What’s More Important: Social or News?

I was just reading Scott Karp’s post about the demise of Findory, a personalized news service created by Greg Linden (which strangely enough I quoted in the Praized blog yesterday)

Scott cites Om Malik : “Despite being drop dead simple, Findory never realized its true potential as an information discovery engine. It has all the makings of being a personal memetracker, something a lot of folks have been clamoring for. In contrast the general purpose memetrackers that follow conversations, like Techmeme and Tailrank keep growing. ”

Scott then ponders: “I wonder whether the great success of TechMeme (and Memeorandum, Gabe Rivera’s other site on politics) and Digg , vs. the failure of Findory to catch on, is evidence that news is a fundamentally shared, social experience. Despite all the hype about the “user in control,” purely personalized news may be too much control, a slippery slope that leads to solipsism. The proverbial “water cooler” is symbolic of our fundamental need to share the news, to validate our experiences by sharing them with others. How can there be “conversation” if we’re all talking about something different?”He continues: “There’s also the advantage of constantly pushing the boundaries of your personal interests. Users depend on TechMeme and Digg to show them interesting content that they never would have thought would be interesting to them — it’s the power of serendipity and discovery that comes when you ride along with a larger community of interest. ”

He concludes by asking: “is news a fundamentally shared, social experience?

What it means: after realizing that social might be more important than local in the context of social local search a week ago, it looks like social might be more important than news in the context of social news sites. Has the Web 2.0 world unleashed a social genie? I strongly believe that the “discovery” element of new social media is a key success factor for any new venture in that field. Unleashing the value of the network becomes as important as unleashing the value of the content and it creates a killer combo. Aristotle was right: “man is a social animal; he requires the companionship of other men and cannot find happiness if he leads the life of a recluse. “

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