I’ve always been an admirer of the concept and execution of the social news site Newsvine. I wrote about it glowingly when it first came out. Conceptually it always seemed like a good compromise between the chaos of sites like Digg and the top down nature of traditional newspaper websites.

With their redesign, they’ve pushed things in a pretty dramatic new direction. Essentially, the site is now a cross between the old Newsvine and an Ajax startup page like Netvibes. The site is beautiful and works wonderfully from a technical perspective.

But despite my admiration for Newsvine, you vote with your feet. And I’ve never really spent much time on the site because I’ve never found the content that compelling. I think there are a couple of reasons why:

(1) The mix between mainstream and social news has always seemed off. On the homepage, around half the content appears to be from traditional media outlets (AP, New York Times, etc.) and the other half is stuff written/submitted by users. In the end, when visiting Newsvine I don’t feel that I’m getting a good editorial view of things (like the New York Times) or a purely social view either (like Digg).

(2) Related to #1, I think they rely too much on AP content. It just isn’t that interesting and I can (and do) see that stuff anywhere.

(3) As someone who visits once a month, I’ve never mastered what the various modules actually do. On the homepage, you’ve got the following modules listed: Most Active Stories, Top Seeds, Newsvine Live, Newsvine Columnists, Top Wire, Newsvis, Group Spotlight, etc. As a casual users I have no idea what all that stuff is. I’d simplify. There is just too much going on for most people.

(4) It is sort of hard to find the community. If you dive in it is clear that Newsvine has a vibrant group of users. But on first glance you don’t see it. It looks too much like a news site and not enough like a community site.

I still think Newsvine is a beautiful site. I just don’t think they’ve figured out the content part well enough to make it a site I’d want to visit every day.

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.