Saturday, January 29, 2011

Current Events at Paper.li

There is a lot coverage and discussion about what is happening in Egypt this week - radio, web, twitter-sphere, facebook , newsprint paper and T.V. I thought I would go to our Newstand at Paper.li and browse a few Dailys.

Currently we have over 40 Daily’s being published on the topic Egypt in various languages. They are all great examples of event based papers. I thought I would share a few different ones I found.

If you take a look at the Newstand and are not sure where to begin, here are a few links to papers to get you started;

The #egypt Daily - a #tag based paper, created 7 months ago

The Egypt Daily , a twitter based paper, created a month ago

The Egypt On Facebook Daily – a facebook based paper, created 2 days ago

Kelly

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sharing Best Practices

Over the weekend I came across an article written back in May 2009 on Publishing 2.0. The article was primarily focused on the future direction of wire and feature editors as web curators. It interesting that only 18 months after the article was written, even “non wire and feature editors” like most of our users, have become collaborative curators and have now published over 160,000 individual online papers with Paper.li.
Below are a few ways every day publishers like you, and I, are using their Paper.li. With each publication, we are gaining insight daily as to how people from around the world are using the Paper.li service for their publishing needs. Over the weeks we will share with you best practices, tip and tricks that might be helpful to you when creating new papers.

Depending on if you are publishing your Paper.li for your own personal interest, or to reach a wider audience, below are a couple of examples of what users are doing with their Paper.li.

Paperli for promoting awareness: create a paper based like #Climate

Hashtag (#tag) Paper.lis are great source for information and news and are created on the basis of multiple contributors referencing a #(topic) when posting their tweet. The #Climate Daily is a great example of a paper based on multiple contributors for promoting awareness. It provides a comprehensive overview of what is happening in the twittersphere around Climate. #tag papers are nice ones to keep in your Favorites for an easy reference on subjects that you enjoy.

Paper.li as a “series” of newspapers: create a series like the Progressive Congress

The Progressive Congress has a series of Daily papers based on knowledge areas to inform their constituents. The series is an interesting example of how to curate information for like minded communities, and how an organization, or a brand, can create papers solely dedicated to one area of expertise, or product.

Instead of creating a paper based on multiple contributors, the Progressive Congress has set up a twitter account for each area of knowledge and as well, selected to use the “ user list” option to create each their newspapers. The result is a “sole reporter” tone or “one voice” paper.

Paper.li as an area of interest: Be a subject matter expert, like the Daily Digital News.

Be it a professional or personal interest you probably have put a lot of time into researching the individuals, or organizations that you follow. Why not share with the world? The Daily Digital News is a good example of building a paper around an area of expertise – everything digital.

They have a good blend of copy, image and video appealing to a wide audience. Multiple, well thought out contributors makes for good reading. Thanks!

If you have a favorite Daily or would like to call to our attention an interesting one that you have read, drop us a line at info@smallrivers.com or post a comment on our blog. We enjoy our community’s input and feedback.

Kelly at Paper.li

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Add an editorial comment to your paper

We just released the possibility for paper editors (creators) to add an editorial comment - Editor's note - to any paper edition. Share your thought of the day, what is important to you today, what your readers should be aware of, ...

To add such a note, you need to be signed in, and have editing rights for the paper. Look for the green Add editor's note button:
You will then be provided with a form to enter a title and/or text comment:

Resulting in something like this:
Note the that some basic html markup or textile formatting is supported.

This is a very first step in providing more editorial control to paper editors - based on your feedback, we are looking into layout customization, branding, manual curation of individual content items and more generally being able to define precisely what should go into your paper and what not.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

