Saturday, December 17, 2011

Twitter Dailies - The Jury's Out

When I started social networking back in January of this year, everything was a learning curve - blogging, twitter, fb - and everything about them. One day a tweet popped up from XY saying: The XY Daily is out. I was following XY (obviously) and I thought: Oooh what's that? Must go take a look. I was amazed by what I found - pages of articles, at least 50, in XY's personal newspaper. Now XY has a full-time job (a very demanding one at that) and several children housed in a sizeable house that needs running.... how did she get the time to trawl through all the articles every day in order to fill her daily newspaper? Baffled, I asked one of my blogging and PR gurus. "It's autogenerated," was the reply.

One Saturday I was online and XY's tweet announcing her daily appeared again. Did I mention that XY is an orthodox Jew and so there is no way she would be online on a Saturday? I knew that my guru had been right. So what was the point of having an online newspaper that came out daily in your name with 50 random articles from around the net? Guru didn't know.

As with most things beyond my grasp, some mysteries gradually became clearer over the months. I am regularly included in papers such as the Thriving In Midlife Daily created by @drdebbiegrove and also in a number of IVF and fertility dailies as I've been writing about my IVF Journey. This told me that the articles included are not entirely random although they are still somewhat hit and miss. In the Thriving In Midlife Daily they are just as likely to choose a post about the Nestle Boycott as anything on topic. I could write a post saying I was totally depressed about my age and not coping at all but the search engine would only see another post from Midlife who fits the key words description.

However, on the whole I totally get why these dailies (set up by paper.li) of a particular topic are useful. If you are undergoing IVF you would be happy to have a daily roundup of relevant articles all on one page and you could subscribe to an IVF or fertility daily. Likewise, you may be very interested in the whole midlife phenomenon - as a subject experiencing it, a healthcare professional in the field, a business catering to, etc... Other dailies focus on financial topics, IT, environmental issues, vegetarianism, living gluten free, etc... I totally get it.

Every so often I am included in a Daily created by someone who follows me on twitter and, although I know they may not have even seen it, I usually do a quick reply saying 'thank you for including me'. They usually reply back saying 'you're welcome' - which all goes to make it more personal I suppose. Occasionally I go into the daily just to see which of my posts they have included but I don't usually bother. And the fact that I don't usually bother makes me wonder what the personal dailies are for. I found this article by Shel Israel which raised a few more questions but he couldn't really fathom it either. Some of the comments are interesting though.

Last night I received a tweet announcing a daily and giving me the usual heads up: top stories via @midlifesinglem (among others). I replied to the 'host' with my usual 'thank you' and for some reason, clicked on the link to find my post. I couldn't find it. I trawled every article included (which you can also see in a list) but I was definitely not there. After a few directions from other tweeps, I eventually found my name under another post whose link I had retweeted. And the link under my name was to the retweeted tweet not even to my blog at least. I was pissed off. Not at the creator of the paper but at the misinformation - a link to an RT is hardly a top story today.

After a few backwards and forwards among tweeps I understood that via doesn't necessarily mean it's my article, it may be that I merely recommended the article by retweeting it. Although, as Shel Israel points out, if I'd tweeted 'I totally diagree with this' it would still have been brought to the paper via me with no indication that I did not endorse it. It also looks like I wrote the article in the daily as  my name appears under it (of course on opening it you would see otherwise). Ok, nitpicking aside, I still didn't understand what it's for. There's no advertising for example.

One woman who has her own daily, explained it to me thus: It's a page of articles written by or recommended by the people I follow. It also increases my page hits. I can see that it would be useful for the host to have such a document in order to see what the people you're interested in are writing or are interested in themselves. Thus taking it further than a simple blog roll by including RTs from those without their own blogs, and also including RTs about newpaper and journal articles. And we all want more hits or we wouldn't bother to blog publicly.

