Social News tends to be very transactional in that, you ask and you get something. You submit a story, you get people to "vote" (Digg, Mixx, Sphinn or Kirtsy "it up"), and then what? What's the gain? What's the return? Where's the building of relationships or trust? What comes next?
The gain is for the individual users to attain fame and status of being a "top" user. With that fame and status, also comes a little bit of power on some of these Social News sites that base their algorithms off of the status of the people who submit or vote (up or down) on a submission. The other gain is perhaps you might (big might) attain traffic and a "butload" of links, as I heard it explained once - I'm still waiting for a measurement value on "buttload" btw. ;)
Looking more at the gaining of traffic and links though, again, where's the value social media wise? There's certainly value SEO wise, links are valuable and so is traffic. I find it tough to see a true in-depth social media return here. How can you form a relationship with the community or audience from social news sites? It's really tough to do it when you probably don't even know who's reading your article or blog post, let alone what they thought of it or how they reacted to it beyond the link, or the vote.
Sure there are comments, but on sites like digg comments consist of "Way cool man", "I agree", "Great article", or the dreaded "Buried because its spam". There's not much opportunity to really start a conversation, especially when you consider how much most of these social news sites, hate marketers.
Social News sites aren't alone here, social bookmarking sites (del.icio.us, furl, diigo, etc.) also can fall into this realm of "non-opportunity" to really build a social relationship. However, some of these sites are upgrading and enhancing their user interfaces to allow communities to build and be more interactive with one another.
With social networking sites, the gain is in building relationships and communicating, the same with forums and even microblogging sites like Twitter and Plurk. In these social media sites, the communities seem to be the biggest benefactors. With social news sites, the owners of the sites seem to be the biggest beneficiaries. The users submit the stories, and promote them, to attain "fame", but it's few and far between that these top users, actually get rewarded by the site itself for generating all the content, traffic and revenue. As David Harry discussed with me, it's tough to even get a "Thank you, Great Job" from these social news sites, for all the time spent generating the content that makes their sites work.
So where's the social in these Social News sites. Well I guess it comes from perspective. If you think asking for a Digg, Sphinn or a Mixx is being social and you receive it, then heck that's it. But if you think social media's a bit deeper than that, Social News might not be the place to start your strategy.
So, I'm curious, what say you?