After more than a month of using Facebook’s Paper app I noticed that I hadn’t opened the Facebook app since the first week. Paper bills itself as a news aggregation app, which it cleverly accomplishes without you realizing it. I have tried and abandoned news aggregation apps, one after the other, because of inherent bias towards partner news sources, bias view points that turn into echo chambers and the inherent flaw that what appears must always begin with someone’s idea of what news is.
Twitter is by far the greatest driver of news for me and supplants the need to reach out to a news aggregation app. I follow people who discuss the news and link to the articles. People ferret out interesting articles, praise or criticize pieces, or author them–but always they link to them. I can read and give my own take, and easily find links to opposing or critical rebuttals. I curate my twitter feed, so it is customizable in way that news aggregation can never be. I follow interesting people who feed me stories, give real time reactions to news and debate issues while things are timely. News aggregation sites are often late to the party, and posts a news article by its chosen source and spin after twitter has exhausted the material and moved on.
This is where Paper gets it right. My main feed is the regular Facebook timeline, but formatted to highlight the links and drive you to the story. Paper makes it easy to read the linked articles and follow links while staying within the Paper app. Paper also had sections of interests aggregated articles that you can customize and access, but that do not clutter or overwhelm your Facebook feed because it’s separate from it.
I find myself sharing more articles on Facebook, much as I would on a linkedin update or a twitter post. It’s easily to share an article pulled from an interest section into your Facebook feed. I get interesting stories linked because I have interesting friend on Facebook that I can choose to follow or hide or defriend.
Take a week-long Paper challenge. You will replace your traditional Facebook app and love Facebook more, guaranteed or your crappy UI back.