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Getting News from Social Network Aggregators

Each day there are billions of posts on social media sites, and places like Facebook and Twitter allow users – with virtually no filter – to post whatever they may please. If babygurl14 wants to lay our her game plan for the day, she can (including pictures or Glitterfy links).

If your grandpa accidentally posts his gym membership contract, no one is stopping him. However, with the growth in popularity of social media, comes the growth of social media content aggregators, websites that filter content for a user and their unique interests of how they want to spend their time online.

With the fast growing popularity of social network aggregation, there are already more options than one can choose from, each of which offer a variety of specialties. Some sites, like Digg or Reddit (arguably the longest-running aggregators) act as “social news” sites, meaning they provide a news feed of trending articles that are separated into sections, like entertainment and politics. Sites like these act as a middleman for users and help save time by lumping similar links together.

They can also allow for interaction between users. Fellow readers can post comments and vote for or against a post. The aggregator then combines the overall score and ranks them accordingly (the higher the ranking, the better placement a link will get on a site).

Aggregators like these are becoming so lucrative that even Yahoo decided they wanted a piece of the action– in late 2005, they purchased the social bookmarking site, Delicious. (And more recently, sold it to YouTube founders, at AVOS.)

Utilizing The Facebook API

Others are jumping on the bandwagon as well. Many sites, although not affiliated with Facebook, are using its API to compile information. Websites such as Sharedlikes and LikeButton use Facebook’s thumbs-up shaped “like” button to help bring content together. Posts on Facebook that receive the most “likes” are flagged by the sites and linked to their pages.

Other aggregators such as SharedLinks, ItsTrending, AllThingsNow, and MyProps regulate popular and trending topics on Facebook through views and reposts before compiling them into their feeds.

A similar site, TweetMeme, works on the same principles, but uses Twitter instead of Facebook. Aggregators like these, who survey popular trends, help “filter out the noise” so readers can focus on the topics they’re interested in reading.

Tweetmeme social news aggregator for Twitter

Social Newspapers: The Next Horizon In Social Content Aggregation

There is, however, a new breed of aggregators that are taking social network compiling to a whole new level: personalized, digital newspapers. Rather than searching for a subject through tabs or a tool bar, a user can log into these sites and see a newspaper-like page that is customized to their individual tastes and interests.

These sites are used by linking one’s social media accounts through the aggregator. Oftentimes, these are much easier to navigate, as it enlarges pictures and embeds content in an alternative layout that is easy to read. Another upside is that users can see more of the post through the newspaper, where on a social media site (especially Twitter, which limits characters), space is pre-determined.

There are several options for aggregators that provide digital newspapers, from those to display a compilation of social media sites, to those who are made for only a specific site. For example, Tweeted Times is a newspaper aggregator that is only used via Twitter. When a user logs in to Tweeted Times, it ranks the popularity of their friends’ tweets, and pools them into a single page.

PostPost is a similar newspaper aggregator, but pulls content from Facebook, and, unlike Tweeted Times, which compiles hourly, PostPost provides a live feed. One major difference with PostPost is that it does not rank or compile content, it only offers an alternate view of a Facebook account.

As for newspaper sites that aggregate multiple social media sites, Paper.li pulls content from both a user’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, and their newspapers are offered on a daily basis — just like a printed “daily paper.”

Additionally, in contrast to the social media newspapers, “social magazines” are available for any iPad owner through Flipboard. The social magazine includes mediums such as video and photo applications.  And because Flipboard requires a touch screen for its users, articles can be “flicked” through as if the page is being turned.

Flipboard social news iOS app

With so many social media sites out there and the growing number of followers they’re bring in, many are starting to cash in on that popularity. Some newspapers, instead of hosting their own, independently-ran websites, are beginning to move their content to Facebook.

The Rockville Central, a newspaper in Washington, D.C. made the switch in March of this year. Not only will changing to Facebook-only save them money on a domain name, with the viral rate social media sites are growing, content will be readily available to those Facebook-friendly aggregators.

Another option newspapers are taking, such as Boston.com, is using Facebook’s NewsCloud, which provides “social media software solutions.” NewsCloud also gives incentive for users to participate, hosting a section for top users, which lists the number of comments and likes they’ve provided. Although a fairly new platform for businesses, NewsCloud acts as a medium to bring company news and social media together.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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