’s views on the Paper.li debate.

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Jennifer Schaller on 12/02/2011 at 5:27 pm.

Don’t quite know what to make of this yet. We’re taking a wait and see approach.

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Brian Inkster on 12/02/2011 at 11:24 pm.

Thanks Jennifer

Possibly a wise decision… at least until Small Rivers add in an extra degree of editorial control to Paper.li.

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Michael Kessler on 12/02/2011 at 5:37 pm.

I have one of these “Dailies” and while specifics aren’t always easy to determine, I have seen an increase in traffic, both on Twitter (number of followers) and on our website. It could be a coincidence, or related to other marketing factors.

Still, publicity is publicity. These papers are really just extreme retweets. You can’t control who retweets your posts, your links or your blogs. And you can’t control what other material those same people retweet. No more than you can control anyone else on the web from linking to or otherwise reviewing your posts, your comments or your blogs.

Some of it is a nuisance. Some of it is ridiculously random. Some is offense, base and/or just plain stupid. At times, that’s a good description of much of the content on Twitter, period.

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Brian Inkster on 13/02/2011 at 11:03 am.

Thanks Michael

Interesting to see a US Criminal Defense Attorney using Paper.li.

I had a look at your Daily today:-

http://paper.li/KesslerLawFirm/legal-daily/2011/02/13

Pleased to see what the main headline was and attributed to the author at that. The Paper.li Bot sometimes hits the mark 😉

Your Paper.li has produced a good mix of content that any lawyer should be interested in.

Yes… an “extreme retweet”. This is the message that seems to be coming across and if people view it like that I cannot see any harm done. Indeed it could be argued that a few Paper.li tweets are perhaps preferable to a stream of individual retweets.

Your point about not being able in general to control who retweets and links to your posts is a good one also. Why should Paper.li be any different?

With regard to your last paragraph a bit more editorial control (which Small Rivers appear to be developing) could cure this problem in so far as Paper.li is concerned.

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Charon QC on 12/02/2011 at 5:38 pm.

Kartelblog…. Twitter can do what they like with my tweets…within their terms of service. This, however, does not give them the right to use my content on my blog. Nor, I suspect, would twitter (or WordPress) seek to do so.

They would be daft to do so. Twitter and WordPress (which I use for my blog), in my experience, seem to be very benign to the interests of those who generate original content. Maybe I am just being too optimistic?

I hope not.

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Erik J. Heels on 12/02/2011 at 8:53 pm.

You are correct. Blocking is severe. But this is how I chose to deal with spammers. Those who unsubscribe from Paper.li’s spam service are free to notify me (erikjheels@erikjheels.com) and I will un-block them.

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Brian Inkster on 13/02/2011 at 8:13 pm.

Thanks Erik

Am I correct in saying that it is not just those who publish Paper.li Dailies that you consider are spamming but also those who tweet or retweet Paper.li tweets? If so and you block those then do they have to undertake not to tweet or retweet any links to a Paper.li in order to be un-blocked by you?

@TheTimeBlawg will be automatically tweeting tweets about The Time Blawg Daily Experiment (a Paper.li) once a day. I will do this for a couple of weeks or so as part of an experiment to assess how Paper.li works and whether or not I consider it would be useful for lawyers or law firms to publish their own Paper.li Daily. I will then do a follow up post as to what I think and whether or not I will be continuing with Paper.li at The Time Blawg or indeed starting to publish a personal or law firm (Inksters) one. Perhaps you would be so kind as not to block @TheTimeBlawg (if you are following) during what is purely an experiment for research purposes. Feel free to block if the automatic tweets continue once the experiment is finished.

I was also wondering… Do you object to your own content appearing in a Paper.li or is it simply the tweeting about it that you have an issue with?

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Jon Busby on 12/02/2011 at 9:47 pm.

if you want to stop being included in paper.li dailies you could try

http://paper.li/stop-mentions.html

Jon

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Brian Inkster on 13/02/2011 at 8:40 pm.

Thanks Jon

This is the @NewsCrier service I referred to. Transpires that this does not in fact stop you being included in Paper.li Dailies it just stops you being mentioned in Tweets about the fact that you are so included. The small print reads:-

“Paper.li users like promoting their personalized papers on Twitter & tweet the contributors of the day’s top stories.
We understand that some users do not wish to be thus mentioned. They can here make sure they are not mentioned in tweets prepared daily by paper.li on behalf of our users (who specifically requested it!).”

Antonin Pribetic and Scott Greenfield had both assumed that if they tweeted @NewsCrier then they would never appear in a Paper.li Daily again. However, as disclosed in my post Scott Greenfield appeared in the first edition of The Time Blawg Daily Experiment and Antonin Pribetic has appeared at least three times in yesterday’s edition of The Time Blawg Daily Experiment and once in today’s edition of The Time Blawg Daily Experiment. They and others who have tweeted @NewsCrier will still be appearing daily in countless Paper.li Dailies (they will just no longer be alerted to this fact).

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Vidster on 13/02/2011 at 12:04 am.

Hi Brian,

I do indeed have “the Vidster” and my reason for doing this was predominantly to make it easy for myself to read all the articles in my twitter stream. Many of the people I follow have links to articles and blog posts I might never have seen if they had not alerted me to them.

The reason to keep the daily for now is that I like to see variety and often the variety is hard to find. Many law blogs (or blawgs) and blog reviews refer to the same lawyers over and over again. That just does not keep my interest. Also, the constant referring or linking to posts from the same law bloggers makes me wonder how encouraging it is for a newcomer to wet their feet in the blogosphere. Another issue tied to this is that too often the distinction is being made that lawyers are only real lawyers when they practice. Non-practicing lawyers seem to be linked to less frequently or they do not appear at all in blog reviews. I think we miss out on a lot by splitting up the blogosphere (or blawgosphere) this way.

