I don’t know when I first opened my paper.li account.

Someone I respect and admire had one and I thought it would be a good brand builder.

If you don’t know what paper.li is…it’s a content curator (some call it spam) distributed through Twitter. You create your own online newspaper, specific to your expertise using Twitter updates of those you follow. It allows you to create niche content and according to one site, helps position you as a thought leader in your field and community. The paper is complete with images and bold headlines just like a real paper.

Here’s a screenshot of mine.

I do get Twitter messages from people who have had their posts featured in my paper. They thank me and I always respond you’re welcome even though I didn’t do anything. The content for my paper isn’t generated by me. The people at paper.li do that. You set your parameters once and they do the rest.

I get a reminder email everyday that my paper is ready to be viewed and a Twitter update goes out automatically. And I delete them immediately. I don’t even read my own paper. Well sometimes. The one time I did open my paper it wasn’t in English. It had curated all Russian posts. So now I check every once in awhile to make sure the topics are right and it’s in English. I do keep some of the Spanish posts though.

I don’t think my paper is doing what paper.li promised. There’s no data and the analytics are pretty poor. I wanted some hard numbers on the effectiveness of this social media tool but couldn’t find any.

I wanted a nice infographic to show me how many people were using the service. I wanted to know the average number of subscribers. As a user of this tool, I certainly wanted better analytics to measure my paper’s reach. I wanted to see click-throughs; I figured that would be a good indicator of people actually reading the thing but no such data exists. All my stats tell me is that my paper has been shared 621 times and I have two subscribers and I’m one of them.

Paper.li has created additional value and for a small monthly fee, you can brand your paper and use their email feature.

While I won’t be upgrading my service, I’m not sure if I want to cease publication even though I’ve been toying with the idea.

I haven’t capitalized on those thank you messages from those who were featured. I’m thinking I need to expand the dialogue past you’re welcome.

Would I recommend it to other small business owners? No. I haven’t seen the value and I know it’s been over a year.

Could I do more to promote like insert it into my blog? I could but I won’t. I really don’t think it will help with brand building.

Social media has many tools. Some make you wonder how you ever got along without them, others fall short on their promises.

How about you? Are you using paper.li and having great results? Let me know! If enough of you respond, I’ll create and distribute my own infographic!