socialmedian, the social news web site which we've described as a "less noisy FriendFeed" launched a new set of features called "Replize." Now socialmedian users can track conversations on the service, much in the same way that users can track responses to a question on Twitter, all it takes is the use of @username.Today,
Socialmedian has also announced Flickr integration which allows you to include your uploaded photos on Flickr in your news stream.
Socialmedian's New "Replize"
Today's launch of Replize on socialmedian allows users to write comments on the shared articles and include @username to address those comments to any specific user or users. The @username can also be located anywhere within the comment - not just the beginning. So for example, someone writing a comment to me would insert @sarahintampa in the comment, and socialmedian would be able to then direct that comment to me.
Comments are brought to your attention through a new "Replize" tab which allows you to quickly view all the discussions that include you. Your personal news feed will also highlight when someone includes you in a discussion. In case you aren't logged in to socialmedian at the time, you can choose to receive these replies via email as well.
Here's how it works.
- To send a replize to any user on socialmedian, all you need to do is include @username for any username(s) anywhere in the comments field. If you click the "reply" link next to a comment the service pre-populates the other person's @username. You can include several people in a replize, e.g. @jasongoldberg @sarahintampa @joebob. The replize will be sent to all.
- The service then highlights the replize to those users in their homepage News Feed. Users can also be notified by email whenever they have a replize.
- Theres's also a "Replize" tab on the homepage so that users can easily view all their replize in one place, and so they can quickly see all the stories they have been included in discussions.li>
In addition to the Replize option, socialmedian has also enabled Flickr integration as of today. Any photo you upload to Flickr is now also included on socialmedian, too. To connect your Flickr to socialmedian, go to Add Something > Site > Flickr. You can choose to add all of your Flickr photos and favorites, or only those matching certain tags (keywords).
Is @username Becoming A New Standard?
The @username trend for responding to another user on a service took off with the launch of Twitter. On that microblogging, mini-conversations service, responding to another user's tweet begins with a response in the format of @username your response. The format spread to the other microblogging services and then became unofficially integrated with FriendFeed as well.
On FriendFeed, users were working around the lack of threaded discussions by using the format @username to show which user they were responding to in the comments. Eventually, the FriendFeed team picked up on the trend and allowed those comments to be piped back through Twitter. However, the users hadn't really been after Twitter integration (though we now love it), they had just adopted the format that made the most sense for responding to another user: @username.
OK, so we know that @username isn't becoming a standard in the technical sense of the word. This isn't being ratified by some organization and made official. What we're wondering is whether we'll start to see the trend take off in more services in the future now that so many people in Web 2.0 land are familiar with the format.
If so, would that a good thing? Yes, it probably would. Although initially getting people on board with this new methodology will, at first, mean a bigger learning curve for the uninitiated, having a familiar way to respond to users on social media services could make @username the next www. or firstname.lastname@example.org. For the new users of Web 2.0, it puts a familiar context around the unfamiliar task of interacting with others on the these "new-fangled" social services. That could then lead to easier moves to even more services in the future.
Did we just read too much into a small upgrade to socialmedian? Perhaps. But it would be great if this began the next big trend for social media sites.