I was recently introduced to Portland-based Vocal Nation, a service that is part feed reader, part social political-news system.
Okay, I hear you. Any time the term “social news” is bandied about, the phrase “Digg clone” immediately jumps to mind.
But, let’s not jump there so quickly. I think Vocal Nation has a specific application and some interesting functionality that make it worthy of a second look, and potentially a strong niche showing.
In an effort to differentiate itself from Digg, Digg clones and the Digg voting system all together, Vocal Nation’s new feature helps set it apart in two primary ways: an automated submission process and a sliding scale used for voting.
The “automated submission process” is Vocal Nation’s feed-slurping feature. Point Vocal Nation at an RSS feed and it will consume the details, automatically feeding articles into the voting system. Not only does it make the current set of articles available to the Vocal Nation community for voting, it keeps track of the feed and continues to update Vocal Nation as the feed updates.
As an example, here’s the Silicon Florist on Vocal Nation.
While Vocal Nation can handle any site’s RSS feed, it becomes truly useful when it’s handling news on politics. And, that’s where Vocal Nation’s second voting slider comes into play. With that slider, the service encourages users to provide feedback on each article’s political disposition. Is it conservative? Liberal? Neutral?
And that news arena is where Vocal Nation could really shine. With the number of political blogs in Oregon, alone, Vocal Nation could prove to be a key to navigating the girth of coverage that is sure to overwhelm us until November. And likely after.
When you combine those submission and voting features with its pleasant UI and some subtle AJAX transitions, the Vocal Nation site merits a second look.
For more information or to try the service yourself, visit Vocal Nation.