Newspapers may be going the way of the dinosaurs with the growing footprint of digital media. But there’s something to be said about old familiarity. Our reading habits might be changing, but the residues of the old still remain. Does this explain why there are so many only apps which have customized reading views based on the style of newspapers columns? That is most definite.
But one thing a newspaper is not, and that is real-time. That honor belongs to Twitter most of all. The Tweeted Times is a convenient marriage of both worlds, and in my opinion it also strives to give us the best of both worlds. We covered it briefly before and it is certainly not the only one we have cast our eyes upon. Flipboard is definitely the most popular one and there’s no arguing with that. But though it is great for devouring online content, it is platform-limited to iOS and Android. And that’s where personalized social magazines (or newspapers) are trying to carve the niche.
A Content Curator In The Guise Of A Personalized Newspaper
The Tweeted Times is at its most basic a content curator. But unlike other content curators, it is exclusively focused on Twitter. If you are a heavy Tweep or Twiterer, then you just might appreciate the de-cluttering swab the online application brings to your Twitter stream. But applications like The Tweeted Times aren’t magic wands in themselves. I like to think of them as supplemental tool. I use TweetDeck with Twitter and would keep it that way. A personalized real-time newspaper is a nice ally for more focused news with which I can catch up every day.
Personalized social magazines are new-fangled tools that attempt to tame information overload. But let’s not mistake them as complete Twitter clients and allow them to flood us with all the information that’s out there.
Really Personalize It
The Tweeted Times enables you to create a personalized digital newspaper for any topic of your interest. It is based exclusively on your Twitter stream, Twitter Lists, or Twitter search. The Tweeted Times is also available as a free app for the iPad.
The idea is to create thematic newspapers based on one focused topic. For instance, here’s a newspaper created on Android with a Twitter search for the term. Here’s another one created from Tim ‘O Reilly’s public feed. You can take any Twitter List or hot trending topic and create a newspaper out of that. Why not try out with some known tech influencers and thought leaders!
But it just doesn’t pile it up to give you information muddle to sink or swim through. Tweeted Times uses a backend algorithm to sift the most important news on the selected topic from the rest. The news is ranked by popularity, and the top story is always one of the more immediately noticeable ones on the topic. When you log-in with your Twitter account, Tweeted Times gathers your Twitter feeds and arranges them by popularity.
Creating your own thematic newspaper is a cinch and takes you half-a-minute. The easiest way to great content is to explore the featured newspapers on Tweeted Times and favorite them. You can browse them by topic, tags, and type.
To create your very own Twitter newspaper, head to the top where it says – Add a newspaper. The same option also reveals itself on the sidebar. You can curate your own with the help of Twitter Lists. You can go to sites like Listorious and get some pre-curated lists. Type in the list name and Tweeted Times gathers the content for you. You can create up to 10 list-based newspapers.
Alternatively, you can go searching for a specific topic on Twitter and use the search results to fill up the newspaper. The Tweeted Times retrieves the most tweeted links in the search result. Your created newspapers can be favorited and un-favorited.
You can customize your view by clicking any of the display options available to you on the right. I generally prefer the Grid view and then Shrink it so that the favorites list is visible only as a set of icons. What’s nice is the smooth page transitions in this view – you can go either way with a light touch on the mouse wheel or the arrow keys of your keyboard.
Using the Promote feature
Tweeted Times has a Promote feature which automatically tweets the top story from your newspaper every time the top story updates. Personally, I don’t like using this feature because it could in some situations be seen as ‘spamming’ by your followers. I like to be more hands-on with my updates. If a setting to customize the frequency of the promotion had been available, it would have been more reassuring.
That’s all there is to it really. It is an easy enough set up. But the trick in effectively using Tweeted Times as a curator is to selectively use it with two or three topics at the most. Going overboard with lists and keywords could just turn this into another data quicksand.
If you are looking for another option, take a look at Paper.li too which helps you create your own news service from your social networks. Maybe, you will like one over the other. Tell us which.