Add another one to the pile. MySpace is the latest of the big players to adopt the socially driven model for news delivery. Being one of the top 10 most visited sites on the web, its natural to expect a lot from such an offering. It also begs the question, with a user count that is an order of magnitude higher than all other social news sites, can MySpace News be more relevant?
The user experience on MySpace News is decidedly simple. The story submission process couldn’t be more easy… because there isn’t one. Stories are aggregated from feeds being indexed by MySpace. If you haven’t submitted your blog’s feed yet, be sure to get on this rocket on the ground floor. If it passes their staff’s quality control measures then you’re in. No word yet on what requirements a feed has to meet to get its contents listed. Being owned by the same corporation that owns Fox News, I have to wonder if the contents of MySpace News will not be subject to the same kind of infamously shady journalistic practices. However, so far it looks pretty “fair and balanced.”
In addition there is no commenting on entries. But who needs commenting when you can vote on a scale of zero to five? That’s right: the socially driven aspect of the site basically comes down to submitting feeds for approval and voting on aggregated content. Thus, a very simple experience. I love the concept of being able to refine my votes between zero and five points. Now just add a way for me to filter stories by their score (eg. only display stories that have 4 points or higher).
MySpace is not trying to leverage any particular niche type of content with their social news site. Indeed, at the time of writing this, they have 295 categories of news divided by about 25 major topics. Fear not, IP Law fanatics. They’ve got you covered. And if they don’t have your preferred topic of content, you can suggest it.
Clearly, MySpace News is trying to ensure it has something for everyone. With over 100 million accounts registered, MySpace has more registered users than all other social news sites combined. If you think of what kind of impact just 1 per cent of that number of users has had on Digg, you realize how high the potential influence of MySpace News is on the content we consume.
Personally, I think MySpace News would make a good beginner’s social news site. Something to get people’s feet wet before they join a more fully-featured site that has more social aspects and allows richer self-expression via custom submissions and commenting. This is certainly no “Digg-killer”.
Author: Derek van Vliet
Derek van Vliet is a Toronto, Ontario native who has been programming for most of his life. In the last year he has been active in social news. He is currently a top 10-ranked user on Digg where he goes by the name BloodJunkie. He is also a professional social bookmarker (aka Navigator) on Netscape, where he goes by the name Neophile. Check his blog at http://neothoughts.com.