Last week, we took a look at using more traditional sources of news online to find neat stuff to share. Now, let’s look at the social news sites that make finding and sharing news a much more interactive experience.
What Is It?
Social news sites are places where users – anyone in the world – can post a news story that they’ve found online and share it. Then, other users get to vote on that story, making it appear higher or lower on the list of news items. In this way, the reading community decides what is more interesting or relevant. The same goes for any comments on a story – they can be voted up and down, depending on how interesting they are or what they contribute to the conversation.
Digg was the first general social news site to be well-known beyond the computer industry. It was also one of the first to introduce the “voting” feature. Digg now has Newsrooms specifically tailored to different topics. Read more About Digg.
Reddit (say the name out loud to get the joke) has been around nearly as long as Digg, and it still has the very personal feel it had at the beginning.
Slashdot was one of the first social news sites, focused mainly on science and technology. It’s still one of the go-to places for geeks to get their news, and the conversation in the comments is usually as good or better than the posts.
Fark is a social news site with the motto: “We don’t make news. We mock it.” Try Fark out if you’re a fan of sarcastic humor and weird news.
Newsvine was originally focused on political news, but has expanded to include any sort of news from around the world.
Social to Personalized
StumbleUpon is a site that lets you you vote on what you find, and then the site will suggest other stories based on what you tell it you like and dislike. It’s a great way to discover things you would never have known to search for on your own.
Pulse is a social news app for iPhone, iPad and Android that makes news visual. You can choose news sources to create your own personalized news reader from around the web. Read more about how Pulse works.
Digg has also added a customizeable section: the Newswire lets you fine-tune your Digg experience according to your likes and dislikes (not just the community’s). Get more of what you want by choose filters or seeing what’s Trending. (More about Newswire)
How Is It Useful?
Even on the web, major news outlets like newspapers and television news programs can only cover so much, and they don’t often point to all the fun and interesting things in blog posts, on image sites, and in little-known corners of the internet. Social news sites show that by distributing the work among millions of readers (otherwise known as crowdsourcing), much more information can be found and shared than if a single organization tries to do it all by themselves.
Help & Resources
- A feed of articles on social news from Mashable
- “How News Consumption is Shifting to the Personalized Social News Stream” from Mashable
- Reddit Frequently Asked Questions about how the site works and how you can contribute. Also, check out Reddit 101 for the basics.
- Now Public Frequently Asked Questions with the same info