AOL has introduced a new social networking platform, Socialthing, aimed at bringing social networking services to websites and enables publishers to attract new users.

MediaGlow, AOL’s centralised publishing unit, is in the process of deploying Socialthing across its network of more than 75 sites, projected by the web institution to reach about 181 million unduplicated users worldwide.

Socialthing premiered on TheBoot – a popular online country music destination – and will launch on Cinematical, a blog for movie enthusiasts.

“Socialthing enables us to extend each MediaGlow brand into a true social experience. With one simple implementation we can connect 181 million people and let them socialise with their network of friends around the topics and content they love,” explains Bill Wilson, president of MediaGlow.

Socialthing will feature a unified sign-on option making it easy for users to log on to the site using their AOL screen name and password, ‘Social Syndication’ to let users automatically experiences with their social network, including their Bebo, AIM, ICQ, Facebook, Myspace and Twitter friends, onsite chat and instant messaging and its open platform status will enable third-party developers to build their applications on top of the Socialthing platform.

The platform will let publishers insert their own content directly into the feed, creating direct engagement with users on the site.

Publishers can also turn their content into conversations by offering signed-in users the ability to enter public chatrooms and launch an instant messaging window directly from the site.

Joanna Shields, president of AOL People Networks, indicates Socialthing aims to make it easy for people to share their experiences in real time with their friends, wherever they are on the web.

“Built on AOL’s best-of-breed messaging technology… social networking and media aggregation tools, Socialthing enables users to converse, connect and broadcast messages and their activities to friends on the internet,” says Shields.