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What is


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 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. (79) (60) (39 – well done Tad!) (859) (909)

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 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.

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Lead SEO, Group Optimisation at Vodafone. Founder at E3 Business Incubator, a consultancy group helping enterprises and start-ups. Digital strategist and veteran SEO/SEM. Views are my own and not representative of my employer (more).

16 Responses to SocialMedian Review: First Impressions Of The Next Big Thing

  1. Thanks for the heads-up on this, Nick. It certainly has a most pleasant look to it. It’s good to get exposed to new networks. I’m there too at

  2. Added you guys –

    It would be great to get some official feedback from Jason on submitting your own material. I tried to find a note on this in the FAQs but couldn’t see anything.

    Interestingly you can also add your RSS feed to any group which seemed remarkably open to me. It would be good to know the official policy on this point too – or does the system deal with this in it’s own way.

    So far users have set up 1368 newsgroups (or news networks). I set one up on Online Russian Marketing here, with feeds from blogs I help author.

  3. Thanks for the heads up. Although I still focus on the Mixx SEO 2.0 group the Social Median network is growing effortlessly so this will be a likely alternative.

  4. Hey there, thanks for the post.

    We’re going to be updated the FAQ’s today and tomorrow. What exactly is your question regarding submitting content?

    The way it works is that you can submit content 1 of 4 ways to socialmedian.

    1. Add a feed to a news network. Only relevant stories (matching topical keywords) will make it into the network vs. the entire feed.

    2. Use our bookmarklet. When using the browser bookmarklet you can either let socialmedian decide which of your networks to share the content with, or you can select manually.

    3. Use the Add something buttons to submit news or a snippet directly onto the site. Again, you can either let socialmedian decide which of your networks to share the content with, or you can select manually.

    4. email anything to and we’ll post it to your page and share it with your followers and relevant networks.

  5. @Jason Goldberg

    Thanks for stopping by and congratulations on the launch

    My question was about submissions from our own blogs, as sources. News aggregators treat this question differently. For example, StumbleUpon does not look too kindly on submitting too much personal content or using the system with the “primary intention to promote a product or service”. Some groups there have taken this to extremes, considering any self-submission to be spamming the system., on the other hand, welcomes people to submit their own material. They work on a “common sense” basis. Members there follow some unwritten rules though, they space out their submissions and avoid dominating the upcoming queue for example. Danny Sullivan’s comments here maybe useful for you, as an old(er) sage in the internet marketing industry he’s managed to get a pretty level take on the issues. As you see above, he’s also a member at SM. Matt’s comments here are also good.

    Equally I see this same issue arising with RSS feeds. If your own blog feed is relevant to the news group, can you add this? For example, my feed here would seem on-topic for several of the SEO groups I mentioned above.

    This is your site though and you get to set the tone on this issue. It goes without saying that your FAQs will be fundamental in forming the community attitudes to these kinds of issues.

    Some of them I guess you will deal with as/when the problems arise. Unfortunately that maybe about 20 mins after all the internet marketers sign up ;)

  6. Right now we have intentionally made it entirely up to the users. If you think that your or any feed will add value to other uses, by all means, add it to a network. Submit stories. Promote yourself and your thoughts. If it’s spam though, we’ll be enacting innovative ways for people to drown you out. Make sense?

  7. Sounds fair Jason, thanks for clarifying the issue. This post should hit the front page of Sphinn fairly shortly and I’m sure the audience there will relate well to this approach.

  8. Hey, if Tamar is on there then I guess I have to be, as well.

  9. I’ve been a fan from the start.

    And thanks for the Social|Median t-shirt.

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