But I still have a couple of questions. Why would loads of tweeps be interested in a round-up of the articles that are likely to interest me, according to my key words? Surely it would be like using my Stumbled Upon account instead of setting up your own profile or not using it at all? Do people read the personal dailies that are tweeted to them? Do you? I'm interested to know if I've missed the point on this one and would be very happy to be enlightened. I understand that it's a handy tool for personal use but further than that I am quite frankly intrigued.

16 comments:

  1. They were very fashionable a year or so back. But I think it's another thing now that is just lingering, a bit like twittascopes. I rarely if ever get hits from them, though I don't work to manipulate them particularly. Always amusing to see where I pop up though!

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  2. Interesting, thanks Jax. I am hoping to find out if anyone (apaert from the host) loves or has loved reading personal dailies and why - I can't think of any reasons myself.

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  3. I decided that I didn't want a daily, but as Jax says they became really fashionable last year and people seemed to like them for a while, but I found it all rather random and if I like a post, then I will tweet a link to a speicafic post. Blogging isn't about increasing my hits and I really think that is the only reason people have these dailies

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  4. Yes, the Dailies intrigued me too at first! They pick up your hashtags too...just popping an #ASD #Aspie #education or #writing almost always guarantees a pick up! Sometimes it's just someones else's article that you've RT'd that gets picked up. I usually RT the daily and link to the author;-)

    The maddening thing for me is that my iPads4Autism_ie Daily NEVER picks up my Jazzygal posts no matter what I do!!

    xx Jazzy

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  5. Jen - it does seem that there is no real point to the personal dailies other than increasing hits - I'm not convinced that the hits are increased though as so far no one has admitted to reading them.

    Jazzy - I actuall like being included in the ones on a particular topic as I fee l like I'm providing a service. I read that to be included depends on how recent your RT or post was to the publication time. I also like your idea of RTing the important ones - like autism or aspergers.

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  6. i have been mentioned in a few dailys and didn't have any idea what they were i did look to see where my posts were or which ones were used a few times but now i don't really bother.. i looked last week and couldn't find a post by me on the daily so i assume it would have been a rt ?

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  7. Thanks for commenting Sarah, I'm still waiting to hear from someone who reads them (the personal ones not the subject specific ones) to find out if anyone actually does.

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  8. Nope, sorry - they go right over my head too...But then so much does! :)

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  9. Jane and Gemma - Presicely my point. Thank you for confirming :)

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  10. I had one for a while a year or so ago, when they were 'all the rage'. I viewed it as a way to reach a wider audience of possible followers. However, I'm not nearly so bothered about traffic now. Plus, I felt really awkward every time someone thanked me, since I hadn't actually done anything!!!! I personally felt it was a bit misleading, and that didn't sit comfortably with me, so I cancelled it. xx

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  11. Jax, since I've been blogging I've noticed a general calming down over trafic stats - it's like a whole load of people just moved from the 1980s to the 1990s and are striving for a more balanced blogging life.
    And, btw, I was beginning to feel silly every time I thanked someone as i knew they hadn't actually done anything.
    Thanks for commenting.

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  12. Pleased to read this as recently I constantly seem to come up or my RT's at least appear in these dailies and as a fairly recent Twitter convert (last year or so) I was as baffled as you were.

    They feel rather spam like as opposed to being particularly targeted by genre and bar searching for my own mention I have rarely found other topics of interest on them. The odd time, I have though and I wonder if that's the attraction. Sometimes, nestled amongst the debris are hidden gems which no doubt lead to greater hits or interactions with 'editors' of said dailies you otherwise wouldn't have had.

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  13. Thanks HonestMum, someone suggested to me that people thought they'd be something big but in the end didn't really deliver anything special - except for the specialty subject dailies which do serve a purpose.

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  14. I occasionally look and sometimes I have discovered interesting articles through these papers. I even thought of setting one up myself, but chose summify instead as it is newer and so possibly more interesting :)

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  15. Blue Sky, you're the first to admit to reading them. Now I'll have to look into Summify.... Thanks for that information.

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