Will Social News Sites Finally Work?

Digg.com is betting on it.

Digg.com hopes to dig out of its niche with new changes.

I’ve never been a big user of Digg.com or other social news sites.  I much prefer getting recommendations for news stories from more trusted sources via Twitter and Facebook.

If you are unfamiliar with Digg.com – it is a social networking site that allows users to post articles, videos and blog posts to a what amounts to an enormous bulletin board.  Other users vote on the posted content and the most popular stories rise to the top.  The idea lies in the concept of the “wisdom of crowds.”  The more people who vote for a story – the more interesting and valuable it is supposed to be.

Unfortunately, Digg.com often acts more like a mob than a crowd.

The challenge with Digg.com and other social news sites is the influence of power users.  A small segment of the Digg.com community with large numbers of followers ultimately decide which stories rise to the top and which do not.  As a result, Digg.com isn’t much different than a regular newspaper or magazine site where a handful of “editors” decide on the relevance of a story (and at least editors are trained to do this).

There have also cases of Digg.com power users peddling their influence.

Digg.com was a media darling for a while and one of the next big things in social media.  It didn’t pan out that way.  The site has become a niche destination competing with Reddit rather than with Facebook.

But at South by Southwest Conference in Austin last week, Digg executives announced a major overhaul of the site.

Basically, Digg.com is breaking down its walls.  The new Digg.com button won’t whisk you away to Digg.com, but will provide a quick and easy recommendation experience.  One of the small irritations with Digg.com was always the time it took to post anything.  That should now end.  And the comments on the Digg.com site can now be featured on the original site – allowing more robust disucssions at a single location.

The new site will allow users to log-in with Twitter, Facebook, OpenID, Google and Yahoo identities and even enable anonymous posting.  It will also give more power to content brands and eventually provide revenue sharing opportunities (what content creator doesn’t want to hear that?).

And – this will be happy news to marketing and communications executives – Digg.com will provide analytics about site traffic.

These all seem like excellent changes to make Digg.com more usable to regular Internet users.  It remains to be seen if the power user community that really runs the joint will rebel or embrace the changes.

What about you?  Do you use Digg.com or another social news site? What do you think about Digg’s plans?

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2 Responses to “Will Social News Sites Finally Work?”

  1. Digg.com is a pretty good Social Site. It helps websites get page rank and quality links. Your better off submitting a link to Digg so that you’ll get some Google Juice.

  2. I like http://www.subbmitt.com which is similar to digg and reddit, but there is no ranking. If the article is legit it will make the front page always. You also don’t need an account to post articles or to comment. The best thing is that you can comment all you want and you don’t get blocked like on Reddit.

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