SmallRivers Announces $2.1M Financing Round to Expand Paper.li Globally

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, January 11, 2011 – SmallRivers SA, creator of Paper.li, the leading social news publication application, today announced that it has raised $2.1 million in financing from Highland Capital Partners, SoftBank Capital and Endeavour Vision. In conjunction with the financing, Dan Nova of Highland Capital Partners and Ronald Fisher of SoftBank Capital will join the Company’s board of directors.
“Paper.li has generated extraordinary traction since its launch, and we are thrilled to welcome these world-class venture capital firms as investors,” said Edouard Lambelet, President and CEO of SmallRivers. “Our new partners will be instrumental in helping us to enhance our team, build strong partnerships with major service and content providers, establish operations in the US and Asia, and accelerate growth on all continents.”
Paper.li aggregates, curates, categorizes and transforms social media news and activity streams from Twitter and Facebook into personalized online newspapers. Each newspaper provides a simple and homogeneous news discovery experience, based on focused relevance from a broad pool of content. Launched last summer, Paper.li currently has 2 million uniques, operates in four languages (English, Spanish, German and French) and publishes 140,000 user-created daily newspapers.
“Harnessing the convergence of the semantic and social web, Paper.li is at the forefront of the emerging ‘social curation’ market,” stated Dan Nova, General Partner at Highland. “Paper.li represents the next wave of publishing by matching context and content from diverse streams of social media information and packaging it in an easier to consume manner.”
Added Ronald Fisher, Managing Partner at SoftBank Capital: “Paper.li is revolutionizing the consumption of information through an innovative publishing model that leverages machine learning capabilities and semantic search. We’re excited to be part of the team as the application is rolled out globally.”
In addition, SmallRivers is planning to move part of its team from Switzerland to California. More details will be announced later this year.
About SmallRivers
Located on the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) and co-founded in 2008 by Edouard Lambelet and Iskander Pols, SmallRivers raised investments from two seed funds, Venture Incubator (www.ventureincubator.ch) and Kima Ventures (www.kimaventures.com), along with business angels. The company looks to connect people around shared interests and enable everyone to be a publisher. Its flagship product, Paper.li, extracts, analyzes and organizes links shared on Twitter and Facebook into an easy to read newspaper-style format. Newspapers can be created for any Twitter user, list, hashtag, Facebook public posts or keyword search. For more information: www.paper.li.
About Highland Capital Partners
Highland Capital Partners was founded with the mission of helping great people build great companies. Since its inception in 1988, the firm has taken a sector-focused approach to investing in exceptional communications, consumer, digital media, healthcare and information technology companies. With over $3 billion of committed capital and offices in Boston, Silicon Valley, Geneva and Shanghai, Highland has invested in and worked to create such firms as Ask Jeeves, Avid Technology, CheckFree, Conor Medsystems, Coremetrics, lululemon athletica, Lycos, MapQuest, Navic Networks, New York Times Digital, P.A. Semi, Quattro Wireless, Quigo, Starent Networks, Sybase, Telica and VistaPrint. For more information, visit Highland's web site at www.hcp.com.
About SoftBank Capital
SoftBank Capital is an independent venture capital firm focused on early stage businesses addressing ubiquitous, social computing. The firm addresses opportunities that deliver socially-driven content, services and applications across platforms and devices. SoftBank Capital offers entrepreneurs valuable experience and resources, including its close association with SoftBank Corp. in Japan. The firm’s historical investments include Associated Content, Buddy Media, Danger, E*TRADE, GeoCities, GSI Commerce, Huffington Post, WebMD, and Yahoo!. SoftBank Capital has offices in Newton, MA, New York City and Buffalo, NY. For more information, visit www.softbank.com.
About Endeavour Vision
Endeavour Vision combines a team of experienced venture capital professionals responsible for investments in over 80 companies in 12 countries in technology and life sciences since 1989. The firm targets companies that have the potential to become global leaders. Beyond access to capital, Endeavour Vision brings years of experience, expertise and network to its entrepreneurs, plus a passion for success. For more information, visit www.endeavourvision.com.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Paper.li, or fixing the filter failure


Why we created Paper.li
Clay Shirky: "It's not information overload. It's filter failure".

On the web, the amount of content vying for our attention is exploding. Some kind of content curation is thus needed, now more than ever. Such function has typically been provided by the editors of our daily newspapers or magazines. The last couple of years, however, has seen a shift in how we find & consume news. According to a recent Pew Internet study, 75% of news consumed online is through shared news from social networking sites or e-mail. The social network of a reader is becoming their personalized news wire.

Twitter has become a choice platform on which to share content socially. In fact, the service has so successfully simplified this act, that users are still (or once again) faced with the issue of content volume. What's more, for most of us, reading tweets in a dizzying stream is a sub-optimal experience to say the least. The act of sharing news socially has been solved, its efficient filtering and consumption has not.

This is where Paper.li comes in - filtering.

More than just presenting the news shared with you in an easy to read manner, Paper.li acts as a powerful relevance filter. To do so, Paper.li does 2 things behind the scenes: semantic analysis of shared content and it's ranking.

Semantic analysis
In order to provide an efficient content discovery and reading experience to a user, Paper.li needs to know more about the content being shared with that user. Paper.li thus semantically analyzes all URLs shared with the user, and assigns a topic (e.g. Technology, Health, Art, Environment, ...) to each. This is how Paper.li can provide topic sections in each paper.

Paper.li currently analyzes over 10 million links a day, in four languages: English, German, French and Spanish.

Contextual relevancy ranking
While semantic analysis of content helps in structuring its presentation (i.e. topic sections), there also needs to be a way to determine the relative importance of content items. This enables the presentation of news not in terms of chronological order, but in terms of relevance to the user. This ranking of content is done using Paper.li's own set of ranking algorithms, which take into account a mix of variables relating to both the context and the content.

Uses of Paper.li
Since we launched, we see the service being used in all kinds of manners. The obvious one has always been to read your own Twitter stream, i.e. a more personal usage. But over time, there is a clear trend towards using Paper.li in a more publishing mode, creating papers of interest to a wider community of users. While some personal papers of celebrities have a large readership, e.g. The Joe Rogan Daily, here are some other uses we see a lot of:
  • work groups (based on Twitter lists or hash-tags)
  • trade shows (generally based on Twitter hash-tags)
  • news events (generally based on Twitter hash-tags)
  • brands (generally based on Twitter or Facebook search queries)
  • causes (generally based on Twitter hash-tags or search queries)
Launched last summer, Paper.li reached 2 million unique users in over 200 countries and publishes 150,000 online newspapers.

Where to from here
Here are some of the things we are working on:
  • geographical expansion, including additional languages support for Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese & Chinese
  • multi-device support, including smart-phones and tablets
  • paper customization features, e.g. removing/replacing ads, manual content curation
  • platform API - integrate other content sources, integrate Paper.li technology in other services & media sites, etc.
Paper.li basically wants to become smarter at what it already does as well as provide more publishing options to paper editors.

We are receiving hundreds of comments & feature requests on Twitter @smallrivers, this blog or by email info@smallrivers.com - keep it coming! We try our best to respond to all, and knowing more about your appreciation of the service and what you would like to see us doing in the future is key.