My blogroll is a mix of well known/popular blogs and some blogs that not many people follow. I try to highlight them in my weekly “Sum it Up! posts. They all contribute to my knowledge and daily laughs and I like others to experience that as well. The blogs are from cops, foreign lawyers, non-practicing lawyers, and many more.

I understand that some people may not like it that their names and posts are being used without prior permission. Considering that paper.li takes only the title and a few sentences, it seems to me to classify as “fair use” since a simple click on the title leads you straight to the original post.

Either you can opt out on the paper.li site or, contact the person in whose name that paper was made. I also see the issues Alistair mentioned. Because of those issues, I may delete “the Vidster” later on but for now, I’d like to experiment with it.

Thanks for asking my opinion, Brian!

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Brian Inkster on 13/02/2011 at 9:33 pm.

Thanks Vidster

Sounds like you see the Paper.li Daily like the ‘Daily Me’ as envisaged by Nicholas Negroponte. Must say this is where I so far see the benefits of it. I am much more likely to look at my own Paper.li as tailored to my own needs than at ones created by others. Thus perhaps the need to auto tweet about our own Dailies is less important (especially if that is what actually upsets some) than just retaining the ‘Daily Me’ for our own use. Another Google Reader if you like. Perhaps Small Rivers need to introduce a ‘Private or Public’ option for Paper.li.

I agree that non-lawyers should not be ignored in favour of ‘real’ lawyers. The quality of the blog post should warrant the recognition and not the qualifications of the blogger.

Your “Sum it up!” posts are a great way to raise that awareness. Keep them up.

Agree with your “fair use” point. Readers of Dailies are going to glean little from them without clicking through to the primary material.

Opting out, if you want to, is not that easy though. See my comments on this in response to Jon Busby (above). My view is that there should be no real need to opt out unless in exceptional circumstances – in which case blocking the publisher would appear to be your only option.

I likewise am experimenting at the moment with The Time Blawg Daily Experiment. I will report back on The Time Blawg at the end of that experiment.

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Agalaw on 13/02/2011 at 3:32 am.

I can see a personal advantage in being included in an edition of someone’s paper.li in that it opens your own content to an audience beyond those who follow you. I regularly find when reviewing the stats for my blogs that people have found their way to a particular article from one of these paper.li editions.

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Brian Inkster on 14/02/2011 at 10:03 pm.

Thanks Agalaw

Starting to wonder (from the comments on this blog post) whether there are more advantages to being included in an edition of someone’s Paper.li than actually publishing one yourself!

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Kartellblog. on 13/02/2011 at 9:30 am.

We have a paper.li over at the ABA Antitrust Section http://bit.ly/ed2TbR as a showcase for what the Section and its Committees do on Twitter. Using social media is fairly new to the Section, but the Section now has 13 Twitter accounts http://bit.ly/hNkga6, so we thought a paper.li might be a good idea to show the added value Twitter has for people working in the area. The “ABASAL Daily Digest” is built over a Twitter list of the Section’s and the Section Committee’s Twitter accounts.

I have a paper.li for antitrust/competition law at http://bit.ly/gUfRSP. I started the “Antitrust Daily” using the customize option (first with all of Twitter, then a list of attorneys/journalists) plus a Twitter search query but it turned out that paper.li does not handle long search queries well. I now use a list of Twitter accounts who tweet only or also on antitrust and related topics. The noise vs signal ratio is not ideal but OK.

This is a long way of saying that not all paper.lis out there are by and for bloggers. I don’t think there is anything wrong with bloggers promoting their blogs. We are talking about the Web 2.0, right? But in my view, the real value of paper.li is where it disseminates information on particular topics or areas of interest. If you take out the social media garbage and the lifestyle tweeting, there is actually very limited content on Twitter for certain areas of the law. Antitrust/competition law is one of those. I guess one of the reasons is that people simply do not see Twitter as a relevant source for that kind of content. I am hoping paper.li may help to change that perspective. If some don’t like it, they don’t like it. Others do. One can’t be everything to everyone.

On the technical side of things, I don’t understand why a discussion on the merits of paper.li should turn into a WP policy discussion (“benign” – I’d like to see that conversation with the folks over at WP). One shouldn’t confuse the respective roles which Twitter, Smallrivers and CMS installations like WP have in all of this.

People pour their content into one big bowl. That bowl is called Twitter. There currently are 110 million tweets per day in the bowl. So Twitter lets people filter. That’s done by following, lists and/or searches. However, the fact that user A decides to see only what users B to K put on their timelines does not change the 110 million tweets-in-the-bowl fact. The bowl is there, and it’s open. It is visible to the Internet world outside of TW, and it’s searchable for Google.

Twitter does more, its API hands out ladles and spoons to others for them to make use of the bowl (although that is changing, read http://rww.to/hIY1hY). That’s what TW says in its ToS, and that’s what that venture capital campus outfit in Lausanne is doing. Smallrivers has one of those hundreds of spoons, or perhaps in this case a ladle, but Twitter is still the big bowl, and there is still no change to the fact that what people pour into that bowl is (almost) entirely their business.

How anyone could think that putting content on a website gives rise to a right or moral claim for them to have control over others linking or not linking to it is beyond me (always assuming of course that outgoing links are in compliance with the laws of the country, the anchor text is OK, etc.). When the toothpaste is out, it’s out.

I haven’t looked at this from a legal angle but I feel that the various discussions about paper.li and the like serve as a helpful reminder that Web 2.0 tools are better not used with a Web 1.0 mindset.

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Brian Inkster on 14/02/2011 at 10:29 pm.

Thanks Kartellblog

Interesting points and analogies.

I always associated bowls (well upturned pudding ones) with floating charges following a lecture by the late Professor W. A. Wilson at Edinburgh University when I studied law in the 1980’s. Now I will be thinking of the upright ones as Twitter bowls. I like the spoons, ladles and toothpaste references.

