We all know newspaper’s are slowly dying. Circulation is dropping, display and classified ad revenue is drying up and paywalls are largely thought to be a waste of time, according to thought leaders on the topic at Harvard University.
Thankfully however, there is a plethora of alternative social news apps which aggregate the content being shared within our social circles to bring us fresher, more relevant, customised news from people who we deem to be important.
Personalised new and content curation continues to be a massive deal on the web, and within social media and mobile in the coming years is only likely to increase in size and stature. This post takes a look at six social newspaper applications for delivering you the content you need, when you need it.
Tweeted times has a number of useful features to bring you real time stories and tweets directly to your own custom page. Firstly, you can choose to automatically generate a newspaper by performing a Twitter search and bringing in the aggregated content for that search. For #hashtags this is particularly effective when you want to create summaries of information.
Secondly, you can choose to create a paper from a Twitter list, of either your own choosing, or someone else’s list. If you are grouping the people you follow into content categories, this is a an absolute godsend when using the app, but also makes for interesting reading when browsing the lists other influential people have curated.
Finally, but not least, Tweeted Times automagically brings together the content posted by friends, and friends of friends – with the bigger the count for both these numbers together algorithmically sorting the news from top to bottom. A stonking little web app, that is well put together and offers a way of keeping on top of your own personal river of news.
Bringing together both Facebook and Twitter – Paper.li attempts to cater for both the audiences of the Twitter Times, and that of PostPost. The service optionally updates your stream once every 24 hours when a new edition of your paper is published, which is obviously a big traffic driver for them, and helps to keep its users engaged with the service. Front and center to its interface, Paper.li offers a way to browse newspapers from others, and hand picks a selection of what it deems to be interesting for that day. If you prefer to just read what’s happening and see the biggest news stories of the day; no problem – you’ll feel comfortable with finding links and content of interest.
Algorithmic sorting within Paper.li appears to be done slightly differently than that of the Tweeted times, with retweets playing a bigger roll than the social connections who have mentioned a particular story. There’s also a good deal more Twitter integration with unfollowing, retweets etc. capability built right into the website.
PostPost takes the concept of friend content curation to Facebook, and in comparison with Paper.li’s beta offering, is the main focus of the service. It also differs in that where Paper.li concentrates solely on public data searches to create a newspaper across Facebook, PostPost relies on friendship connection to group together content.
Personally, I prefer to see what my friends are sharing over generalised searches due to the fact that my friendships are within very localised areas, and for me this hyperlocal content curation puts PostPost ahead of the game in comparison.
Feedly is a super interesting service which relies on a number of technologies for its implementation. Firstly, its a Google Chrome extension, and has with doubt helped to push forward adoption of that particular platform. It also relies on Google’s API’s to bring Google Reader content together in one aggregated place, and on Google reader connections, subscriptions and ‘likes’ received on a article from within reader to ascertain social ranking of the content. The application also includes an advanced suggestion engine when it come to recommending new websites you may want to subscribe to. Integration with Twitter is another bonus, and the process of connecting accounts is seamless. A fantastic little product with a massive amount of potential.
TweetMag is an iPad application which taps into your twitter stream to bring you “Magazines” of content from the people you follow. It can build mags based on any of the content within the Twitter network, including other users, hashtags or lists. Due to the fact that it is a native iPad application, the user interface has sleek and sexy appeal, with the usual swipes and hand gestures providing the responsiveness needed to give it a solid feel.
Articles found within the interface can be tweeted, emailed and even added to Instapaper, and TweetMag not only pulls in articles, but also full screen videos from sources like YouTube and Vimeo and you can view articles in a stripped back format within the app, or choose to read them in simple web browser. A magazine ‘rack’ is provided to let you build and curate content, and yet return to it for later reading.
Another iPad application to enter the mix, Flipboard offers similar functionality to that of TweetMag, although, they were the first in the marketplace to launch this kind of app – serious players with some very serious backing ($10.5 Million. They differ functionally as well, with Flipboard tracking your interests across Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader and Flickr.
One of the most impressive features of the app is apparent right from the get-go. The speed and elegance of the UI makes browsing news a streamlined and fun experience, with tiles offering a fun way to browse the news that matters to you. Best of all? It’s costs absolutely nothing to download and use. A stellar app that is sure to change the face of news consumption on mobile devices for years to come.
Overall, in combination with the content we share and the the people we follow, these apps are bringing a more personalised news service than ever before right to our desktops and mobile devices, all at the push of a button.
Throw that broadsheet in the bin, content just got interesting.