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Guardian Unlimited will hand some of its social media platforms development to Texas-based Pluck (see announcement and PG). Specifically, it will use its SiteLife suite, which gives comment, rating, video, forum, blogs and social profile features to readers. The Guardian’s growing number of blogs is currently powered by Six Apart’s MovableType and some other commenting facilities have been tacked on to existing in-house systems. Now Kevin Anderson and Meg Pickard get to make one of their biggest platform changes since their appointments as head of blogging
and interaction and head of communities and engagement in 2006 and 2007 respectively.
The paper had previously used Pluck’s BlogBurst service to aggregate material from independent bloggers writing about the 2006 football World Cup. Amongst SiteLife’s most interesting features – the Personas functionality, which, used to good effect by USAToday.com and Washingtonpost.com, lets readers add profiles used to display their latest comments from across the network, as well as photos, friends and a kind of personal blog. So this deal, which is a good one for Pluck given the size of The Guardian’s online reach, shows how Britain’s biggest online newspaper will be adding a more integrated social media experience to its offering later this year. Telegraph.co.uk has similar functionality under its MyTelegraph banner.