I can see the potential value in very tailored Paper.lies such as the the “Antitrust Daily”. However, I wonder if a better result would be achieved by creating an Antitrust Twitter stream and tweeting/retweeting from that Antitrust tweets? You could then engage with others about the issues raised in those tweets. More work perhaps but more added value as a result.

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Brian Inkster on 15/02/2011 at 5:03 pm.

Following my comment above to Kartellblog we had a discussion on Twitter. I thought I would put that in here as it adds to the discussion:-

@Kartellblog Interesting point, but no reason for “either or”

@TheTimeBlawg Indeed. You can have both. Niche Twitter account just might be the more powerful of the two.

@Kartellblog agreed. It is indeed.

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Pingback: Twitter und Anwalt: Times They Are A-Changin' | Kartellblog.

Brian Inkster on 13/02/2011 at 12:38 pm.

I have used the Babel Fish again (as I did with Kartellblog’s Blog Post on The Law Firm Twitteratigate) to translate the Blog Post from Kartellblog: Times They Are A-Changin’. The Babel Fish is far from perfect but makes a foreign language post reasonably understandable for someone that does not speak the language. Here we go:-

“British lawyer blog The Time Blawg had yesterday an interesting article too paper.li in the program.

They remember, paper.li are a new type character service, which agrees and as web page represents on the left of on Twitter. I use the service for the “Antitrust DAILY one” and with its incontestable disadvantages meanwhile arranged myself.

My please stands, if you do not find that good, then lets you mich’s please know.

The article in The Time Blawg is properly investigates; is worthwhile oneself to look past there. I found however the comments more interesting (e.g. that). Services such as Paper.li come and go, one like them or not. In the background however a fundamental, cultural topic smolders to the discussion. How does one deal as a lawyer with the Web 2.0?”

However, do see Kartellblog’s detailed comments, in English, on the issue of Paper.li as posted above. If only my German was as good as their English and I did not have to rely on the Babel Fish.

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legaleaglemhm on 13/02/2011 at 10:46 pm.

Hi Brian
Good discussion as always.

I thought about these Dailies and I chose Not to have one for the following reasons :

1. I have my own daily – its called ‘Engaging with people on twitter’ I do it regularily and I follow and engage with only those people I want to. ( its great being autonomus)
2. I have my own blog – which I update on a regular basis with content I write and approve and with Guest blogs from people I choose.
3. Not everyone – understands that these paper .li are randomly collected posts from twitter and many people think (wrongly) that they have some how been picked because their post was GREAT.
4. The content of these papers is dubious – who says the authors are who they say they are?
5. Yes they may generate SEO – but SEO is not everything.The biggest generator of SEO is video and twitter.Its all about quality not quantity.What is the point of directing thousands of viewers to your blog or site if the content is poor or the service you offer does not match up to expectations.
6. Is it a marketing tool – yes absolutely.
7. Do I need to use one – No I dont thinks so.
8. If I am included in a Daily am I flattered ? No not really but I would be pretty angry if I was mis quoted for something or if I didnt post something and it was attributed to me.
9. Will I sign up for one – No
10. Will I block someone for sending out a daily – No , there are lots of dailies and many people do use them as part of their marketing strategy ( all be it in my honest opinion a pointless exercise)

Legaleaglemhm’s Daily diary of life as a Diploma student is out every day – I write it , on the tube, in the Uni and in the kitchen and It is done using 140 characters.It may be short but like me its 100% me.
Michelle Hynes
Legaleaglemhm

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Brian Inkster on 15/02/2011 at 5:24 pm.

Thanks Michelle

Good points. I agree that blogging and engagement will be far more valuable to anyone than producing a Paper.li. I also think that the marketing benefits of producing a Paper.li are limited.

To touch on the SEO point, that was first raised by WardBlawG, this will benefit those whose links appear in the Paper.li much more than it will the actual publisher. In the grand scheme of things though it will be fairly irrelevant. Produce your own, home grown, good content (as you and the many blawgers we know are doing) and people will create manual links to it and SEO will take care of itself.

If and when Paper.li is not looked on as a potential marketing tool for its publisher but has the features to make it the ‘Daily Me’ that Nicholas Negroponte envisaged then (but perhaps only then) will it have some real merit.

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Elizabeth Miles on 13/02/2011 at 11:42 pm.

What concerns and embarrasses me is that good content has sometimes been attributed to me automatically when I have merely retweeted something that has impressed me authored by somebody else
I would walk to the ends of the earth to avoid taking credit for something I have not written.

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Brian Inkster on 15/02/2011 at 5:41 pm.

Thanks Elizabeth

This is a concern I have seen expressed by many on Twitter. However, I think once you accept that the ‘attribution’ is simply as bearer of the news rather than author of it then there is no real problem. I accept that on the face of it this may not be clear and perhaps Paper.li needs to work on making that clearer.

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Charon QC on 14/02/2011 at 1:42 am.

I have had another look at these dailies. Am I interested in them? Definitely not. Do I regard them as credible marketing for a serious professional? Definitely not – in fact, to be blunt, I would raise my eyebrows if any law firm used them because of the lack of control over the content.

I certainly won’t block anyone or unfollow – it takes less time, frankly, to let the time line zip by.

I have had a look at about 50 of these things now. More often than not I was familiar with the key content in the UK based ones because of my own reading on the web – and there is a great deal of repetition. Harmless enough.

I won’t be wasting my time looking at any more. I will use my time to enjoy the many and varied blog posts available in the UK, US, Canadian and overseas law blogging world – quite enough to keep me busy after my online ‘perusal’ of the tabloids each day to see what is happening in a Britain which I do not appear to live in :-).

I also get a surprising number of very useful links to interesting material tweeted by people I follow.

