After 4 months of private, invite-only alpha testing, social news network Socialmedian is now open and available in a public beta. During the last 4 months, Socialmedian has taken its motto of shipping fast and iterating faster quite seriously. Today, the service looks nothing like it did 4 months ago when we first reviewed it. Since then, Socialmedian has added a large number of new features and made the UI a lot more functional.

News Networks

The foundation of Socialmedian is its user created 'news networks.' Right now, there are over 1000 different networks on the site. Given the nature of the service, it is no surprise that most of them deal with technology in some form or another. Users can add links to these networks, but Socialmedian also automatically suggests stories based on keywords users can add when creating a new network. This is a very smart idea, as it allows even small networks to have a constant stream of updated news.

Vote Till You Drop

To share items on the site, users can either use a bookmarklet or 'clip' any story already on Socialmedian and share it on another network. One of Socialmedian's most interesting aspects is that it allows its users to vote on almost everything on the site. Users can, for example, vote on the ranking of the keywords and sources that are used to seed the networks.

With all this voting, it would be easy to consider Socialmedia as just another Digg, reddit, or Newsvine clone, but its personalized networks and extensive social networking features set it apart from most of its competitors. While both Digg and reddit are moving towards more personalized experiences, Socialmedian has made those the foundation of its product right from the beginning.

Keep Following

Out of all its core features, Socialmedian's social networking features have probably seen the most extensive remodel. Most importantly, users can now 'follow' each other. This is, of course, a similar model to what other social networks have done in the past as well, but this feature also allows you to see what topics and posts are most popular just among the people you follow, which puts a nice twist on the following/follower scheme.

Among some of the other new features are the ability to directly post to Twitter, as well as Socialmedian's use of Google's Social Graph API to help seeding new networks and recommending stories to its users.

Socialmedian is a very nicely designed social news network with a feature set far too extensive to cover in this short post. Thanks to its extensive alpha test and close interaction with its early users, almost everything on the site feels very well thought out and we did not come across any major bugs. Overall, we would be surprised if Socialmedian couldn't carve out a very nice niche for itself in the social news market.