To get around this problem, a few companies have decided to offer magazine or newspaper style views of your favourite people or topics on Twitter. They simplify the most recent Tweets into interesting articles from links, pictures and popular Tweets.
Some allow you to follow hashtags, while others simply let you see Tweets from your Twitter friends. Some services offer a small taste of the article, while others expand to show the full article. In short, these Twitter tools offer a great way to get an overview of the most important things relevant to you.
Now, these services were never meant to replace traditional methods of following Twitter. If you have lots of Twitter friends you’ll probably still want to make Twitter lists, use your favourite Twitter client and maybe get ambient updates (using or Echofon) throughout the day. The newspaper-like services are probably only worth visiting once per day and are most helpful when you’ve been away from Twitter for a while. Personally, I make use of a large variety of Twitter tools depending on my needs at the time.
Paper.li is the new hot trend in Twitter magazines ever since Stephen Fry decided to give it a go. It’s designed to look like a newspaper: the white background highlights the general topics, headlines, a small snippet of an article and a thumbnail image.
It’s easy to set up a newspaper of your whole Twitter stream, an individual list or a hashtag. You’re limited to five newspapers, so if you think a hashtag has already been made into a paper, then simply search for it. No matter who created the paper originally, anyone can be alerted to new editions (via email) or can promote the paper via Twitter. Paper.li papers update once per day.
is a newspaper style overview of just the best Tweets from your friends. The hottest news rises to the top and the news follows in order of priority down the page. Large pictures for articles are given when available, making the format visually interesting.
All articles begin in a shortened form, but can be expanded without leaving Twitter Times, making the overall reading process smooth and fast. If you think the article is important enough to share, it can also be quickly re-tweeted from within Twitter Times. The newspaper is updated regularly throughout the day, making the news a little more timely than a daily paper.
Older news in Twitter Times features in smaller blocks in the side of the screen, so that you’re less likely to miss anything important.
Flipboard is actually a free iPad application, but it works in a similar way to the previous two web applications. Links from Tweets are expanded into articles and pictures are displayed in magazine style. The content is gathered from the user’s Twitter friends, so you know the information is relevant to you.
Flipboard recently aquired Ellerdale, a real-time semantic data analysis firm, in order to categorise Tweets, determine trending topics and ultimately offer Flipboard users the very best content from their friends.
Take a look at the video to see just how stylish and intuitive the format of this really is.
If you’re in need of some other Twitter tools to help streamline your Twitter experience, there’s many others available. See these three ways to avoid Twitter information overload for more great ideas.
If you know of any other great Twitter magazine readers, let us know in the comments.