I don’t know if this bespeaks a major trend, but I’ve noticed that of the slew of news and friend aggregators, services seem built on a choice between aggregation of content around people (as sources) or aggregation of people around content (as sources).
Aggregators and Sources: People or Content?
The distinction between contributors and contributions is at the core of social media in general. Design limitations, including allocation of screen real estate, navigation schemes, actions and features/functions, and the resulting social content and practices these limitations produce, would seem to suggest that any aggregation tool will stake a preference on either the person or his/her content.
I don’t know if this suggests that there’s a corresponding division among user preferences and interests: to prefer people over content, or content over people. As users, do we fall into two camps? Are there two types of social media users — those drawn to the social face and those drawn to the media face? Those who relate to people first, and those who relate to content first? Those who pay attention to the person, and whose trust and interest aligns with personality, relationship, authority, etc? Versus those whose interests connect with content, statements, news, and talk — over and above the people posting and doing the talking?
But between friendfeed, digg, stumbleupon, socialmedian, twitter, facebook, and scores of others now in the business of assembling audiences around social content, it does seem that some are more conversational (twitter and feed aggregators like FF) and some more topical (digg, socialmedian, the new strands).
Perhaps, indeed, some of us are more attentive (in general) to who’s talking, and some to what’s being said.