In 2009, we announced HuffPost Social News — "a collaboration with Facebook that connects HuffPost users to their Facebook friends, the news they are reading, and the stories they are commenting on," as Arianna wrote then.
The past year has seen that vision realized — and then some. Reading the news is no longer a solitary experience. Today, news is shared and social. If you want proof, look to the past few weeks: There was Aaron Sorkin's blog post about Sarah Palin's Alaska, which garnered nearly 100,000 Likes on Facebook; a news story on a possible cure for HIV that brought in over 300,000 readers from Twitter; and Michael Moore posting bail for Julian Assange, which saw 30,000 Likes and Facebook shares.
Suffice it to say, Social News is big and getting bigger.
Stories You Might Like
That's why we're so excited to launch the first big feature in the next generation of Social News.
Using the articles and interests that you've made public on your Facebook profile — both from within Facebook and across the web — we've developed a recommendation engine to help point you towards HuffPost stories tailored to your personal tastes.
If, like me, you watch Jon Stewart every night, we'll serve you up the newest story about the comedian. A reader of The New York Times? Here's the latest. Where it gets interesting, though, is when the system starts to anticipate your interests. Hence, I may not be a fan of Madonna on Facebook, but because I'm a fan of similar artists, I get the latest on the Queen of Pop.
To help launch this exciting new product, we're inviting you, our Social News users, to give it a first run. You have to be connected through Facebook to participate.
Then, click here to try it out!
You'll notice in the Social News column a three-story recommendation module, which you can paginate through to find up to 30 stories that you might like.
How do we compute such things? I was crunching a few numbers on the whiteboard this morning, and... Just kidding; our super-smart engineers have been working for months to make this work.
Once you've signed up, let us know how the recommendations look. Good? Great? Way off base? Let us know by clicking the "Feedback" link within the module, or by tweeting at us.
Which brings me to my next point. We'll be rolling out a ton of new social features in early 2011, and we'd love your input.
One great way to do that is through Twitter. By following our Beta account, you can get updates on HuffPost's newest features, and help us tinker, test, and get them right.
Follow Rob Fishman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/rbfishman