Do I find them mildly irritating? Not really – but there again, after a lifetime in teaching, I have little patience for plagiarism and laziness. Good grief…. I am beginning to sound like my brother Professor R.D. Charon…

Still… where would I be if people started behaving sensibly….? I would have to close my blog down… be nothing to write about 🙂

Come to think of it…where would any of the practising lawyers be if people behaved sensibly?

Interesting post Brian – and the comments also.

I’m orf…. and won’t be around much on twitter for a while.

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Brian Inkster on 15/02/2011 at 5:56 pm.

Thanks again Charon

I have not had any views expressed by the UK law firms that do publish Paper.lies. I may need to seek those out so that you can raise those eyebrows 🙂

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Erik J. Heels on 14/02/2011 at 2:55 am.

Hi Brian,

I don’t really care about the copyright (and lack-of-attribution) issue as much as others do. Even though I agree it’s an issue. My main issue is the spam in my Twitter timeline that Paper.li generates. I work hard to follow real accounts, not robots. And to have real content in my stream. Accounts that auto-Tweet and auto DM add noise to the conversation, not signal.

To answer your specific question, I block all those who originate Paper.li Tweets AND those who re-Tweet them. Lately, I’ve been letting the world know about my opinions. Reasonable people may differ, of course, but I’ve not yet hear a reasonable pro-Paper.li argument. I remain shocked that Paper.li was able to raise venture capital.

Then again, people like blood sausage (to paraphrase Bill Murry in Groundhog Day).

-Erik

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Mike Adams on 14/02/2011 at 4:13 pm.

I disagree with your opinion on paper.li. Twitter, by its design is an “at the moment” live stream of events. The 2% of tech geeks that sit on twitter all day long are the exception, and maybe you are one of these people. But for most people, its used from a mobile device to send out where I am and what I am doing. I use it when I come across something I like or want to to more research on or just to share.

I have followers who only look at my paper.li becasue its functions more like a newspaper than a live stream. If anything, I wish paper.li gave us more control over the content and how its organized.

I understand your position and see your point, which is why I publish weekly. I just wanted to share my thoughts and let you know that not all paper.li users are evil robots!

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Brian Inkster on 19/02/2011 at 12:02 am.

Thanks Erik & Mike

The $2.1M venture capital may enable Small Rivers to improve Paper.li to the extent that the spam element of it diminishes. Time will tell.

The more I think about it, and consider the comments of others, the more I see Paper.li as a personal paper rather than one you need to broadcast to others – so I am seeing it more like spam when tweets about them appear in my stream. However, it does not cause me that much distress at the moment to warrant blocking. I do, however, now think twice before retweeting Paper.li tweets.

The other night I had a discussion on this topic on Twitter with Vidster and Niki Black. I asked them if they would block a Paper.li tweeter. A Tweet from Vidster is worth repeating:-

@Vidocq_CC No, the overall “person behind the tweet” is still most important to me.

Niki Black and I agreed.

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Charon QC on 14/02/2011 at 3:10 am.

Kartell….. if a truly unpleasant individual put my content on his site – be sure… I’d do something about it.

The toothpaste might well be out of the tube… but I would certainly pursue anyone who misused my content to get indirect benefit…… Hitler, Stalin etc etc…… by way of example… fortunately, they are dead… but there are others about who are pretty unpleasant.

So..yes… I definitely have a moral right in an extreme case…and I’d be happy to see if that could be turned into a legal right if pushed!

Fortunately – the people I follow and who follow me on twitter are good people..so it is unlikely to cause me a problem!

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Peninsulawyer on 14/02/2011 at 9:14 am.

In my view the value of these “dailies” is basically zero… but on the other hand I only see them as a minor irritant (after all they are, by definition, a pretty minor blip in my Twitter stream as they only flash up once a day). I tend to just ignore them rather than blocking or unfollowing the perpetrators.

Shoudl lawyers have their own? Well, based on the above I would say no, no and no! As Michelle says above why not just focus on engaging with people instead.

Just going back to Scott’s original point about using other people’s content as the “meat” in the sandwich, I have noticed recently that the Quality Solicitors twitter feed (http://twitter.com/qual_solicitors) seems to be composed largely of links that they tweet to articles written by others (newspapers, blogs etc.) but phrased as a “headline” and a link to the article rather than a RT and without any attribution.

For example today’s offering “Thousands of illegal workers claiming benefits….” with a shortened link to a #DailyFail article on the subject.

What do people think about this kind of approach? Surely it must be good Twitter form to either do this as a RT (if it was originally tweeted) or attribute back to the original author in the Tweet?

Obviously this is an emerging area and there is scope for argument about what is “correct”, but I wouldn’t be particularly pleased if someone was tweeting links to my blog in this way.

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Brian Inkster on 20/02/2011 at 7:41 pm.

Thanks Jon (Peninsulawyer)

Quality Solicitors have come under criticism before for their social media usage. Neil Denny at his Lawyer 1.9 Blog highlighted an incident back in June 2010:-

When Law Firm Social Media Goes Bad

That was, of course, a little more extreme than their non-attributation ‘re-tweets’. I would agree that this type of tweeting is not good Twetiquette. If you see the article as a result of tweet from another then a retweet or a tweet with a ‘via @TwitterName’ at the end is I think good (perhaps expected?) form.

If you pick up on an article by browsing outwith Twitter (perhaps via a Google search or the like) then I still think it is good form to mention who it was by, especially if they are on Twitter. A simple ‘(by @TwitterName)’ is all that is required at the end of your tweet.

Not much sign of engagement either at @Qual_Solicitors. They could and should also be using social media to promote their member firms and refer work to them. That, however, is probably a blog post in itself!

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Nick Holmes on 14/02/2011 at 12:39 pm.

