USAToday has added social media features which transform the site from less of a McNews page into a sticky community site which takes a page from Yahoo News and Topix.net.
The new social features which USAToday has added include reader comments, avatars and profiles, along with photo uploads, story tagging and story recommendations.
Steve Rubel of Micro Persuasion notes that USAToday has not gone far enough:
In addition to building these features, the media need to bridge their communities to the ones where we already spend our time. RSS, widgets and embedded content would help here. For example, USA Today should let us add our blog, Twitter or Facebook feeds or even embedded YouTube vids to our profile pages.
The ability to link from a reader’s profile on a news site to that reader’s favorite blogs and social networks would be a courageous move by USAToday, but I’m sure that the spamming opportunities opened by such a change would be much more difficult to police than comment moderation.
What USAToday has done is a start in the right direction, and I would not be surprised to see the community connection that Rubel suggests implemented within USAToday, but under more of a controlled setting.