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Social Media's Web 2.0 Merges Into Semantic Web With Paper.li

Did you ever think about becoming Editor-in-Chief of your own newspaper? Well, Paper.li can score you that gig. In an automated process, those you follow on Twitter and the links included in their tweets, can essentially become the subject matter of your own daily online newspaper that you can create in less than 5 minutes. As social media generates real-time news, it can now interface with Paper.li to not only publish this news onto a micro-site, it will also tweet it out to all of one's Twitter followers daily.

Social Media Scientist Daily by Ron CallariSocial Media Scientist Daily by Ron Callari

Curation of existing Web content is being explored by a number of semantic technology companies today, like Adaptive Semantics that's been generating content for the Huffington Post (see previous post, "HuffPo & The 'Wisdom of Machines' Crack Open Semantic Web Portal").

Edouard LambeletEdouard LambeletSmallRivers, a firm based in Lausanne, Switzerland and its DIY news platform paper.li is another that analyzes millions of links per day in four different languages (and counting). Today, I interviewed Edouard Lambelet, one of the firm's co-founders who feels that since their alpha-version launch in April, they have met a "sweet spot" with users that now number 300,000+ users internationally, with the greatest percentage coming from the US, UK and northern Europe.

Paper.li as one of the front-runners of this technology offers features that are utilizing the "understanding of content and its linkage to users' interests." Matching subject matter and like-minded people who are simpatico with that type of content is where semantic technology is headed. To enhance the platform according to Lambelet is "nearly an endless task" but clearly one that positions "paper.li at the merging point between the social web and semantic web," he says.

When asked if paper.li would start accessing Facebook status updates, Lambelet stated, "we will expand beyond Twitter, but it has to bring real value to users." Looking at several models of feeds, he added that "Facebook is under tests and evaluations, but many other streams are also of interest to us."

The one fly in the ointment when it comes to these automated newspapers flooding the Twitterstream is that a lot of the content could be duplicated in several newspapers by several Twitter users that surface the same content from the same followers. As Lambelet admits, "it is not rare to have the same content source mentioned in several papers." But from his perspective, he views the "value of the paper reflecting the curation effort of any given Twitter user or group," versus being "unique in terms of content items."

But as we all know, content is king on the Web and if articles and blog postings are not seeded with relevant keywords for Google, Yahoo and Bing, they may never drive high volumes of traffic. Regarding search engine optimization, or the lack thereof, Lambelet indicates that while some of the papers are well-placed in Google's search results (i.e #hashtag items particularly), the company hasn't "deployed that many resources on the SEO side. . . and less that 5 percent of paper.li's traffic is generated by search engines currently."

From my personal experience, while a retweet or a Facebook status update for any of my postings will generate some viewership traffic, it pales in comparison to what a well-placed article on Google's News page will garner. Lambelet admits to the deficiency and indicates that "this is something we will start to improve now, as we go forward."

He also noted that the paper.li platform employs six staff members including himself and his fellow co-founder Iskander Pols and based on their early success, they are presently hiring.

For other related posts on "Web 3.0," and "Semantic Technology," check out some of my previous posts: