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Flipboard and Paper.li are two of the hottest properties in media today. Over the last six weeks they have taken social news curation to a new level. This will undoubtedly soon spawn hordes of competitors, while these leaders in the field continue to evolve their offerings. The result will be that we all have far better access to the news that we want from world of infinite information.

Flipboard was launched on July 21, at the time announcing that they had received $10.5 million in funding. For several weeks it was ranked one of the top few free iPad apps in the News category in US, UK, and Australia, attracting massive interest for what it calls a “social magazine”.

Paper.li has been around a bit longer, but has just taken off properly in the last few weeks, as the chart below illustrates.

paperli_alexa.jpg

While Flipboard also offers various topic filters, the most interesting aspect of the app is that it can select news items based on what is shared by your Facebook friends and who you follow on Twitter.

I showed video below at the iPad Strategy Workshop I ran last week at the Newspaper Publishers Association conference in Sydney to explain the idea of social filtering.

Paper.li, a Swiss startup which has now been funded by Kima Ventures (founded by Xavier Niel who will shortly co-own Le Monde), also selects news items based on social networks, however only uses Twitter feeds. It is currently more powerful than Flipboard in this regard, as you can use any person’s Twitter followers or any public Twitter list to create your news. See for example the Twitter Ross Dawson daily created by paper.li or create your own in a moment.

One of the ways that paper.li has gained traction over the last weeks is by identifying the main contributors to the curation of each edition, and tweeting their names along with the link to the personal newspage. This consistently exposes the more influential people on Twitter to paper.li.

This is hardly a new concept. I have been writing about “collaborative filtering” since 2002, and in 2006 in the context of blogging wrote that:

Blogs are collectively a mechanism for us to discover what we as a society (or subset of it) find interesting and useful. Even if there were no useful content in blogs (which of course is also nonsense), their collective function of collaborative filtering is an extraordinary bound forward for the world of media.

The far broader uptake of Twitter and Facebook than blogging, and the fact that sharing of links and articles is commonplace (millions of shared links each month), mean that using these as a source of social filtering of the news is far more powerful than what we had before.

I have also described how tools such as Tweetmeme and Topsy have used Twitter to identify prominent news stories, however these are of limited use because they use the aggregate of all users of Twitter, a median which is unlikely to be close to any individual’s interests. The obvious next step was to create socially filtered news based on an individual’s social network.

We have reached that point. This opens the door to an array of increasingly refined services to select news based, not on our own interests as such, but those of our social networks and people we admire.

As such, the (vastly overstated) perils of the “Daily Me” in which we get absorbed in our navels are transcended, and we are exposed to the diverse interests of a (hopefully) diverse and interesting group. This is where news is going.

There are many rich issues to deal with in there, including intellectual property and revenue supporting those who are creating the news, so I will no doubt be writing more on this topic.

For the most current insights and trends in the living networks, follow @rossdawson on Twitter!

  • http://klintfinley.com Klint Finley

    http://twittertim.es is another example. It finds all the links from your Twitter stream, plus links from from people who the people you follow follow, and arranges them based on how many people are linking to them. It’s like having your own personal Techmeme-like site.
    I prefer it to paper.li as it’s more readable, more frequently updated, and more extensive. I don’t know how paper.li chooses what posts to display but it often seems like it just picks them at random.

  • http://webtechman.com WebTechMan

    Ross,
    I’m glad you wrote this up about paper.li and flipboard! These technologies are in the dead center of my radar. I was working on writing an article about the Real Social Media, these apps/services provide. Your article is much better!!
    I was also tuned into a Twitter conversation with @Scobleizer & @guykawasaki around this topic.
    A few years ago I was working with a RSS-to-HTML library that would allow people to embed real social media content into their web sites. There are many RSS-to-HTML tools that support this type of content building. The important part is the “filter engine” / algorithm. Programmable Web has a few web services to handle this and mashups.
    I believe this is the future of Real Social Media and I hope we start to see more of these type of services moving forward.
    Here is the Enterprise 2.0 Daily: http://paper.li/webtechman/enterprise-2-0
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Anonymous

