Social News Sites vs Personal News Sites

In my last post, I mentioned my migration to Feeds 2.0 as my personal feed reader. One of most frequent substitutes for personal feed readers is social news sites. I have never found them to be of any use. This comment from Red Herring regarding Digg illustrates why:

The site’s top 100 users control some 56 percent of the stories that eventually appear on the home page. Of all the stories that appear on the home page, some 20 percent come from a group of the top 20 users.

In some cases, one out of every three stories submitted by a top user reaches the home page. Digg does not hide this information, displaying it under the stats section of the site. However, it contradicts the popular impression that Digg is a site whose contents reflect the opinions of its large user base.

Even for more niche social news, such as Personal Bee, that offer a Venture Capital page, they can’t match the relevance of a personal news reader that makes suggestions from the 1,000 stories across the 100 feeds I’m subscribed to based on my previous reading habits.

Now, perhaps my friend C.K. over at Netscape would argue with me, but I’ve tried both and vastly prefer “intelligent” systems because a series of rules can be applied to a vastly larger set of news sources. Information overload is a huge problem that only intelligent systems can handle -it’s Yahoo! vs Google all over again…

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