Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Taming Twitter: Paper.li and Legal KM-ers

Twitter is a great way to see what people in my and related fields are talking about today.  But above a certain point (which may be as low as 50 or 75 followers), it is simply not possible, nor likely worthwhile, to try to view every tweet from every tweep.  And I'm following over 700 people!  I could simply stay clear and "dip my toe" in the twitter stream every once in a while, but then I get the feeling I'm missing out on my tweeps' collective wisdom.

Twitter has two "native" ways of coping with this situation, search and lists. 

Search allows you to look for mentions of a specific hashtag (I look at #km periodically, for instance) or a specific person.  It works very well, but of course you have to have a topic in mind before you begin. 

Twitter lists allow you to group sets of followers and then watch the stream only from that subgroup.  Among my lists is "legal-kmers", a group of tweeps I especially value because they are legal information professional like myself* and because they periodically post or link to valuable content.

Even at that level of specificity to my work, it's not easy to review the valuable posts that go by.  That's where paper.li comes in.  It allows you to point to a Twitter list and generate a newspaper-like view of all the links posted the previous day.  The URL is simply paper.li plus your Twitter account name plus the name of the list, hence:


If you don't want to leave this page, here's what it looks like on a specific day.

What makes it newspaper-like is that it includes the headline and a small amount of content from the article or other site to which my legal kmer has linked.  That's hugely valuable for helping me identify something that speaks to me.  Paper.li also sorts the articles "below the fold" into somewhat vague categories like Education, Technology, Crime, and Business. It also shows a scrolling version of today's legal-kmers posts.  If you log in with a paper.li or Twitter account, the posts are interactive (i.e., you can easily re-tweet).  Finally, Paper.li includes daily archives, in case you want to go back and look at a previous date's posts. 

All in all, paper.li is a great addition to my collection of tools to "tame the information firehose."   Who are your favorite tweeps?  Who consistently finds the good stuff?  Put them in a list and share them with me!

*not all are formally legal knowledge managers, however.