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How To: Create a Twitter Newspaper with Paper.li

Many of you have likely heard of Paper.li – either through word of mouth or by being tagged in a Paper.li tweet. It is a web-based Twitter newspaper service that creates a daily broadsheet populated with stories from you, your Twitter followers, a hashtag, a list and more.

Here’s a quick guide to Paper.li so you can create your own daily Twitter newspaper.

First, navigate on over to the slick looking Paper.li website. If you want to change your language preference from English to one of the other five available languages, you can do so on the top left-hand side of the website beside the Paper.Li logo.

Feel free to browse their homepage, which features different newspapers that you can start following. However, if you want to get right in there and create your own, start by clicking the blue “Create a Paper” button in the top right.

From here, you’ll be asked to sign in with Twitter or Facebook. To create a Twitter newspaper, you’ve obviously got to choose Twitter. Then you enter the email address associated with your Twitter account (making sure to verify it when the confirmation email arrives in a few minutes).

Now that you’ve created an account, you can craft your first Twitter newspaper.

To start, you can choose from three different sources to fill your newspaper: either using your own tweets and those of the people you follow; using a hashtag; or using a Twitter list.

For our example Paper.li newspaper, we created the Mediabistro Newspaper. We used the Mediabistro Blogs Twitter list to populate our paper, which means that it will have stories from our Mediabistro blogs.

Paper.li works by grabbing the links shared by the Twitter accounts associated with the paper, and sorting them into sections like “Arts & Entertainment”, “Business”, and “Politics”. It also includes sections based on hashtags that the paper’s contributors often use, and features several popular (most retweeted or visited) stories as the headlines.

If you take a look at the below screenshot, you’ll see that the Mediabistro Paper.li we created really does look like a virtual newspaper.

This virtual newspaper will be “printed” once every 24 hours. It will contain fresh stories pulled from the links shared by the accounts associated with the paper for each edition.

There are some advanced Paper.li features that you can use as well, if you’re looking to create a more specific kind of daily Twitter newspaper.

When choosing what type of paper you want to create, you may have noticed the “Custom paper” option to the right of the three main options. Click the Twitter button beneath this option, and you’ll be taken to a fully-customizable newspaper backend.

It’s here that Paper.li’s magic really begins to show.

You can choose to “focus” your paper on a certain topic, getting as specific as you like. You enter the topic as you would a search query on Twitter.com – and Paper.li recommends you test out your topic over at search.twitter.com/advanced before you create your newspaper to make sure it displays the results you’re looking for.

If you’re looking for a social media newspaper without any mention of marketing, for instance, you could enter “social media + Twitter + Facebook + Linkedin – marketing + #sm” to try to cover all your bases. You can use hashtags, keywords, usernames and any other operation that you can use in Twitter’s advanced search.

You can choose to include any Twitter user who mentions one of your specified keywords or topics, or narrow your focus down to only users on a Twitter list defined by you. And finally, you can title your paper and choose the language in which it will appear.

People use Paper.li to keep track of topics on Twitter, to monitor what thought leaders are sharing, and to more easily view a snap-shot of what’s happening in their niche. And now that Paper.li is starting to offer brands skinned, customizable papers for their products, now looks like a good time to get to know the service.

Mediabistro Course

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