I can say that I haven’t always FULLY understood the power of Twitter, but occassionally, I’ve glimpsed it. In that way that you struggle to remember a really good dream upon waking. You get shards of it and your brain attempts to piece it together.
Well, another shard just fell into place for me with paper.li. This is an online service that takes a Twitter feed and turns it into an online newspaper – with most often followed tweets organized into categories like politics, business, education, arts & entertainment. Similarly, you can build an online “newspaper” of your own twitter feed thereby seeing at a glance all that you’ve read, followed, linked to in various categories. It separates out tweets that include media (videos, photos, etc) that you can horizontally scroll through, coverflow-style, It also gives you a word cloud of the trending topics for that stream. You can act from your paper.li page as well – replying, following, unfollowing just as if you were in Twitter. For me, examining a Twitter stream this way makes it much easier and more efficient to spot trends or emerging information.
That’s a screen shot of my own Twitter stream, turned into a Paper.Li newspaper.
I bet you’re already there with me on this next efficiency – it’s the perfect way to follow a particular hashtag. For instance, I regularly sit in on a live Twitter event called Edchat on Thursday evenings. On the occasion where I miss it, or if I just want to examine it in order to digest and synthesize, I can build a “newspaper” based on the hashtag (#edchcat) and see the stream all together, neatly and logically arranged for me. And here’s what that looks like:
Examining your own Twitter stream this way should help make clear to you the strengths and weaknesses of the people you are following – a good assist to prune (or beef up) your list. This tool really puts a high beam on the power of Twitter as a filter for listening. In that hurly burly conversation going on out there on the interwebs, how lucky we are to have these (free!) tools to help up sort, align, listen, and digest.