I think it’s important to understand exactly what paper.li does. It looks at the tweets of those you follow, follows the links embedded in their posts and publishes in a fancy format excerpts from those linked pages. For each excerpt it links to the original publisher’s story, prefaces the excerpt with the original publisher’s name and displays below the story the tweeter who posted the link, linking to their Twitter timeline.

So it’s quite neat and I can’t see why anyone whose story is linked to would object any more than they would object to the millions of other services that do similar (Google comes to mind!). But what’s paper.li’s purpose? Is it any use to anyone? I suspect not very much and hence the irritation it seems to engender. At first sight it is seductive. Having noticed GdnLaw’s paper.li I immediately created a paper.li … kept it going for precisely 2 days.

If someone’s found a use for it, let us know. SEO? Give me a break!

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Brian Inkster on 20/02/2011 at 8:46 pm.

Thanks Nick

There does indeed appear little real purpose in a Paper.li except perhaps as your own daily reference of what those you follow have been Tweeting about. I think if people want to use it as that and not annoy others with automated tweets about their own Paper.li then no real harm will be done and some limited purpose will have been served.

Agree with your SEO comment. SEO in Paper.li will not benefit the publisher. Indeed it may harm them. If you Google “Time Blawg” then ‘The Time Blawg Daily Experiment’ (which I am running as an experiment to try to understand the benefits, if any, of Paper.li) hits top spot ahead of this Blawg. That in itself may be reason enough for me to kill The Time Blawg’s Paper.li!

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Tom Hiskey on 14/02/2011 at 12:44 pm.

Brian, as I’ve just mentioned on the Twittersphere, we’ve decided to ditch our paper.li daily. I’ve written a brief blog post about why: http://www.blog.thelawwizard.com/2011/02/why-we-ditched-paper-li/

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Brian Inkster on 20/02/2011 at 9:10 pm.

Thanks Tom

Good to read your reasons. I think The Time Blawg Daily Experiment will not be around for much longer for the same reasons.

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Nick Holmes on 14/02/2011 at 12:44 pm.

@CharonQC

Surely it must be good Twitter form to either do this as a RT (if it was originally tweeted) or attribute back to the original author in the Tweet?

Absolutely. Attribution is everything.

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Nick Holmes on 14/02/2011 at 12:56 pm.

Correction – quote is from @Peninsulawyer

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Charon QC on 14/02/2011 at 12:52 pm.

Hi Nick – we all try to assist each other in the blog world – which is good and you more than many with your advice and resources on Infolaw.

I was, of courser, faffing abart when I did my parody tweet and caption pic.

The good news…. more people blogging on law – many varying styles and approaches. I often find blogger views more interesting than the writing in mainstream news.

Another good thing – The Guardian, the Lawyer and legal Week are more than happy to promote blogs. It doesn’t cost them anything. We aren’t competing with them and the favour works both ways.

BTW – I can’t lay claim to the quoted extract… that was another poster. 🙂

Time for a catch up chat soon?

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Nick Holmes on 14/02/2011 at 12:55 pm.

Oops, sorry it was Jon Bloor

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Colmmu on 14/02/2011 at 5:35 pm.

As the creator of legal-connexions daily that you kindly mention, I thought I would chime in too. When I set it up the chief aim was to aid people in discovering other tweeters and legal bods, I see it akin to Flipboard on the iPad in aggregating a snapshot of Twitter. I have also contemplated many times deleting it due to the controversy of paper.li, yet there are subscribers and people who like it. Maybe the answer is to keep it going but for subscribers only to get notification.

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Brian Inkster on 20/02/2011 at 9:29 pm.

Thanks Jon (Colmmu)

It seems to me that much of the controversy relates to the automated tweeting of Paper.li. However, if you switch that off who will know about your Paper.li? In order to get a number of subscribers you are probably going to have to tweet about it for a while and annoy some in the process. I am beginning to consider that Paper.li is really only of value to the person who publishes it for their personal consumption. A potential subscriber would perhaps be as well creating their own Paper.li for their own personal consumption.

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Vidster on 14/02/2011 at 5:40 pm.

Brian,

I killed “the Vidster” and here is why: http://www.defrostingcoldcases.com/miscellaneous/i-killed-the-vidster

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Brian Inkster on 20/02/2011 at 9:47 pm.

Thanks Vidster

As with Tom (who killed The Law Wizard Daily) it is good to read your reasons. As I indicated to Tom I think The Time Blawg Daily Experiment will not be around for much longer for the same reasons. Or… maybe it is just the notifications that need to go. Still mulling that one over and will report back at The Time Blawg with a blog post on the outcome of The Time Blawg Daily Experiment.

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Antonin I. Pribetic on 14/02/2011 at 10:34 pm.

If paper.li dailies offer an option where I can create a daily of only my tweets and blawg posts, then I will create such a daily, post haste.

I will not, however, tweet about it or link it to my blawg or terrorize my followers by hyper-retweeting to gain attention or more followers.

I will simply use it as my own “Digital Legacy Archive” to rival that of the Library of Congress after Twitter sold us all out and gifted our “copyrighted content” without our implied or express consent.

Good riddance to paper.li dailies. We either create or we destroy. Rebroadcasting and republishing without any critical thought or analysis is like being a curator of a museum filled with rented furniture.

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Brian Inkster on 20/02/2011 at 9:55 pm.

Thanks Antonin

I hope Small Rivers spend some (perhaps all) of their $2.1M venture capital creating that functionality. It would make Paper.li a much more useful proposition.

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Boyd Butler on 15/02/2011 at 10:49 am.

If Paper.li did analytics then we’d be further down the line
on understanding what it does or not.

I see Paper.li as being useful to readers if….

You like the Tweeter.
You have similar interests.
The Paper.li is tightly focussed.
But also has some side issues that may spark other interests.
And you get included from time to time and gain followers yourself.

