There is no shortage of social news aggregators looking to help users cut through the noise on the web. Digg is by far the most popular, with similar offerings from Reddit, Newsvine, and a host of others. Today, Socialmedian (not to be confused with SocialMedia, the ad network) is launching its own take on social news. The site has just launched in public beta, and can best be compared to Digg, with some elements of Twitter and FriendFeed thrown in.
At first glance, Socialmedian bears more than a slight resemblance to Digg. Each story is ranked according to the number of votes (called Clips) that it has received, with an expanding tab for comments and sharing. Even the color scheme is very Digg-like.
Founder Jason Goldberg acknowledges that Socialmedian does share some features in common with Digg, but says that its focus is on helping you find stories that you’ll be interested in, rather than finding stories that are popular and appeal to the masses. To do this, the site allows users to create their own personalized networks, or chose from over 1000 existing networks. Each network monitors certain keywords for stories submitted across the entire site, and generates a list of related stories. Users can also specify RSS feeds they’d like to automatically pull stories from, and they can use a sliding “Noise” meter to limit the number of stories displayed.
Socialmedian also uses a Twitter-like follow system to help generate relevant results. Whenever you come across a story submitter than you particularly like, you can flag them as a “Newsmaker”. From then on, their stories will receive a higher ranking, and are more likely to appear on your main news feed.
Because the site is so young, it’s hard to get a feel for how well these filters work (the vast majority of the stories on my front page have fewer than 10 votes). The site has far more customization than Digg, but its ultimate success will lie in its ability to cut out the noise – something we won’t know until it has to deal with thousands of stories at once. The site will also see competition from other social news sites like Reddit, which mimics Socialmedian’s network function by allowing you to “roll” your own customized feeds.