Is ‘Social News’ the New Trend?

TREND SPOTTING: As a child I remember sitting around with the grown-ups at the neighborhood tea stall – grizzly old blokes, friends of my grandfather and listening to them discuss political developments of the day, reading from the newspapers, and putting their spin on it. It was my first experience with social news. Of course the world has changed a lot since then, and so has the news business.

Despite its obvious problems, the news business is getting back to its roots and is getting social again. Mashable points to a story from Terry Heaton’s PoMo blog that talks about MySpace launching a social news site, based (I am guessing) on Newroo, a company they acquired in April 2006. The preview of Newroo had features that are showing up in the MySpace News offering that is scheduled to go live sometime in the second quarter of 2007.

Given the heavy emphasis on the “hook-ups” on MySpace, I am not sure how much of this new service is going to find traction (okay sports and gossip news might work, but then who the hell knows what works on MySpace), but it does add up to an interesting trend. Last week we saw USA Today launch a very social news experience, though the initial reaction of their users skewed negative. Perhaps they overshot, and instead should have focused on a few things first: letting the readership patterns auto-generate a front page and fostering conversations – just like those grizzly old men, discussing politics.