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    • Anonymous

      Previously tweed was practical because of its moisture resistance and reliability but soon was superseded because the production and expense could not keep

      up with the worlds growing demands and industry boom. gucci messenger bags

      So they converted to cheaper materials Lucky for us Coach knows that quality is better than quantity and tweed as well as their other Signature materials

      will always be a commodity. Have you ever noticed that tweed have outlived the years better than cheap materials. small coach purses

      This is what sets the Coach apart from the rest.

      Whatever your taste: small, large, medium, tweed, leather, fancy, vintage, classic, reliable, durable, dependable, Coach Soho has what you want. gucci shoulder bag

      They may cost a little more but truthfully you get what you pay for. So it is a relief to know that it will last; not just as in it will not fall apart, but

      last as in; Coach products will always be in. Whatever the rage happens to be, you can sleep easy knowing that the Soho line and hobo design will dominate

      the competition.

      The Soho reminds me of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Audrey Hepburn is the picture of vintage style.online gucci

      outlet
      Like Coach Soho, it is the Crème de la Crème of early styles that became illustrious not just by flair but by the beauty and spunk they bring to any woman.

      So a Soho won’t make you look like Audrey Hepburn but it will make you feel like one.gucci purses

      Guest post by Milla Mahno

  • Gary Griffiths

    Both paper.li and FlipBoard have taken a major step forward in taking existing content and presenting it is a format that is easier to read and use. But the problem of “TMI” remains; neither have technology that is capable of discovering only information of interest, and filtering out the clutter. Cool Iris is also visually appealing, but if paper.li and FlipBoard don’t move beyong simply re-packaging content, they will also run the risk of being relegated as merely eye-candy.

  • Sunny

    I agree with Klint, I have been using twittertime.es for a while now and love it.
    The display is cleaner then Papper.li and by the way, it is from twittertime.es that I found this article. I use it every workday.

  • http://pestcontrolseo.wordpress.com/ Thos003

    Paper.li is amazing! It has the ability to sort out what is most popular among your friends on twitter and then lay it out nicely for easy retweet and quick summary. In fact, if it were not Adam Singer and for my page I wouldn’t have ended up at this blog post today. The power of sharing and publishing for others just got better.
    I have not tried flipboard yet but I am heading over there right now…

  • http://digitaldads.wordpress.com Scott Colfer

    Hi Ross – just to say that this blog was useful when kicking off the buzz monitoring strategy for my young dads project – so cheers!
    ( . . . and here’s how I’ve used it in case you’re interested: http://digitaldads.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/young-dads-buzz/ )

  • http://pietro.open-lab.com Pietro Polsinelli

    Real-time curation services are mainly of interest for journalists, for people for whom real time is the focus. But web contents curation is of interest also for those who want to preserve, edit, comment web contents beyond just social media – in a way, the flow of information in many jobs is so rich that we are all becoming curators in some sense. I wrote about it in this blog post:
    Curation beyond social media
    http://pietro.open-lab.com/2010/09/28/curation-beyond-social-media/

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Ross Dawson is globally recognized as a leading futurist, entrepreneur, keynote speaker, strategy advisor, and bestselling author. He is Founding Chairman of AHT Group, which consists of 3 companies: consulting, publishing, and ventures firm Advanced Human Technologies, future and strategy firm Future Exploration Network, and events company The Insight Exchange.

Ross is author most recently of Getting Results From Crowds, the prescient Living Networks, which anticipated the social network revolution, the Amazon.com bestseller Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships, and Implementing Enterprise 2.0. (click on the links for free chapter downloads). He is based in Sydney and San Francisco with his wife jewellery designer Victoria Buckley and two beautiful young daughters.

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