To my (slight) shame, I periodically purge the list of people I follow on Twitter. I simply don't have the time to read the minutiae of some of their lives, despite the fact they occasionally come up with worthwhile gems.
Now, I've discovered a way of getting the best of both worlds: I can keep up with the more interesting/useful Tweets from whoever I like while keeping down the number of people I follow in Twitter itself.
So, three cheers for paper.li – a free service that builds online daily newspapers: from a Twitter user and the people they follow; from a twitter list; or from a hashtag. It looks for Tweets that contain links and publishes an extract from the destination, crediting the Tweeter at the foot of the piece. You can click the headline to go to the original article/site
Paper.li earns its money from small display ads dropped into your newspaper.
'envirolist' is my Twitter list of people who specialise in environmental and ethical stuff.
You probably can't see the detail in the above picture, but it has a 'trending topics' cloud and a live Tweet stream from the people in the list over on the right.
As a quick way to catch up on what's going on, paper.li is a corker. It requires minimal effort to set up a paper and it will even announce each new edition to your Twitter followers if you want, complete with the inclusion of some contributors' names.
[Update Sept 7: I switched the notification off two days ago. While no-one had complained to me, paper.li updates were beginning to annoy some Twitter users. This could only get worse as the service became more popular. Today, the company has changed the notification to top story only and it has dropped name plugs. It helps, but if anyone wants to follow my papers, the links are in my Twitter bio. I'm not switching notification back on.]
With paper.li's simplicity comes a lack of flexibility but, once you start complicating things, you have to start learning stuff. This turns (some) people off.
As it stands, paper.li reminds me of my first encounter with Google – it was a shock to just see a text box and a search button. And look what that led to…