Social News Aggregation delivers bottom up news, and all the challenges that comes with it

Social Media Club (find a chapter near you) put on yet another great event in last Thursday’s event at the Yahoo headquarters in Sunnyvale. The theme, a focus on social or bottom up news, traditional news, and citizen journalism.

Each of the respective companies had an opportunity to share their insight, about their products, and a healthy conversation. Presenters included: Karen Brophy, Yahoo! News, Amy Dalton, Topix.com Steve Huffman, Reddit.com, Jay Adelson, Digg.com, Dan Gillmor, Center For Citizen Media. Amy Dalton told me that this list of Silicon Valley events was very helpful for her planning.

“Social News Aggregators offer individuals more than a chance to consume news, they also offer an opportunity to participate, weigh in on it, contribute to it and interact around it. But each site differs and the communities that form around social news sites are unique.
What sparks the growth of an online community around news and current affairs content?

How are online community and user expectations changing? How do site creators and editors maintain a balance between their original vision, and responsiveness to their online community? What can mainstream media learn from users of social news sites? “

[Social news delivers the democracy of information, but with it comes the human instinct to manipulate and ‘game’ systems, the battle will never end]

Key Trends

-Many communities have rowdy members, users are often anonymous
-It was suggested by forcing users to use real names, it could yield better commentary
-Gaming of ‘voting’ type systems is inevitable.
-Members spend a lot of time, effort to earn points or reputation in systems
-Yahoo News had the largest visitorship
-Reddit team was more worried about users getting negative points than positive, as it was an indicator of something going wrong
-Each of the site has increasing growth, they shared numbers at the end
-Digg and Reddit communities have very similar demographics, often resulting in friction.

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