September 04, 2008

Social Median Revamps and Introduces "News Streaming"

On Saturday, I prematurely announced Social Median's integration of Google Reader shares into the social news discovery service. Turns out my account had been hard-wired as one of the initial users testing new features aimed to make the site ingest even more information and making it a more essential part of my daily activity. Today, Social Median filled in the rest of the puzzle, by adding support for data not just from Google Reader shares, but also Twitter, Digg, Delicious and FriendFeed. Additionally, Social Median rolled out tools for bloggers to highlight their activity on the site from their own blogs, and a number of ways to find the most popular and active content. The result? A more robust site, aimed to move beyond "lifestreaming" and more to "news streaming".

In speaking with CEO Jason Goldberg last night, he said there are already many sites, like FriendFeed, that do a great job of showing your activity on other sites, and enabling discussion. But Social Median is instead focused on determining which of those activities you have on other sites that are relevant as "news", based on keywords, and topics you have opted to follow. Social Median has to do the hard work of sharing the "news" updates with the right people and the right topical news networks on the site.

Like other aggregation sites, Social Median now features an "Add links and feeds from your sites" option, enabling you to add hooks to your third party services. Users can then specify if you want all your updates flowing through Social Median, just those with specific keywords, or if you specifically tag them as being for the site.

And as Social Median has offered since debuting in beta a month ago, you still have the option to follow individual users, known as "news makers". But you can now filter their updates to be relevant to your news networks, by selecting "only relevant updates" instead of "all updates". Jason playfully uses me as the example in this morning's announcement, saying "I may only want to follow Louis Gray when it comes to technology and politics, but not his interest in fathering."

Social Median's addition of a new widget for bloggers also lets them highlight their most popular items or recent items that have been "clipped" on the site, essentially promoting their best material, not just skimming Social Median for what's new.

And finally, Social Median has entered the "most popular today" arena, displaying stories that have been deemed popular over the last day, week, month, or are rising fast. This falls in line with tweaks made at FriendFeed to show the best of day or week, and the many other sites dedicated to finding hot content, from ReadBurner to Techmeme.

This is an aggressive upgrade for Social Median, which we've been publicly watching develop since April, and one that's intended to get the site a bit more attention before their participation at the TechCrunch50 conference next week. With the addition of more news ingestion sources, popularity tools, and blogging widgets, its clear Social Median is looking to get more visible, more useful, and more robust. You can find my news stream at
DISCLOSURE: I am an advisor to ReadBurner.