We just launched a new feature on DailyMe.com that I think has a lot of interesting possibilities. We call it Meme-It. To understand, first let’s look at how Wikipedia defines meme:
“A meme is any thought or behavior that can be passed from one person to another by means of imitation. Examples include thoughts, ideas, theories, gestures, practices, fashions, habits, songs and dances. Memes propagate themselves and can move through the cultural sociosphere in a manner similar to the contagious behavior of a virus.”
A number of news sites use “meme” in their name to describe the way they identify different news topics that move through different media outlets and the blogosphere. We’re using it a bit differently. We’re using it to describe how a feeling or emotion derived from news stories can move through our readership.
This approach grew out of a long-standing feeling that the way most news sites allow users to “rate” news stories is inappropriate to news content. Most sites offer either a thumbs up/down rating or a 1-to-5 scale rating. While such ratings might make sense for movies or restaurants, news is different. Your reaction to news isn’t about the quality of the food or the service. While you might react like a moviegoer to good writing or a well-told story, you probably find it confusing to consider how to “rate” a story about a horrible natural disaster than kills thousands of people. Thumbs up? Do you give a story a 5 rating if it’s important, meaningful, useful? If so, what rating do you give a story that is well-written but merely amusing? Such debates have swirled around in news site design meetings for years, but no one has offered an alternative yet.
The great thing about a small startup like DailyMe is that we can try different approaches and see what works. We think Meme-It is one that will work, whether in its current iteration or one that we adopt as we learn from our users and refine Meme-It. What you’ll find on every news story on DailyMe is a small Meme-It face icon. Click the icon to see a small window listing six descriptors that might fit a news story. If one fits, click it. Not every news story will fit.
Then, if you want to see which stories other DailyMe readers considered “insightful” or “weird” or “tragic” or “uplifting,” go to the DailyWe section of the site and see the stories with the most votes for any of the six emotions.
Meme-It is just another way that we at DailyMe are building the ultimate news experience through a combination of editorial and technical skill and engagement of our community. Look for more new features soon.
Update (April 2, 2009): We’ve renamed this application Face-It and changed the emotions. We’re just about to start syndicating the rating tool and display module for use on third-party sites. Below is a sample of what you can add to your site soon:
|Add Face-It to your website|