Skip navigation

On Saturday night at SXSWi, Jay Adelson, CEO of Digg.com, announced that the company is in the process of completely rebuilding their site. He highlighted many new features that the new Digg will utilize and discussed how its new layout will completely change the way the site is run. The changes have the potential to increase the usage of the site, but there is also some speculation that they may not be exactly what the Digg community is looking for. Below I’ve listed some of the changes and how they might affect the community and site as a whole.

Personalized homepages
For several years Digg users have viewed Digg.com’s front page as the holy grail of social media affluence. Only those stories that have a high number or high rate of diggs will reach the front page. Though the vast majority of users don’t regularly submit stories to the site, those that do can have a hard time reaching that coveted front page and especially the top ten. Some sites have reported that an elite 20 users have control of about 25% of Digg’s front page content; the top 100 users control about 56% of the content, which has been a huge point of criticism from the community.

Changing the front page will drastically alter the way content is shared and stories are viewed. Hypothetically, the new setup will allow Digg members to see exactly what they want as soon as they access the site. This is good on paper, but some users might be a bit turned off or at least uncomfortable relying on the Digg algorithm to choose what stories they want to read. Since the current build emphasizes browsing for content, there could be some community backlash when this is implemented. Though it makes sense, it’s strange that Adelson mentioned non-members seeing the original site as a downside, when it’s been the standard for such a long time.

Power Users
As I mentioned earlier, there has always been a looming presence of elite members dominating the community. Mashable noted Adelson’s remarks on a new rewards system for users who are digging content, allowing said members to become experts in a certain niche area of the website. While the top 100 members might be a bit peeved that their work is being devalued, the vast majority of users will be very happy about this change. In the past when I’ve seen a story that’s not on Digg and is interesting, I’ve neglected to submit it despite being a very active user. Even though I have dugg an average of ~13 stories per day over the course of 3 years, content I submit currently has little weight because I haven’t “gamed” the system. I’m interested to see how the new rewards system will work and if it really will eliminate power users.

Third-party sites, the Digg Effect, Anonymous submissions & Speed
Two features that the new Digg will implement are bound to have positive reception, if they work. Those features are a faster overall speed of the site and an elimination of the Digg Effect on other sites. Adelson claims that their new model will lessen the huge boost that a popular Digg story would bring to publishers. “An unexpected rush of visitors is ‘hard to monetize,’ Adelson said. ‘It’s like gambling. What you need,’ he continued, ‘is more predictable traffic,'” the LA Times wrote. Again, this sounds great for both users and publishers alike, but we’ll see how it pans out in practice.

The other two announced features have me a little leery. Publisher & anonymous article submission could completely ruin the community and atmosphere of the site. Currently Digg “frown[s] on publishers who submit their own stories. It makes sense: if your content is really good, someone else will want to submit it,” Econsultancy said. Adelson said that what was once a few thousand stories a day could increase to millions, as if it’s a good thing. Personally I don’t understand how anonymous submission is ever a good thing, except for Digg analytics to show how much more traffic the site is hosting. Another interesting but risky move is the weight of third-party sites on Digg submissions. I know that Digg is very much overshadowed by social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, but adding content from those sites is just asking for clutter. Maybe the new layout will compensate for the vastly greater amount of stories, but I’m skeptical at this point. While there are many announced features which will improve Digg, I’ll have to see for myself and let my opinion be known during the alpha testing.

Despite many bloggers’ predictions, it appears that the Digg community is backing the proposed changes (at least for now). If you’re a Digg user, do you foresee any problems with the proposed site? What things do you like or would you like to see instead? And for non-Diggers, will these changes alter the way you go about sharing/finding content on the web, or will you stick to your usual sites?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: