What is SocialMedian.com?
You can follow different topical news groups – which are a collection of activities from people interested in the same topic (called News Networks) – or subscribe to updates from other users (called Newsmakers). On your homepage, you can then filter between the activities in your News Networks and the activities among the Newsmakers you’re tracking. Activities tracked include “Clipping” a story (akin to Digg with bookmarklet and all) or commenting on something on Socialmedian.
Looking beyond those features – which on the surface seem like a hybrid of Digg and Friendfeed – is where Socialmedian potentially gets very interesting for news junkies, and it comes in the form of providing feedback to the service. You can vote on each story’s relevance, rank topics in the order of importance to you, and upgrade the frequency at which you’d like to see stories from specific sources.
So SocialMedian has got a bit of everything in there; social submission, voting, news aggregation, sharing and groups. I’d also mention that it delivers a handy email summary of articles every few hours or daily. KillerStartup suggested these notifications would be via Twitter but they either got this wrong or this feature will be coming in the future. I hope it’s the latter. On the face of it this mashup is doing nothing new but the way they have combined the features works.
Who’s Using SocialMedian.com?
SocialMedian.com was launched publicly on the 31st July but already reports 5537 users. More importantly, the site has attracted some well known early adopters, such as Steve Rubel and Robert Scoble and Louis Gray. The owner Jason Goldberg is also very active on the site and doing a heroic job at drumming up the activity. To start you off, here’s a list of 25 SEO/SEMs on the system. Feel free to add your SocialMedian URL in the comments.
SocialMedian themselves encourage new sign-ups to follow the most active users on the site, so early adopters can use this to their advantage in building their network.
Articles are delivered via newsgroups. These are some of the most active SEO/SEM and Social Media groups I found with user numbers in brackets. Follow the links to sign-up.
http://www.socialmedian.com/network/seo-2-0 (39 – well done Tad!)
Enough Good, What About the Ugly?
I’ve experienced some strange activity on the site. Once where a news item was sent to the wrong newsgroup and another time where I was unable to edit a comment. Also SocialMedian.com is having some obvious issues with the current load, this reduces the site to a crawl at times and is probably the underlying cause for these other issues. More than once I’ve been left staring at the default Ruby on Rails error page. Hopefully the fact they have not chosen to customise this with a Fail Whale indicates this problem to be temporary.
Another issue which bugs me is connected to the sharing story functions. If you choose to tweet or email links from SocialMedian, the recipient is required to sign-up to follow the link to the source story. This is true for any non-members casually browsing the site. As Paul Silver twittered back to me, “that smacks of link hoarding/user grabbing”. I think he’s right. I won’t be using that function again to send links to my Twitter feed.*
On the subject of nofollow, the site is sea of pink using the Search Status Plugin for FireFox. However links to the source article are left followed. With so much nofollow plastered about I’m not sure how much linkjuice will flow down to the article pages but hopefully this is a show of respect to the original content producers rather than an oversight.
Conclusion – Should I Sign Up?
I was impressed with the site. As I wrote before, it brings something new to the table in an already overpopulated niche. I really like the level of maturity and number of professionals in this community. These are articles on venture capital rather than LOLcats or iPod rave reviews (although there is already an Apple group). I haven’t read their policy on submitting your own material but the audience looks receptive to commercial sites or marketing related posts.
SocialMedian also encourages you to explore topics through their grouping system. After you read an interesting article you can subscribe to that group feed. It maybe the early adopters but I found myself reading posts on marketing, investment and blogging that wouldn’t be in my usual news sources.
While SEO/SEM/Marketing communities are always going to be my passion, I enjoyed the way SocialMedian pushed me in other directions. With all the banal blogging recently this was a breath of fresh air and an exciting opportunity to meet people outside my immediate SEO/SEM circles.
In my opinion, SocialMedian is a serious contender.
Update: Jason has just twittered me to say they are working on removing the signup requirements. He’s also acknowledged the speed issue. Thanks Jason. You can follow the SocialMedian twitter account here.