The site is unique in the news-curating space in that it uses trends from the Twitter accounts Reuters and its journalists follow to arrange headlines: in effect, the news agency is automating editing and story selection and putting it in the hands of "everyone from Nouriel Roubini and Jenna Wortham to John McCain and Rachel Sterne."
Social Pulse has a business bent - one key section is where Reuters has posted with Klout to track what the "50 most social CEOs" are reading and commenting on. Other features include WiseWindow, a stock sentiment model for companies, showing whether social media sentiment is leaning toward favorable or unfavorable opinions, according to a blog post announcing the new site.
News organizations have increasingly warmed toward social media in the past several years. New York Times reporters like Brian Stelter and David Carr routinely tweet about stories they are covering and offer commentary to reactions about their reporting. Small and large outlets have used live-tweeted breaking news events and press conferences.
But the Reuters effort appears to be a major step forward in using social media to shape the news cycle. Presumably, story selection for the main news page will remain in the hands of Reuters editors.
The difference between that page and Social Pulse earlier this morning show that what Reuters editors think is important (Facebook IPO, Jobless Claims Fall and a story about the Federal Reserve, among others) is not necessarily in line with what's getting traffic on Social Pulse, which was topped by a story about a drop in Iranian currency, an increase in planned layoffs last month and a feature on Swiss watch sales.
Of the three articles at the top of Social Pulse, only one, the story about layoffs, was a Reuters story.