Thursday, October 07, 2010

Rethinking General Purpose Social News Websites

The latest from Digg's downfall - Digg is apparently trying to get inactive users to start using the site. “Come Alive On Digg", the email from Digg reportedly says. Now, why would users, this writer included, do that?

1. Digg as a source of traffic: Even if I were to believe that the bury brigades are really buried on Digg, the window of opportunity (for making the home page) for small publishers is very, very small, what with all that constant river of hundreds of copycat stories in queue.

2. Digg as a town hall: Basically, a social news website is a place for discussions centered around submitted news links. Think of Digg as a giant (spammy) blog network, where the comments are not quite of the quality of Slashdot. (also see Twitter is a giant blog) A noisy town hall, where nothing important gets done or said, is of no use to anyone.

3. Digg as a 'too' general purpose social news site: Reddit has its many sub-reddits. Hacker News is devoted to news for and about tech entrepreneurs. Slashdot has the technology angle covered pretty well. The lesson from these successful social news sites is, Digg needs focus. Digg needs categories. Digg also needs editors/'owners' for these categories.

4. Digg as a social network: This is scourge of social media, every website wants to be everything. I have trouble updating Facebook, as it is. From my past experience, the dominant form of social groupings on Digg tend to be of webmasters and marketers trying to scam the system.

As for the question, will I go back to Digg? I don't think so.

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