Social Media News Sites...
After looking at the sites linked through Thing 11 (Mixx, Newsvine, reddit and Digg), I think they might serve a purpose for home and professional use. These kinds of sites would be good for following popular stories that patrons or anyone else might inquire about. I think of all the sites, I liked the look and feel of Newsvine the best. It looked the most professional in terms of page layout and design. And I like that it was mostly news articles and not so much what the other sites appeared to be, which looked like message threads about anything and everything. Those kinds of sites I don't think would hold much use for the workplace, but a news-related site would. While looking at Newsvine, it was neat seeing the updated linked stories changing every few seconds (though it was also a tad bit distracting at the same time). I consider myself a fast reader, but I couldn't get through many of the little blurbs before they moved on down the line and a new one took the top spot. But still, it was my favorite of the sites.
As far as productivity enhancer vs productivity detractor, I think they could be a little of both. They could enhance productivity because with one website, you can get a quick feel for that news that is most important to those sharing to that site, which is useful if you need to keep up with headlines and popular news stories. But at the same time, some of the sites (I feel these would be reddit and digg), could be considered productivity detractors because the information on those seemed more like opinion pieces and message board threads than actual news stories. There were lots of things on those sites that didn't necessarily pertain to news at all, and the "headlines" on those sites are distracting and not necessarily informational.
I will admit that I tried to share a news story from another site to Newsvine, but it was prompting me to sign up for an account, which I did not want to do. I then tried reddit and Digg and got registration prompts for those, as well. So much for attempting to share. I just don't feel like I need another registration right now (or at least if I do, I should create a junky email account to use for those kinds of purposes). I did read a few of the news articles on Newsvine that I might have not otherwise looked at or seen on my regular news sites. So overall, this was an interesting Thing exercise.