Matt Gemmell

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The Matt Gemmell Daily

tech & writing 2 min read

… is not here. It doesn’t exist. You were probably expecting something from, which lets you create an online “newspaper” from Twitter, Facebook and RSS feeds.

The reason that I haven’t created such a thing is because I really, really hate them. Allow me to explain why.

It’s recycled content

Someone writes something, be it a tweet or a blog post or a… whatever it is that people write on Facebook. You then see that content, because you’ve subscribed to that person’s tweets or blog, or added them on Facebook.

The stuff has already been published and shared. You know it has, because you’ve seen it. Then, you decide to take it and redundantly re-share it in an aggregated form. Why not just share the original thing? Retweet, or Like or comment. There are dozens of ways to do that. I’m far more likely to be interested in a one-off shared thing, rather than a boatload of arbitrarily-collated stuff you’ve thrown together.’s tagline is “be a publisher”, but you’re not - you’re being a republisher.

For the same reason, I have no idea why people do “links roundups”. I get trackbacks to my blog posts that are just people posting a list of links, often bizarrely grouped purely on their approximate date of publication. What possible value does that add? If you want to keep that kind of archive, go right ahead - but don’t include it in your blog’s regular feed, or (for the love of $CHOSEN_SKY_FAIRY) tweet about it.

You’re contributing nothing

Newspapers contain editorial. There’s some kind of journalistic contribution, however brief, in each article. With these online “newspapers”, there’s zero. It’s just a wad of links and extracts, styled to appear something like a newspaper. No commentary by the “publisher”.

Just an idea, but… why don’t you write something yourself? Even just a brief remark on why you care about each item enough to share it? Give me a reason to be interested. As it is, I can read all that stuff in its original form; why should I bother going through your prettily-styled wall of links?

You’re (almost) implying endorsement

When someone updates their “newspaper”, it seems to blast out a tweet saying “The [Name of your paper] Daily is out! Top stories today via @mattgemmell etc”. That’s just a sliver away from implying that I’ve agreed to contribute to your “newspaper”.

Now, I’m not saying that you need my permission to share a link to my blog or to a tweet of mine (you definitely don’t), but the entire language of the message is designed to evoke the sense of contributors to a publication. We all know that’s the case; that’s why they worded it that way.

You’re tacitly agreeing to let people kind of think that I’m associated with your “newspaper”. I’m not. I think that’s a bit disingenuous. Maybe even a little sleazy. Don’t do that.

You’re spamming Twitter

Seriously, letting something auto-tweet to your followers? Didn’t we all agree that that’s an abuse, likely to get you unfollowed? Oh, but wait - since it mentions my Twitter username, I’ll see it even if I don’t follow you, in the Mentions tab, every day.

Thanks for that. Really, thanks; spam the very people you harvest most of your shared content from. I’m so much more likely to follow you now. Or indeed to not block you.

Please, just… stop. Just stop.

If you want to read some original content, you may instead wish to subscribe to this blog. If, on the other hand, you hated everything about this article, then you will also certainly not enjoy following me (@mattgemmell) on Twitter.