Perhaps one way to use it is to set up a Twitter account
e.g. boating news and then follow the people who are
important in that area and create a Paper.li so that
it is an industry boating news Paper.li

It’s then convenient for readers and targeted and
saves them having to do all the work themselves….pretty much like
a newspaper.

Another way to use it is to target your locality and become a
local Champion. This does have traffic benefits for your main website.

Think Groupon/News for your town.

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Brian Inkster on 20/02/2011 at 10:25 pm.

Thanks Boyd

Good ideas. However, the problem remains that those Tweeps that usually Tweet about boating will from time to time tweet about or retweet other things. Those could end up in your Paper.li making it less boating focussed.

Same argument goes for your locality. A tweep that you follow in your locality could well be tweeting about something they find of interest that is happening in Australia. That finds itself into ‘Your local UK town Daily’ and it begins to look less of a local daily and more of a random international daily.

If you had editorial control over a Paper.li that would perhaps be a different matter and make the more focussed daily a real possibility. Until then it is perhaps best directing energies elsewhere.

Not sure I understand the “traffic benefits for your main website”. A Paper.li that you publish yourself is unlikely to contain many (if any) links to your own website. Your own website is more likely to be linked to in a Paper.li published by someone else who happens to follow you on Twitter.

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Boyd Butler on 21/02/2011 at 1:21 pm.

Benefits to your main site come from people clicking on your profile to see who you are/what you are about.

Target only those who give out quality Tweets to get focussed content.

I agree this is not 100% focussed because it can’t be at the moment.

I agree that an email and paper newsletter is better use of time than a Paper.li for me.

But I’ll keep open minded on this.

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Brian Inkster on 23/02/2011 at 8:19 pm.

Thanks again Boyd

The main profile on a Paper.li links to your Twitter account rather than to your website. You can, however, add in an ‘Editors Note’ and with some HTML knowledge create a link from there to your own website.

Whilst you could create a list of your quality Tweeters and allow only those to be published in your Paper.li one rogue re-tweet from one of them and goodness knows what you might be publishing.

Good to keep an open mind on this – although mine is more closed on Paper.li than it was when I first wrote this blog post. With a bit of work Small Rivers could improve their offering. If they do then my mind may well start to open up on Paper.li again.

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Boyd Butler on 24/02/2011 at 10:21 am.

My mind is now more closed too.
I’ve stopped my Paper.li experiment for the moment.
Love the masterminding going on here.

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Brian Inkster on 02/03/2011 at 12:02 am.

Thanks Boyd

This post seems to be resulting in quite a few Paper.li experiments being stopped. Do let us know should you restart it and, if so, why.

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Mark Horrell on 24/02/2011 at 9:42 pm.

Thanks, Brian, for another thoughtful post about digital marketing, and for the interesting discussion which has followed.

As a digital comms professional who has only recently started working in the world of law I’m slightly surprised that so many of the comments have been concerned with how to exclude yourself from appearing in other people’s paper.lies. It reminds me of the old story about the hill walking blogger who found the key phrase ‘up skirt photos’ in his website referrals log because a walk description of his mentioned skirting round a hillside before climbing up. He could have fretted about his page appearing in Google’s search results alongside porn sites and excluded Google from indexing it altogether, or alternatively he could have chilled out, had a chuckle that some random people were turning up to his site and being very disappointed, and instead been happy with the fact that far more people were finding his site via Google for more legitimate search terms.

I remember being a webmaster in the very early days of the web, when people would email me to ask permission to link *to* our websites. These days the idea of emailing site owners to ask them to remove links is now an alien concept (or at least I thought so until I read this thread). The reality is you really have little control of who links to you, any more than you can control every possible search term you appear in Google’s search results for, any more than you can expect every Twitter user to ask permission before mentioning you in a tweet. Unless of course you don’t have a website at all and you stay off the internet.

Accept and revel in the democracy and chaos that is the web and take delight in the fact that people you’ve never met are prepared to mention you!

But then again, I’m not a lawyer. 😉

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Nick Holmes on 25/02/2011 at 9:33 am.

I’m sure people are not objecting to having links to their articles; they are objecting to the apparent attribution of their stories to others.

A typical paper.li daily announcement is:

The *xxx * Daily is out! http://bit.ly/12345 – Top stories today via @aaa @bbb @ccc @ddd

@aaa @bbb @ccc and @ddd did not write the stories, they linked to them in their tweets, but most people don’t get the subtle distinction between “via” and “by” and in the paper.li itself the tweeter’s name is much more prominent than the original site’s.

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Mark Horrell on 25/02/2011 at 1:56 pm.

But the xxx daily is out tweet makes no reference to either the original article or its owner, so I can’t see what possible objection they could have to this tweet. I assume what people are objecting to is the reference within the paper.li itself. And when you click on a link here, does it not take you through to the original article anyway, rather than somebody else tweeting about it?

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Brian Inkster on 02/03/2011 at 10:09 pm.

Thanks Mark and Nick

There does, in fact, appear to be a mix of objectors.

There are those who object to the attribution point but there are also those who would rather not be linked to in a Paper.li at all. This was Scott Greenfield’s main objection. As stated in my post:-

‘Scott went on to wonder whether this was all some kind of marketing tool for Rocket Matter where they were perhaps using his and “other people’s content, without permission, to create the fodder by which they are marketing themselves”. Scott’s conclusion is that this is what is going on and for him what “is not okay is to use my content as the lunch meat for your marketing sandwich”.’

However, I don’t think a Paper.li actually markets the publisher. If anything it markets the advertisers who pay Paper.li to advertise in the Dailies and indeed it markets the websites/blogs that are featured and linked to. I can’t really see any great problem in ending up being linked to in a Paper.li.

