April 08, 2008

Former Jobster CEO's Social|Median Incubating in Alpha

At the end of 2007, Jason Goldberg, CEO of Jobster, stepped down, leaving the online career site behind and taking on a new job of his own, founding a stealth mode online social news site, called Social|Median. Months after raising less than $1 million in seed money from a number of angel investors, the site has risen from "dog food" mode to alpha, on the backs of an offshore engineering team in India and Jason's own efforts, seeing more than 500 early adopter users join the site, aimed at creating topical news networks and sharing hot news with friends. (See their blog here)

While the site has been in closed alpha stage for several months, I managed to snag 200 invites to Social|Median, with the code of "LouisG". (Sign up here)

Social|Median Has a Feed Showing Updates In Your Networks

Despite its alpha stage and so-far underdeveloped user interface, the site has already shown a number of interesting features that put it in line with similar services, from BlogRize to Yokway and to a lesser extent, FriendFeed.

The site bills itself as "a social news service that connects people with personalized news and information".The site's main hubs are its "News Networks", which are user created, whether on tech topics, including Apple, Web 2.0, Tech News or Venture Capital, or other interests, from History to Team Building and Triathlons. Users can join any number of news networks, effectively subscribing to view posted news on topics they find interesting. Some of the networks are quiet, seeing only five stories a day, while those more broad topics can see hundreds of new items in a 24-hour period.

New additions to the site include the ability to find news networks by searching the site, as well as new location-based news networks, for example, "Seattle", "Silicon Alley" or "Incredible India".

Also a unique wrinkle to Social|Median is an intelligent way for new News Networks to automatically grab the best sources around the Web for those items. Want a network on cars? It's like Social|Median will offer up Car and Driver, or if you can't get enough dirt on Google, Google Blogoscoped or Google Operating System would emerge.

You Can See Most Popular and Newest News Networks

There are two ways to add content to Social|Median, the first being a Twitter-like "Snip", where you can post your thoughts on any topic, or a "Clip", where you can post a headline, a URL to the story and any comments you have. Interestingly, Social Median does the hard work of using its algorithm to determine what are the appropriate news networks for your story, based on the submitted content, and that story can be listed in more than one network at a time.

A Social|Median user's front page consists of what's called the "Hot List", featuring relevant activities from people who are in your news networks, whether they've created new networks, added new clips, or commented on posted items. Soon, the site will also feature more analytics, including "most popular" stories in a network, and whether you want to see more or less from individual users, a lot like Facebook's "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" feature which encourages more or less of a specific item.

As with other social news sites, Social|Median isn't forcing you to be on their site 24 by 7 to get all the latest news. Users can get e-mail alerts of the top 5 most popular stories across Social|Median as frequently as three times a day, or less often if you don't want to see your e-mail in box go entirely social.

More E-mail from Social|Median, Please...

Goldberg's team is entirely based in Pune, India for now, working hard at coding and developing the site prior to its public launch, expected later this summer. Like FriendFeed's "Changelog", which shows the latest additions to the code, Social|Median is striving for a similar level of transparency. You can see the team's latest updates and code revisions on the product development blog found here: social|median: Product Development. As the site says frequently, it is in early alpha, and should be for those willing to accept a less-defined GUI in search for a more social way to share news and find new topics.

If you want in to Social|Median, you can start with the code of "LouisG". (Sign up here)