You’ve probably heard about Johannes Gutenberg – and his rise to fame during the Renaissance period. It’s been a while since I learned this a couple of decades ago in school – and a quick refresher isn’t out of place.
Here’s what Wikipedia had to report on him:
Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (c. 1398 – February 3, 1468) was a German goldsmith and printer who introduced modern book printing.
His invention of mechanical movable type printing started the Printing Revolution and is widely regarded as the most important event of the modern period.
It played a key role in the development of the Renaissance, Reformation and the Scientific Revolution and laid the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses.
With the advent of the printing press, 3600 pages could be printed per press in day. Up until then, the number was a bleak 40 pages per day by hand printing – or a few pages by hand. Very impressive – and definitely the beginning of printing and publishing we know it today. Somewhere in the 18th century, newspapers and newsletters also started claiming their share in the print world – and they’re continued ever since.
What Gutenberg didn’t know when he invented the printing process – and the press – was how ubiquitous newspapers and newsletters would become in the human lives. We’ve seen waves of technology come and go – mature and stabilize. Each of these waves has left an indelible impression on our histories. From the first printed book, the Gutenberg Bible to the Kindle, the Nook and the iPad – we’ve seen it all.
Newspapers, magazines, newsletters and periodicals are barely surviving as stalwarts from the print media – and getting beaten up by the new generation, the social media. And yet, there are secrets that we can borrow in our social media worlds from the other side. These secrets are metaphors that we identify with so well – and have become an indispensable part of our lives.
Think newspapers. I don’t subscribe to a print newspaper any longer – relying solely on social media to get my staple of news. Yet, I stop by and glance over a print newspaper when someone drops a gratis copy by my doorstep.
Same applies to newsletters, magazines and periodicals. I read them, complements of my odd-lot frequent flier miles.
Point is, there’s something unique – and different – associated with the likes of newspapers that demands our attention. Could you use this in your social media? Sure you could.
Problogger Darren Rowse had a tweet a few days ago. He spoke about readership – and how newsletters can double (or more) the readership of your blog.
All the standard auto responder platforms (AWeber, GetResponse, Mail Chimp) come with inbuilt newsletter functions that allow you to accelerate the process of creating and publishing them. The challenge with newsletters though is that you need a list to make them effective – else you would be expending your efforts in vacuum.
Do I do newsletters (yet)? No – because my list is too small yet. There seems to be a consensus that about 100 is the magic number when you could (or should) start doing newsletters.
Thankfully, there are two alternatives that you can leverage in your social media even today. And these are the secrets that Gutenberg probably didn’t think of when he invented the printing press four centuries ago.
Paper.li organizes links shared on Twitter into an easy to read newspaper-style format. Newspapers can be created for any Twitter user, list or #tag.
A great way to stay on top of all that is shared by the people you follow – even if you are not connected 24/7 !
The SmallRivers team has done a great job in creating a product that works – and is seeing increasing adoption in problogger circles. This is one trend you should get on, to make a difference in your social media.
My friend, Robert Bravery wrote about Paper.li a while on his own blog – How to build influence and help friends with a newspaper, a recommended read to help you get started.
And while you’re exploring how to set up your own newspapers, here’s how the experts have been doing it:
Darren Rowse: The Darren Rowse Daily – http://paper.li/problogger
Darren Rowse: The Darren Rowse Tech Daily – http://paper.li/problogger/tech
Kevin Tea: The Web2 And More Daily – http://paper.li/kevincumbria
Sushant Risodkar: The Blogger’s Daily – http://paper.li/smartbloggerz/bloggers
Erica Mueller: The WordPress Daily – http://paper.li/ericamueller/wordpress
Robert Bravery: The Robert Bravery Daily – http://paper.li/robertbravery
Jimi Jones: The Jimi Jones Daily – http://paper.li/JimiJones
I’ve been creating (curating my own newspapers too – more about those to come later this week).
Isn’t it time you started cranking out your own daily newspapers? 🙂
In their own words:
Keepstream is a social media curation tool that gathers all your favorite content in one place. We pull in content from multiple sources, including Facebook likes and Twitter retweets, and let users build “collections” of social media content. Users control the presentation of their content, add their commentary, and embed these collections on a website or blog.
I’d say this is a different take on the whole social media newspaper concept – with a similar potential. The only flip side to curating a collection is – unlike a newspaper like Paper.li, this is a manual process.
I curated a Problogging collection – and here’s how it looks:
There are two more services to watch out for – Twitter Times and Curated By. Curated By hasn’t launched yet – and I haven’t toyed around with Twitter Times to report back on it as yet. But I’m pretty sure of of these will have a trick up their sleeves 🙂
What’s your take on these social media secrets that Johannes Gutenberg didn’t know? I’d love to hear!
(Image Credit: J. Willard Marriott Library, Digital Scholarship Lab – University of Utah – http://digitalscholarship.blog.utah.edu/category/visualization/)