Sunday, October 07, 2007

The New Digg - Social Networking or News Site

Guest Post (Deborah from Life in the Fast Lane , an experienced Digg user, has kindly accepted my request to share her views on the new Digg features.):

Is Digg becoming more of an imminent social site than a news site? I'm not about to write regarding the new features on Digg in, respect to the features themselves, as you can read about them in detail on the post for Digg Social Networking. Rather, I'm going to discuss the cause and effects of these new features from an active user's perspective.

Shoutouts

The new Shoutouts have provided a humanized aspect to Digg which was sorely lacking -- we finally have the capability to communicate with those who have long been our 'friends'. But that's where the excitement ends.

Shoutouts appear under Friend's Activities, which affects everyone that's in your network -- all friends see sent shoutouts. Unlike social network sites such as MyBlogLog and BlogCatalog, you don't have the capacity to send private messages. The feature is limited to 10 pages, so one must bear in mind not to overdo it.

Those who don't use the site to a large extent or have many friends in their network need to consider that those who have befriended them may very well have a large list of friends. When excessive or unnecessary shoutouts are sent, your friends are missing stories that are being dugg up from friends within their network. You're going to have some very displeased friends who may very well 'unfriend' you.

Sending links in shoutouts has its pros and cons. There is potential for abuse, so adding friends to your network is not something to be done without caution. If a user is new to the site I'm rather leery, whereas I might not have been so stringent in the past. There is capacity to set parameters to only receive shoutouts from friends to reduce unsolicited messages from those who might abuse the feature.

The Diggs for Friends Upcoming has been removed. As a result, people have been reduced to sending links to friends in shoutouts they think would like to see a story. Rumors have it that the algorithms detect this and don't bear much or any merit if you digg a story in this method. Sending links may also portray a negative perception of gaming the system as Digg has occasionally been accused of, be it right or wrong. Again, there are only 10 pages, so one must be conservative with the number of links sent to friends.

Friends Activities

The Friends Activities has been drastically reduced from its former format to 10 pages.

Limitations to Friends Activities

  • You can only see the title for the digg and avatars for a limited number of friends who have dugg the story.

  • You can't see what's occurred over the course of several hours, let alone the entire day.

  • There is redundancy in many other friends digging the same stories.

  • No display to show if you've already dugg the story.

  • No display of URL from where the story was dugg.

  • No display for who dugg the story up.

  • No description for the digg. If the title has been poorly written for description it can very likely affect the number of diggs it receives.

  • Senseless excess clicking to see all of the above missing information, then back again to Friends Activities.
What is the purpose for all of these restrictions? To prevent blind digging? This would make no sense as the feature is associated to friends. What then, if not to avert blind digging? Advertising and page views? Page views could be one explanation for which income can be earned from Apsense. As for advertising, many have cited statistics that reveal diggers in general do not click on ads.

Bugs in the feature

  • Continually being bumped out, requiring logging in again. Once logged in your vote won't register without first refreshing the page, then several clicks to return to Friends Activities.

  • Frequently you cannot go beyond anywhere from 5 to 9 pages and simply receive a blank page. Refreshing the browser doesn't help.

  • When viewing a friend's profile, the back button is frequently disabled.
All of this could spell disaster for Digg with users opting for other social news sites. How much more can Digg afford to lose after the mass exodus of top users / submitters when the Top 100 List was removed?

Removal of Friends Upcoming Diggs

I sorely miss the Friends Upcoming Diggs feature. I've added friends to my network whom I trust based on what they digg up. This section was what I looked forward to most.

How has the removal of Friends Upcoming affected users?
  • You now have to rely on the limited 10 page Friend's Activities, but with the high volume of activity you can't see what's occurred over the course of several hours, let alone the day.

  • Users' only alternative for daily diggs is to filter through the plethora of diggs in Upcoming.

  • Near impossible to find diggs in Upcoming that friends have submitted or voted for through the course of an entire day.

  • Stories that are hot but have not yet hit front page are not brought forward.
I find countless stories on front page when I arrive that I wasn't even aware had been dugg to begin with. I'm a hopeless news junkie … if you're anything like me, what else are we missing that we would have liked to have seen?

Social Networking

I've used Digg as a news site from day one when I registered -- it's the one single site that's most often my daily designation. I can't see myself using it as a networking site … I can't even keep up with those I'm on already.

My thoughts are that those who are die-hard and long-term diggers, and those who are key players in the community won't use the added social features. It's difficult enough as it is maintaining anonymity from some who would hound them to submit stories on their behalf, attempting to take advantage.

I don't as much as add others at Facebook unless I know them either personally or their reputation to know if they're 'safe'. People can learn more about you than you care to share with perfect strangers. Why would you want to do this on Digg? I save that for MBL and BC.

But as new users sign up, the entire system may very well evolve to more of a social site than a news site. I would have much preferred that they used the KISS system (Keep It Simple Stupid) -- provide shoutouts which was sorely missing, and leave the social networking to sites that are already doing it best.

In closing, all that I'd really like to emphasize is, Digg, PLEASE bring back Friends Upcoming Diggs! And HURRY!

