I don’t know if it’s just that I’m becoming more aware of these things, or if new Web 2.0 sites and services really are emerging at an exponential rate at the moment, but I regularly find myself following the rush to the latest
toy application to try it out, spending a little while playing with testing it, then never going back again. One exciting exception to this, however, is Social|Median, a Digg-like social news network that launched its open beta last Thursday to an impressively positive reception.
I really like Social|Median. I spent far too much of Thursday finding my way around the site, identifying the newsmakers and networks I wanted to engage with and wandering off across the internet in pursuit of fascinating new content. By Friday morning, the site had become part of my daily routine: log into email, check Twitter, open SM. Yes, that quickly.
There are a few reasons why I’m quite so taken with the site. Partly it’s the interface, which is nicely intuitive to use and which, more than other such aggregator services I’ve used, provides you with enough of an advance snippet from the stories clipped by users to know whether you want to follow them further. The really crucial element, however, is the quality of the content that people are clipping (the SM equivalent of digging or stumbling upon), aided by the fact that some of the key names in social media, the likes of Robert Scoble and Louis Gray, have engaged with the service, bringing their stamp of approval and quality content to the service as well as becoming the news themselves.
One thing I’ve noticed since I started using SM is that I’m less interested in Twitter. I don’t know if it’s just coincidental, some random application ennui that might just be a passing phase, or if there’s a connection with the rise of SM; I rather suspect the latter. Recently I’ve been using Twitter less as a social tool and more as a source of content, following twitterers who post interesting links and opinions rather than announcing the local weather or that they’ve broken a nail. The awkwardness of retrieving older tweets and the 140 character limit, which made it such a fun and exciting service in the past, simply doesn’t lend itself to such use, particularly when combined with my haphazard approach to delicious tagging interesting material I find. Social|Median fulfills this need so effectively that at the moment I’m barely logging in to Twitter. Criticising a service for being poor at a function it was never really designed for may be more than a little unfair, but I guess the point of a lot of these services is precisely that they are what their users want to make of them, and if we’re bored with them, we can either find new uses or move on.