Being Bruce -: What's In It For You? - Why I Just Launched Five Digital Newspapers!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What's In It For You? - Why I Just Launched Five Digital Newspapers!

How are you at keeping up with news and stories in your main interest area? The Internet is great and Google and Wikipedia are wonderful research tools I use all the time. But sometimes I get lazy. How about you?

Sometimes I just want a quick, easy, inexpensive (free is best) way to keep up with topics I'm interested in, personally and professionally.

So during December I discovered, a free (for now?)  digital publication utility that "organizes links shared on Twitter and Facebook into an easy to read newspaper-style format"

Note: is currently in "alpha" release, which is pre "beta", which means it's a work in progress - so far I've found as long as I stick to just papers generated from Twitter, it works fine, the Facebook version I haven't gotten to work yet (as of 1/4/11).

So anyway, my friend and Mastermind partner D'Vorah Lansky focuses on book marketing so she has a newspaper called The Book Marketing Daily, which she started in November.

I live in the Wilmington, NC area and the merchants here put out a paper called The locally-owned-ilm-biz Daily which any local area could do. (I think it's a cool idea).

So after I noticed those two papers, I decided to start one of my own, and then took it just a bit further, I set up five. (Note: I realize I put out a lot of info, but nothing I put out locks anyone in, always easy to unsubscribe or just not sign up - I don't take it personally; but hey, I have a lot of interests and I love to share.)

So the five I'm currently publishing, each of which reflects one of my professional interests, are:

(Note, the links for each of the above take you to the latest 'issue'.)

What are they? A newspaper is automatically generated by the software that searches every article, video, image, audio file, whatever that's linked in posts in Twitter or Facebook (like I said above, so far I haven't gotten the Facebook part to work, and would particularly like to have the ability to combine links from both to create one newspaper for each topic - for me 5 is fine, 10 is too many - so even I have limits, lol.)

All you have to do is enter some search times that you want your paper based on, give your paper a title, and then get it started. You can also set it to automatically update Twitter when you publish and set the publication time for each day. Mostly you do nothing and it's put out daily. People can subscribe, they can get an RSS feed, and they can also embed the code for the newspaper in their own blogs or websites. There are a few Google ads from in each paper but I don't find them bothersome.

How Well Does It Work? Overall I'm pleased and impressed. Not every article really fits my specified area of interest, but most do maybe 80-90%. So that's great for my purposes, and a small (but growing) number of folks are subscribing to my papers as well - sometimes I'll Tweet about an article I think is particularly interesting or helpful, and sometimes put an update and a link on Facebook as well.

One thing that's cool is that (in the Twitter-based) people who's links I've included in the papers (and remember it happens automatically) notice their material is there and often thank me, which is a great way to meet nice people with shared interests and expertise.

Also, my latest Tweets and updates and an archive calendar for the paper are automatically included on every issue, so that's helpful, too.

So What Can You Do? If you're interested in one or more of the areas I'm covering (see above), just click the links and subscribe and choose to get daily updates. Or start your own digital newspaper.

I don't know if it will always be free (I have a suspicion there may be different levels including a basic, free version), but it is for now and for me it's a great way to quickly check each day for new and interesting material.

If you're already using I'd love to hear your opinions or experience.