Social news is similar to social bookmarking, but instead of saving websites as a whole, social news concentrates on individual articles. These articles can be from mainstream news outlets like Reuters or the Associated Press, or they can be blog posts.
Social news websites are often divided into categories similar to traditional news such as current events, entertainment, sports, etc. They also tend to have voting systems where users can vote for or against the articles posted, allowing readers to quickly navigate to the best articles.
What are the Benefits of Social News?
While social bookmarking sites often display how many times a website has been bookmarked, social news usually comes with a voting system. This allows people to vote for good articles, and vote against bad articles.
As a reader, this lets you quickly sort through the thousands of articles to find those with quality information. Social news is generally broken up into a 'most popular' list, which is comprised of articles receiving the most votes in the past few days or weeks, and an 'upcoming' list, which are new articles.
Social news is also a place for commenting on articles. It takes articles from various places and puts them all in one spot where the community can discuss them. If you are the type that likes to speak your mind, social news can give you a platform for your thoughts.
For bloggers, social news can also be used to generate traffic. This is especially effective if the subject of your blog coincides with a popular subject on the social news site.
Getting Started with Social News
For those wondering how to start using social news, it is simply a matter of picking out a social news site and browsing through the categories. You will only need an account if you plan on adding new articles to the site or commenting on existing articles, so you can start using the site right away.
The most popular social news sites tend to cater to the general population, which is to say that they tend to incorporate a wide variety of subjects. Even so, individual social news sites will often do better in certain categories and not-as-well in other subjects. The most popular sites are Digg, Reddit, Newsvine and Propeller.
Of course, there are many other social news sites, some catering to a general audience, and others targeting a more specific audience.