Opportunities to visualize data can turn the theoretical into the actual. Even so, many tools and services that do so are useful mostly to professionals – academics, economists, business people. Paper.li, a young Swiss company that turns a user’s Twitter links into a newspaper-like Web page has been spectacularly successful at doing so for the lay person.
We’re not the only entity to think so, apparently. A scrum of investors lined up behind the company, including Kima Ventures, whose co-founder, Xavier Niel, recently bought what is, arguably, France’s best-known newspaper, Le Monde.
Like TwitterTim.es, Paper.li harvests a user’s Twitter account for links, then presents hints of what they link to in an interactive broadsheet format. New “editions” are generated every few days. It seems to be a remarkably able expression of the concerns and interests of a user, a kind of intellectual and social snapshot of what the user is doing and thinking. (Apparently this reporter is a reasonably steady reader of his own news site. But he also digs comedians, Berlin, business and is keeping an eye on the Gulf oil spill.)
The company says it was caught flatfooted by what it called an immediate and sudden uptake in users that it has spent time on stabilizing the back-end. It will now turn to “generic new functionalities” and to supporting new languages.