Socialmedian is a social news service that connects people with personalised news and information in a similar vein to sites like BlogRize or Mixx. The service works around 'News Networks' devoted to a specific topic such as social media or Twitter; anyone can create a new network on any topic which lets you easily find the news which matters to you - just join those you consider relevant.
Once a network has been created the service will attempt to match known sources against the network topics. Members can add relevant sources either from suggested sources already in the socialmedian database or by adding the RSS Feed of a site - I have added this blog to the 'social media watch' for example. Socialmedian will then exmaine the items from each source for relevance and present those stories that match the user defined topic list.
As with other social news or bookmarking sites socialmedian allows users to vote for stories they find of interest - in this context called 'clipping' - which in turn notifies those in your networks. Not only do you get the change to clip individual stories but the topic list in any network is also controlled by the end user. Voting up or down for each topic within a network changes their weighting so provides constant fine tuning to ensure the best mix of stories is available. There is also the ability to flag items as not relevant to further streamline the system should anything unrelated get through.
Submit from anywhere
We don't always live within our services site so socialmedian has a Clip it! boomarklet available which you can use to submit any story from anywhere on the web. One original feature here is that you can highlight a portion of text on the page which is then used as the excerpt when you clip the item - nice touch.
On logging in to the sevice you are presented with your MyPage which gives a running feed of what the people in your networks are finding interesting. You can also have regular emails delivered to keep you up to date with what is popular- this is generally sent twice a day unless you choose otherwise.
At present the service is in private alpha so there are a few rough edges but regular updates are being written and all user feedback is considered. A competition is also being held to design the user interface for the site so even that side of things is open to influence from the end user.
Isn't this the same as all the rest?
While socialmedian does share similarities with a number of other services out there, having spent some time to get to grips with the features available I would say that there is plenty of potential here to really focus on the news you want. The combination of suggested and reader supplied sources gives a nice blend but the real twist is the ability to control what items hit your network by effective use of the Topics weighting feature. The degree of user driven customisation is what makes socialmedian stand out for me and I look forward to seeing it develop.
As you can create networks on any topic you're not tied in to what's happening in Silicon Valley and networks don't have to fall in to any pre-defined category. Why not create local interest groups and add local news sources (newspapers, TV, etc.) in fact the worldwide aspect of such a service is what really appeals to socialmedian founder Jason Goldberg:
That’s actually why I called the company “socialmedian” - the idea being that with social media, everyone now has access to the same information, no matter where they are in the world. We’re all the median.
Socialmedian is currently in closed alpha but Jason has been kind enough to give me 100 invites for you, the readers of colinwalker.me.uk. If you are not in the U.S. I would urge you to sign up and get your local news flowing. If you are in the U.S. then still sign up and add your choices to the melting pot. To get involved visit the socialmedian sign up page and use the invitation code "colinwalker" (without the quotes).