How media organizations can use XYDO, the latest social news site
XYDO, which launched publicly Tuesday, is the latest social news aggregation service, aiming to prioritize news based on a user's social networks. The question for news organizations is: What does this service mean for us and how can we use it?
XYDO brings its own mix to the social news space, though its features are similar to the plethora of personalization and aggregation services. The site differentiates by organizing the content so users can see what's trending in their social stream. Unlike services like Flipboard, the HTML5-based service isn't just for mobile, and unlike straight aggregation apps it adds a personalized layer. Co-founder and CEO Eric Roach calls it “socially endorsed news.”
The services aims to give users a way to prioritize news being shared, sorting it by topic or what's popular (rather than just chronologically, like a Twitter stream). XYDO processes more than a million Twitter and Facebook feeds and has attracted about 7,000 users since launching in beta a couple of months ago, according to Mashable.
“We are building XYDO as a social network around news,” co-founder Cameron Brain said in a phone interview. “If Facebook is for friends and LinkedIn is for business connections and Quora is for questions, we want XYDO to be the place for news."
How publishers can leverage XYDO
There are a few ways media professionals could leverage this service to both market their content and monitor news.
I'm naturally intrigued by XYDO's ability to pull out the news in my personal stream. For many media professionals, Twitter is a crucial but daunting sources of news. I've been contemplating how to better organize my Twitter stream, as lists just don't cut it. XYDO offers one solution by showing me the most popular news content in my social graph, including Facebook and Twitter (and intends to add more services in the future). It also offers useful second-level search so that I can search for something within a topic (for instance I can search for “Media & Journalism: social” to see the latest stories about social media specifically for the media industry).
From a consumer standpoint, XYDO offers a good blend of serendipity and personalization by allowing you to view what's popular by topic, in your network or across the whole XYDO network. From a media geek standpoint, I would like to see even more customization tools to sort news sources and people, in addition to browsing by topic and what's popular.
Linking with other services
Even if XYDO has useful characteristics that distinguish it from other social aggregation tools and algorithms, integration of some of these tools is necessary. Luckily XYDO can be linked to other services consumers are already using to view news (such as Google Reader, Flipboard or Zite), acting as a sort of social filter.
XYDO also plans to develop a mobile app of its own. Meanwhile, this YouTube video demonstrates how the service can be added to view via Flipboard. As media companies are already using these sorts of services to display content, XYDO could help readers looking for more news organization on those platforms.
XYDO on its own offers opportunities for publishers to engage readers, like other social networks. Any publisher putting their content on Twitter or Facebook already has a page on XYDO aggregating the content.
XYDO will eventually add more features for publishers to differentiate their pages. At minimum, Brain said this could be “publisher-verified” accounts like Twitter. Going forward, publishers can expect privileges to customize, he said.
The service shows potential for publishers to leverage their own social graphs to display stories trending on their sites and within the topics they cover, essentially becoming a social aggregator for users.
UPDATE: Here's something to note: Mike Melanson at ReadWriteWeb noticed that XYDO acts more as an RSS feed (like Flipboard) rather than a link aggregator (like Digg). He starts a relevant discussion about whether this could be "taking the pageviews out of publishers mouths."
Monitoring your own content
XYDO is also useful for journalists to see which of their tweeted content is getting the most response. If more people sign up for XYDO, it could be a valuable analytics tool, at least for a birds-eye view on what is getting the most social response.
I can see which links I've tweeted that were most popular to others in the XYDO community. The score takes into account votes from XYDO users as well as the number of shares.
XYDO has a lot of competition with the glut of social aggregation services flooding the market, but it's worth a look as a tool to monitor and consume news. At minimum, XYDO is another sign for publishers of the growing adoption and opportunity of the social value of news.