In 2009, TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington predicted Twitter and Facebook would soon overshadow Digg as the go to resource for newsworthy stuff.  But while Digg is dying, Reddit.com continues to grow, says Vadim Lavrusik at Mashable.com. Social news sites persist, offering a streamlined feed for news, gossip, and other critical info (like the dangers of methanol fires).

For example, just say, hypothetically, you’ve an interest in news on global warming. Say you spend much of your free time scouring newsfeeds and your favourite blogs for tid-bits on Copenhagen, the IPCC, Al Gore and what have you. Say you’ve devoted a third of your waking life—forgone shaving, sleeping, and eating—to scrape new climatological content from every obscure e-nook, e-niche, and e-cranny you could locate. As it happens, you didn’t need to. Sites like Digg and Reddit spare you the sweat of having to pick through google searches or Twitter  feeds by aggregating everything your climate kith and kin are interested in into one resource.

Interested in climate change? Heck, interested in anything? Alright, type http://www.Reddit.com into your browser of choice, then your soup de jour into the search box. Next, click “submit query.” Done. No need to investigate google trends; no need to consult Twellow for the right #hashtag. At your fingertips now rests a smorgasbord of related articles, videos, pictures, cartoons, and charts.

Admittedly, some of the entries are obscure; a few border on the crackpotish: e.g., “The Sexy Side of Global Warming.” Most of the links, however, are nutritious and have something of substance to say; and if you don’t like an article, you can always vote it down. (On Reddit.com, click the down arrow left of the headline.) Articles live or die based on their submission scores—something users define together by voting for or against.

Also, Reddit.com offers “sub-Reddits”: subjects grouped by tags and that operate similarly to Twitter hashtags, allowing you to refine your Reddit feed. (Note: /r/ sustainability.) Several sites give you the tools you need to examine and select a sub-Reddit that’s right for you; namely, metareddit.com, subreddits.org, and subredditfinder.com.

So next time you’ve an obsession, save your friends, family, and yourself some grief, and subscribe to a social news site.

Update (November 2):

Today I spent a couple hours scoping out del.icio,us—an actual, bonafied social bookmarking site (as opposed to a social news site like Reddit). On examination, you’ll find Del.icio.us—the supposedly tasty site—has some advantages over Reddit:

First, Del.icio.us is more intuitive. Articles, rather than having sub-Reddits, have tags. Basically, tags are keywords, and a single article can have lots of them. An article on food waste, for instance, carried eight tags: food, storage, waste, garbage, research, environment, climate, and change. (Delicious doesn’t put any limits on tags.)

Another advantage of Del.icio.us: it’s more focused and just seems more mature. Despite its sugary name, delicious.com’s links have less empty calories—less on things like hypothetical roadtrips to mars and Parisian women surviving six storey falls—and more substance. If you’re looking for a credible resource on climate science, for example, a quick “climate change” search pulls up some authoritative resources; namely, realclimate.org.

Thus compared to Reddit , Del.icio.us isn’t as up-to-the-minute, but compensates with more credibility and an easier-to-search format, offering a good second stop for any research project.

Advertisements