Monday, August 11, 2008

Social|Median was not a good experience

image After reading Louis Gray’s positive post the other day, I tried out Social|Median. Perhaps I wanted the wrong things from the service, but it didn’t work all that well for me. Here’s what I thought I could do:

  • Start my own mini-Digg news network focused on a single keyword (in my case, “bookmarking”) while also selecting some additional, secondary keywords (e.g., social media, technology). Items matching keywords would automatically be added to news river that could be sorted either by popularity or date.
  • Add my own items via a bookmarklet. I could choose either to add items directly or let Social|Median choose.
  • Import RSS feeds, including my own and others that matched my content preferences.
  • Adjust the “noise meter” so that items with less relevance to my keywords (as I ranked them) would be filtered out.

Because I consume news at a much faster rate than I write it, I had hoped that Social|Median would be an interesting place for me to collect items related to this blog’s focus: web-based bookmarking and notebooking. Unfortunately, when I tested the service, it did none of the things I thought it would do:

  • After adding a patch of items immediately, including items from the feeds I had chosen, it was dormant for several days.
  • When I tried to add items to my network via the bookmarklet, they wouldn’t actually show up in my network. This was true whether I let Social|Median choose or whether I added items manually.
  • Although I tried to import a few feeds from elsewhere, none of those items were added to the SM network.
  • Adjusting the noise meter had no discernible effect.

In fairness, other users are probably using Social|Median to consume a broader spectrum of news. I was trying to collect news within a fairly narrow focus, and I tried to start small—importing only a few feeds in addition to my own. Here’s the network I created. Notice that a few items have since been added, but far fewer than I would expect given the fairly broad keyword “bookmarking” and the other feeds I’d selected.

Again, it could be that I misunderstood the capabilities of the service. It could also be that there are some bugs that need to be worked out. I’ll never know: I submitted a support request mentioning the problems, but it went unanswered. Then I suspended my account. I was presented with a form asking why I was deactivating my account. I explained the problems again in the fields provided.

I’ve received no response. Which is fine. They’re busy.

But so am I.

Social|Median: F

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