What Is 'Social News' on the Internet?

The Difference Between Social News and Traditional News

Photo © Georgijevic / Getty Images

An increasing number of people are getting their news fixes by turning to what some refer to as "social news" as a way to separate it from the more traditional news sources. As you might have already guessed, social news happens entirely online and is reliant on social media.

An Explanation of 'Social News'

Social news is a much more personalized form of news consumption, delivered on a central platform (like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc.) according to how users engage with news stories from various sources.

Unlike traditional sources of news (like television, radio and newspapers), there's influential activity happening on both the news provider's end and the user's end.

One of the other big differences between social news platforms and traditional news platforms is that social news platforms act as a central hub for news stories from various other third-party sources, possibly featuring stories from your friends, your relatives, brands you like, popular blogs, unpopular websites, YouTube, advertisers and more.

With traditional news sources, there really isn't any significant way that users can engage with the content in a way that influences the stories they see. Social news sources, however, show news stories based on how users interact with them (by voting, liking, commenting, sharing, etc.). This creates a much more targeted and personalized news consumption experience for users.

Here are the most common features of social news platforms:

What you see in your social networking news feeds. All it often takes is a quick glance at your Facebook news feed or Twitter feed to get caught up with what's going on in the world. The friends and brands you follow will surely be sharing information based on current events.

Trending topics and hashtags on social networks. Both Facebook and Twitter have sections that update trending news stories, keywords and hashtags in real-time.

On Facebook, there's a "Trending" section in the right column that changes frequently according to what's buzzing on the web. Similarly, Twitter has a "Trends" section for hashtags and keywords based on what's being tweeted worldwide or locally.

News boards where stories are voted on by users. Sites like Reddit, Digg, Hacker News and Product Hunt all thrive on a voting system where users have the opportunity to vote up stories to push them up in popularity, or vote them down to push them toward the bottom. 

Comment platforms on blogs even have somewhat of a social news component to them — especially those that allow users to upvote or downvote comments and also reply to other comments as a way to have a conversation. Blogs are generally less interactive than social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, but many would still agree that they still fall under the "social media" category.

The future of news is social, and it's only going to become more personalized as we head into the future. This will help cut out the stuff that doesn't matter to us while further emphasizing the stories and topics we're really interested in.

Next related article: Top 10 Free News Reader Apps

Updated by: Elise Moreau

Was this page helpful?