With regard to the attribution point something similar has recently started taking place over at Google. See Gavin Ward’s post on WardblawG about ‘Google Search Going Social’:-

http://wardblawg.com/2011/02/25/google-search-going-social/

Google highlighting who is sharing a link is just the same as what Paper.li is doing. However, perhaps Paper.li should add “shared this” as Google are doing. This might be sufficient to alleviate the concerns expressed my many Tweeps.

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Mark Horrell on 25/02/2011 at 6:38 pm.

As an aside to this, there was also some discussion as to whether links from paper.li content would provide benefits to SEO. In fact within the last 24 hours Google has made a major change to its algorithm targeting “content farms”. These are sites containing automated content which has been created by scraping content from other websites, ie. sites which contain little or no original content of their own.

Since paper.li content almost certainly falls under this definition it is likely paper.lies will have very little SEO benefit in future as Google tweaks its algorithm and other search engines follow suit. While these changes won’t penalise the sites containing the original content, as the changes are aimed at the content farms, no benefit will be had from links in paper.lies as paper.li style content will either be excluded from search engine indexes or be penalised to such an extent as to prevent them cluttering up results pages.

More information about the Google algorithm change can be found on the Search Engine Land website: http://selnd.com/eZgBWj

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Brian Inkster on 05/03/2011 at 12:16 pm.

Thanks Mark

Makes sense for Google to take this step and I am pleased they have done so. I had previously mentioned in a comment above (responding to Nick Holmes) that:-

“If you Google “Time Blawg” then ‘The Time Blawg Daily Experiment’ (which I am running as an experiment to try to understand the benefits, if any, of Paper.li) hits top spot ahead of this Blawg. That in itself may be reason enough for me to kill The Time Blawg’s Paper.li!”

However, today if you Google “Time Blawg” then ‘The Time Blawg Daily Experiment’ is nowhere to be seen and this Blawg rightfully takes the top spot. So well done Google and thanks Mark for drawing this to our attention. Now there is one less reason for killing The Time Blawg’s Paper.li 🙂

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Mark Horrell on 05/03/2011 at 2:34 pm.

Interesting. I’ve read that Google have had one or two teething problems with the new algorithm, with sites with original content suffering badly while many of the big content farms not suffering at all (eg. see http://bit.ly/dTm0Ae). Nice to see some evidence in your case where they seem to have got it right.

Historically Google have always been good at staying one step ahead of the spammers, and it’s one of the reasons they beat their opposition so effectively at the search game. More recently they lost their way a little as the content farmers got the upper hand and more and more spam started infiltrating search results. Hopefully they are back on track again, and as they tweak the new algorithm search results will improve once more.

Thanks for pointing your example out!

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Brian Inkster on 11/03/2011 at 7:53 am.

Mark

I am afraid that it looks as though Google have changed their algorithm back to where it was before. A Google search of “Time Blawg” is again putting ‘The Time Blawg Daily Experiment’ (i.e. a Paper.li) at the top spot ahead of this Blawg. I have also noticed other Paper.lies appearing in general Google searches I have carried out. Do you know if Google has changed its mind about “content farms” for some reason?

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Nick Holmes on 11/03/2011 at 9:07 am.

Brian

I think what you’re noticing is a result of your personal search history. This article explains how this affects results and how to switch off personalisation:
http://www.google.com/support/accounts/bin/answer.py?answer=54048

Mark Horrell on 11/03/2011 at 1:53 pm.

Another point to note is that Google has a number of data centres, not all of which display the same results. Google sometimes experiments with algorithm changes live so that they can monitor feedback from site owners on SEO forums. It’s possible you have been seeing this effect and your search got sent to a different data centre. Later you may see results returning to what they were.

I think we can be sure that Google will not be giving up on content farms. They’ve had a lot of criticism recently about lower quality search results, and it’s the content farms that have been the biggest problem.

Lance Godard on 28/02/2011 at 11:23 pm.

Brian: Interesting thread. I ended the 22 Tweets Daily because, as many of those commenting have pointed out, the stories are attributed to those who tweeted them, not those who authored them. Don’t get me wrong: I find it very interesting to see what the people I follow are reading. But I no longer think paper.li is the way to package those reading recommendations up and share them with the world.

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Brian Inkster on 02/03/2011 at 12:00 am.

Thanks Lance

I think Paper.li, if it has any use, is best for personal use and as you say not something that you need to or should share with the world.

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Brian Inkster on 01/03/2011 at 12:08 am.

I made a Paper.li discovery today that surprised me.

I saw this tweet:-

@YoublawG The law Daily is out! http://bit.ly/dRHuIl ▸ Top stories today via @erikmagraken @ScotsFamilyLaw @FloridaLegal @DKMahant @davidgiller

I clicked through to see what The law Daily top story via @ScotsFamilyLaw (an Inksters’ Twitter Account) was. What surprised me was that The law Daily was not, on the face of it, published by @YoublawG but by @AdvertisingLaw (John Lichtenberger).

How had what looked like an auto tweet about a Paper.li come from someone other than the publisher or was @YoublawG actually the publisher?

Several tweets later with Gavin Ward (the tweep behind @YoublawG and many other ‘blawG’ accounts) and all became clear.

Gavin had published the Paper.li using a list created by @AdvertisingLaw (their ‘law’ list): http://twitter.com/AdvertisingLaw/law

However, when you do this on Paper.li it states on the Daily that it is created by the owner of the list (i.e. John Lichtenberger) and not by the person who has decided to actually publish it (i.e. Gavin Ward). Odd? Yes very odd indeed… and another defect in the publishing functionality of Paper.li. The only ‘connection’ with @YoublawG is that the autopromotional tweets are issued from that account instead of from @AdvertisingLaw. John Lichtenberger probably had no idea that this Paper.li had been created in his own name. Goodness only knows how Scott Greenfield would react if a Paper.li was published by someone from a list created by him (I have checked – he does not currently have any published lists so the problem cannot arise at the moment).

