Here’s a list of ideas I’ve had over the past year or so while using social news sites. Most of them are ideas that I think would improve sites like Digg, Netscape and Reddit in one way or another. Admittedly, one or two of them would just be interesting to see implemented on an experimental level. Either way, feel free to rip each and every one to bits.
Social news may be revolutionizing content aggregation, but there are some things it has yet to master. Here are some types of content and methods of aggregation that have proved clumsy or non-existent on social news sites. Some of these niches are being tackled by new comers and some are just waiting for one of the big players to pluck them.
Recently a conservative blog called Little Green Footballs voiced their displeasure with Digg’s “mob rule”, claiming that they are falling victim to left-wing diggers. If you set aside the partisan politics, there is actually a lot to learn from the situation surrounding this particular site on Digg. It brings to light some common misconceptions about Digg as well as problems that need solving.
A couple of weeks ago, Yahoo! launched Pipes, a GUI that makes remixing and mashing up RSS feeds fun and easy to do. Since Pipes uses RSS data for input and output right now, the applications for social news are limited by the RSS features of the sites. The more RSS features they have, the more you can do with them in Pipes. That being said, there are a number of ways you can use Pipes to streamline your social news RSS subscriptions.
The principle of transparency is regarded by many to be necessary in a successful democracy. Every day, people are demanding more transparency out of the media, business and government. Socially driven news sites are a step in that direction. They offer a level playing field where users come to edit news democratically. What role does transparency play in the users’ actions on these sites?