I love Paper.li, it’s one of the most innovative and useful services I have seen in a long time. I actually look forward to people I follow coming out with their “The xyz Daily is Out” tweets because they are great information discovery tools. In addition to Techmeme and Feedly various Paper.li editions have become a primary tool for me to find information relevant to my interests and to business markets I cover.
However, I wonder if Paper.li breaks a fundamental aspect of Twitter, which in the idea that you should follow large numbers of people. Paper.li works best when the person who is putting out their Daily has a well curated list of people they follow, in which case the the daily edition has a tight topic focus and high quality links.
My paper.li suffers from the fact that I have an interest in 4 distinct content memes: tech, finance, public policy, and odd news. As such, I post about all 4 topics and tend to follow people in each area, however I don’t follow a lot of people and furthermore I actually manage who I follow with an eye to quality. I haven’t decided whether or not my diversity of interests as represented in my Paper.li Edition is a good thing or not… but ultimately it’s not up to me to make that determination but rather the people who follow me.
The process also depends on link sharing so people who share a lot of links, like me, are more likely to show up in Editions and while I am not sure how the links are selected I would imagine there is an analysis of link clicks that drives part of the automatic editing process, which could lead to a law of increasing returns scenario for popular links.
I realize that much of this post is “thinking out loud” speculation however I can’t help but feel that Paper.li achieves something that most applications and services built on Twitter (and Facebook) fail to achieve, which is that it dramatically alters what you, as a user, see as the primary value in the network. Paper.li is transformative, don’t be surprised to if they get acquired by Twitter at some point… such an acquisition rises to the level of being totally obvious.