Startup PaperShare Creates Content-Based Social Network

PaperShare is about slicing, dicing and presenting information in order to attract people, rather than gathering people around people.

Social networks have been splintering in order to attract various audiences. While Facebook, Google+, Friendfeed, Twitter and the like are horizontal cloud-based applications for general-purpose use, others such as LinkedIn (professionals), Chatter (internal for enterprises), Yammer (ditto Chatter) and others like them have found loyal user groups and are looking at promising futures.

However, none of the above has a take on social networking like PaperShare, which launched both itself and its new service on Nov. 22. PaperShare is about slicing, dicing, and presenting information in order to attract people, rather than gathering people around people.
This approach puts the Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn model on its head.
"This is really based on 'leading with content,'" PaperShare co-founder David Greschler told eWEEK, "unlike Facebook or LinkedIn, which is really about people. They're about who you know or who you want to connect with.
"What we're about is leading with business and technical content and having other people who are also interested in that content be able to see who else is looking at it. In doing that, it creates a community of like-minded people."
Originally Designed for Sharing Whitepapers
PaperShare, a free cloud-based service that originally was aimed to create a community around sharing of IT and scientific white papers (thus the slightly archaic name), has morphed into something far broader: a new community building itself around IT topic areas.
Specifically, Greschler said, PaperShare is moving forward at the outset by focusing on the particularly hot IT sectors of cloud computing and virtualization, where there's already plenty of discussion going on in separate locations.
As one might imagine, the sky's the limit for topic areas, so this thing is just beginning to show what it can do.
Using built-in social-networking tools, such as the ability to see who else has read, shared or commented on a particular piece of content and direct links to Twitter and LinkedIn, PaperShare brings a deeper social context to each search, Greschler said, because all the content already has personally involved people-sources attached to it.
Writers, analysts, scientists, software developers, software architects, IT managers and network admins can post their writings or ask questions directly into a community of well-versed colleagues and can expect to get good answers and feedback quickly, Greschler said.
Users can sign up with their Facebook or Twitter accounts, and make PaperShare an originator in a continuum of posts. For example, a post made on PaperShare can automatically be reposted on Twitter and Facebook.
28,000 Items Already Shared
PaperShare has been in beta for several months. The Kirkland, Wash.-based startup has already signed up more than 20 charter customers who, along with cloud and virtualization professionals, have posted and shared more than 28,000 items. This includes content from industry leaders such as Amazon, Cisco, Citrix, Google, Microsoft and VMware.
Support for additional technology topics including security, data and storage, as well as vertical industries, such as finance and health care, will become available in the first half of 2012, Greschler said.
PaperShare, privately held by Greschler (co-founder of Softricity and formerly a Microsoft virtualization executive) and co-founder Douglas A. Brown, founder of DABCC, will make its money from corporate accounts, Greschler said.
Brown wrote a blog explaining the backstory about PaperShare and laying out its plans for 2012. Go here to read it.
PaperShare now offers a free basic version of its service for individuals and will soon roll out a premium version for $10 per month or $100 per year, Greschler said. Companies interested in subscriptions, which include the ability to upload unlimited content, create private and public groups and access trend analytics, can contact this email address for pricing details.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...