One of the tenets of The Huffington Post is that conversation is as important to a news site as information. Today, it expands in that direction with The Gauge, a new feature on the UK site that measures readers’ opinions on the top stories of the day.
The most innovative thing about The Gauge is that it measures responses on Twitter or Facebook, as well as letting readers vote directly on the site.
HuffPost describes The Gauge as a “real-time opinion barometer.” The site posts an assertion related to a top story (for example, referencing the recent London riots: “Courts should try riot teens as adults”), and readers vote on whether they agree or disagree.
After voting, the reader can explain and share the vote on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtags #agree or #disagree. The Gauge voting page displays the latest comments from HuffPost bloggers and Twitter users.
The Gauge’s distributed voting system encourages social media sharing without forcing people to leave Twitter or Facebook to weigh in. It should drive more attention and traffic to the HuffPost’s top news stories, and perhaps more importantly help it dominate the news conversation.
The Gauge started as the idea of a UK developer and for now is only on HuffPost’s UK site. But it’s possible it will come to the main U.S. site in the future, said Mario Ruiz, vice president of communications for HuffPost parent company AOL.