Washington Post office
Credit: dionhinchcliffe on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

The Washington Post has launched a new social trending feature, offering a live update of which Post stories are receiving the most referrals from social platforms.

The Post Pulse feature updates the feed every 15 minutes to show how the "velocity of referrals" has changed.

"It's a little bit of a different look," Cory Haik, executive producer for digital news at the Washington Post told Journalism.co.uk. "It's not necessarily the most talked about on Twitter, or the most talked about on Facebook or Google Plus or Reddit or Stumbleupon, but it really is the traffic that's coming from those places to our content and very much in real-time."

Post Pulse grab

Users can access the feed via a button on article pages on their desktop, as well as from the homepage of the mobile website.

"What I really love about it is that we put it on our mobile homepage," Haik added. "To me that is the coolest thing, that we're actually able to put these stories on the homepage of our mobile site.

"I feel mobile web is huge, it's almost a quarter of our unique audience at the moment. It's just a really rapidly growing platform for us and I'm really thrilled to iterate and develop on it in this way."

She added: "People on the mobile web that are using their smartphones, they're also looking for this kind of content.

"That's helpful to them that we're telling them 'here's what people are reading on social from our site and we're going to give it to you'.

"You can't do mobile without social, you can't do social without mobile," she said, adding "I think that they're really coming together and this is sort of the first product that we've put forth that says that."

This is the first iteration of the feature, which the Washington Post now plans to build on, such as by developing "a different presentation for it" or being able to detect users arriving from social media who could then be provided with "even more social Post Pulse content", she said.

"But I think the mobile thing is really significant for us in that way because it's just where things are heading."

Haik added that there is also the possibility of "segmenting by where people are on the globe ... so not just what's trending on social to our site but then from where", as well as segmented by news section.

"We're actually going to be following it quite closely and figuring out is this something that users want or not."

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