The solution, if you didn’t like it (providing you actually discover it), would be to block the publisher (if you can actually work out who they are) so that they could no longer use your list to publish their Paper.li.

No need for @AdvertisingLaw to block @YoublawG though as Gavin Ward has tweeted:-

“Brian, please do mention that I have now stopped publication following a lengthy experiment…”

Another Paper.li bites the dust! Seems that The Time Blawg is assisting the demise of many a Twegal’s Paper.li.

It is starting to look like the answer to the question posed by this blog post, namely ‘Should lawyers have their own Paper.li?’, is a resounding ‘No’.

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Gavin Ward on 01/03/2011 at 12:27 am.

Thank you for the observations Brian.

As noted, the YoublawG daily was indeed a Paper.li set up as an experiment, although admittedly dating back to last year. The daily was based on a twitter list I enjoyed following on twitter. I thought it may be more advantageous for me to follow on paper.li . Sometimes this did prove useful for me, although I think it is fair to say that things change as soon as you hit the autopublish button.

One minor point as an aside which I would never do, but is a potential backdoor method, is for someone to copy someone else’s list, produced through hard effort, and then for them to make a paper.li based on that. But I don’t expect to see any of that happening anytime soon, particularly given the bad press attaching to sites like paper.li.

As for my Dailies that do remain intact, I believe that are all now based on general keywords such as #legal or #law or #scotland, which provides, as far as I am concerned, a useful aggregation for me to use. Autopublish is, for the moment, still switched on for those accounts mainly because I think other people can take some value from these also. Nevertheless, as you say Brian, the majority would say that these are perhaps best avoided.

Finally, I would just like to re-iterate the point that Mark Horrell makes above – Google is now actively weeding out content farms from its algorithm. Which means that any SEO advantages which may have been said to have been created through such a site are now heavily, if not entirely, defeated. I read in mashable that this has been for some time one of Google’s biggest challenges and it is good to see steps being taken to encourage and cultivate a community of unique content that is rightly attributable to its authors.

Best wishes
Gavin

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Brian Inkster on 01/03/2011 at 11:55 pm.

Thanks Gavin

One thing I have noticed with a Daily that relies on keywords is that the news in it can often be rather sparse. Perhaps a search column in Hootsuite or TweetDeck is all that is required rather than having to publish a Paper.li?

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Simon Heaney on 05/03/2011 at 9:01 am.

I don’t understand the snobbery on this issue. Nor do I understand the correlation between a ‘daily’ and a blog. They are different things and achieve different results. Just in the same way a blog cannot be compared to a book. A blog on family law is hardly Hershman & McFarlane is it? Why should/would it be?
As for a daily not adding any value – lighten up! I find them quite a useful bit of fun and actually if anything draw attention to bloggers and blogs – it promotes them. I know law students who have started reading blogs from posters on here due to seeing the blogs on a daily. Likewise our daily often thoughts up articles that the find useful that we would not have an expertise in blogging on – we are a family law firm, so articles etc from support groups, single parent organisations and such like have indeed given ‘extra value’.
I also kind of like the eclectic randomness of what it thrown up. Will it/does it have the possibility of causing problems? Of course! But let’s get things into perspective – blogs, twitter etc are all of use. The day people adopt too high a value as to what their element provides over others is the day the true value gets lost.
So, cheer up; live and let live!

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Brian Inkster on 05/03/2011 at 11:51 am.

Thanks Simon

A valid point. People can get over excited about these things. Despite all the debate a Paper.li is probably, on the whole, fairly harmless.

One thing I have noticed though, and just in the past few days, is that Paper.li appears to be getting more targeted with its advertisement placing. I mentioned in the blog post that:-

“The first edition of The Time Blawg Daily had adverts for Living Social, Groupon and Google Adwords which again I have no control over.”

Recent editions of The Time Blawg Daily, however, have contained adverts for Duncan Gibbons Solicitors, first4lawyers and a Find a Lawyer service. If I was publishing a Daily through my law firm I don’t think I would be too keen for it to contain such advertisements. This may not have happened to The Heaney Watson Daily yet. If it has or does would that change your view on publishing a Paper.li?

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Kelly on 08/08/2011 at 12:57 am.

Hi Brian,

Kelly at Paper.li here. Since the original date of your post, Paper.li has released new features and new functionality: have they helped you as a publisher? If so, what changes have helped most. If not, what’s still missing in your point of view.

We’d be thrilled to hear from you and your community. As well, we’re also curious as to if a verdict has been reached on if lawyers should have their own Paper.li, or not :=)

Best regards,
Kelly at Paper.li

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Brian Inkster on 29/10/2011 at 9:43 pm.

Thanks Kelly

Apologies for the delay in responding.

To be honest I have not had a chance to check out those new features yet.

I have been a bit busy of late with other post on Searching, Law Blogs, Klout and the Cloud.

I will, however, come back with my verdict on The Time Blawg Daily Experiment in a future blog post. For the moment the jury is still out 😉

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Cryton on 28/12/2011 at 11:17 pm.

Paper.li is a great tool to have the news you like in one place. You can use the filters in the content page to have the kind of news you are interested in i.e bribery news only. I use my paper.li to keep tabs on all legal news thanks to the legal writers, lawyers, chambers and legal firms I follow.

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James Vine (@JamesPSVine) on 29/12/2011 at 12:38 pm.

Cryton I agree, especially as I took up the paper.li idea from you!
The filter options are very useful for making sure you include only things that you want.
Hopefully there is no accreditation problem either if the individual entries are accompanied by references to their sources, which so far they seem to be.
More anon…

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Gavin Ward on 09/08/2012 at 9:28 am.

An update from the past few weeks which readers may have already spotted – paper.li announcing ability to go pro, offering much more extensive customisation http://blog.paper.li/2012/07/upgrade-customize-and-make-paperli.html

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