Written for Sueblimely - Discovering Blogging, author Deborah Petersen of Life in the Fast Lane, a blog about art, the odd, the unusual, weird sciences, offbeat news, and unusual discoveries. Popular stories include: Sex Slave Trade - One Mans Mission for Salvation, Jay Lonewolf Morales - Colorblind Painter Extraordinaire, and World Record for Underwater Dining.

Related Post: Digg Social Networking

tag , alexa

5 comments:

Kuanyin said...

Excellent post! I finally learned about Digg from this post. Even though I've been a longtime Digg member, I've rarely used it. I should have known something new was up when Pearl added me as friend recently!

pearl said...

just in time post for me :-) I was talking to Deborah on SU yesterday on the difference between Digging and Voting!! I didn't use Digg a whole lot but need to learn more of it now since Deb brought to my attention the other day that someone had been using my Avatar on Digg.... thats gotten to me needless to say :-) So, i hope to use it actively now!

Nice informative post Deb..

RennyBA said...

Very readable, informative and interesting post. I registered a long time ago, but have just been a lurker. Obviously I have to digg into this :-)

Your in my network, so thats a start.

Wishing you a great week ahead!

Kim said...

great post Deborah !!!!
seems we will have to call you the Queen of Digg ...great information... :D

Deborah said...

A bit of info in update on shoutouts ...

You now have the capacity to adjust settings for shoutouts to appear private within your own profile to either your friends only, or to all. You also have the capability to switch them off entirely from others.

As predicted, shoutouts have become abused. Some had left them open to all, as they had counted on the honor system to not abuse it, and were forced to adjust settings to only receive them from friends.

Even still, some of the top diggers have been forced to switch them off entirely, with reports of receiving shoutouts from friends anywhere between 100 to several hundred per day.

Thanks for inviting me to write this Sue, and I'm glad it was able to help shed some light on the new system.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The New Digg - Social Networking or News Site

Guest Post (Deborah from Life in the Fast Lane , an experienced Digg user, has kindly accepted my request to share her views on the new Digg features.):

Is Digg becoming more of an imminent social site than a news site? I'm not about to write regarding the new features on Digg in, respect to the features themselves, as you can read about them in detail on the post for Digg Social Networking. Rather, I'm going to discuss the cause and effects of these new features from an active user's perspective.

Shoutouts

The new Shoutouts have provided a humanized aspect to Digg which was sorely lacking -- we finally have the capability to communicate with those who have long been our 'friends'. But that's where the excitement ends.

Shoutouts appear under Friend's Activities, which affects everyone that's in your network -- all friends see sent shoutouts. Unlike social network sites such as MyBlogLog and BlogCatalog, you don't have the capacity to send private messages. The feature is limited to 10 pages, so one must bear in mind not to overdo it.

Those who don't use the site to a large extent or have many friends in their network need to consider that those who have befriended them may very well have a large list of friends. When excessive or unnecessary shoutouts are sent, your friends are missing stories that are being dugg up from friends within their network. You're going to have some very displeased friends who may very well 'unfriend' you.

Sending links in shoutouts has its pros and cons. There is potential for abuse, so adding friends to your network is not something to be done without caution. If a user is new to the site I'm rather leery, whereas I might not have been so stringent in the past. There is capacity to set parameters to only receive shoutouts from friends to reduce unsolicited messages from those who might abuse the feature.

The Diggs for Friends Upcoming has been removed. As a result, people have been reduced to sending links to friends in shoutouts they think would like to see a story. Rumors have it that the algorithms detect this and don't bear much or any merit if you digg a story in this method. Sending links may also portray a negative perception of gaming the system as Digg has occasionally been accused of, be it right or wrong. Again, there are only 10 pages, so one must be conservative with the number of links sent to friends.

Friends Activities

The Friends Activities has been drastically reduced from its former format to 10 pages.

Limitations to Friends Activities

  • You can only see the title for the digg and avatars for a limited number of friends who have dugg the story.

  • You can't see what's occurred over the course of several hours, let alone the entire day.

  • There is redundancy in many other friends digging the same stories.

  • No display to show if you've already dugg the story.

  • No display of URL from where the story was dugg.

  • No display for who dugg the story up.

  • No description for the digg. If the title has been poorly written for description it can very likely affect the number of diggs it receives.

  • Senseless excess clicking to see all of the above missing information, then back again to Friends Activities.
What is the purpose for all of these restrictions? To prevent blind digging? This would make no sense as the feature is associated to friends. What then, if not to avert blind digging? Advertising and page views? Page views could be one explanation for which income can be earned from Apsense. As for advertising, many have cited statistics that reveal diggers in general do not click on ads.

Bugs in the feature

  • Continually being bumped out, requiring logging in again. Once logged in your vote won't register without first refreshing the page, then several clicks to return to Friends Activities.

  • Frequently you cannot go beyond anywhere from 5 to 9 pages and simply receive a blank page. Refreshing the browser doesn't help.

  • When viewing a friend's profile, the back button is frequently disabled.
All of this could spell disaster for Digg with users opting for other social news sites. How much more can Digg afford to lose after the mass exodus of top users / submitters when the Top 100 List was removed?

Removal of Friends Upcoming Diggs

I sorely miss the Friends Upcoming Diggs feature. I've added friends to my network whom I trust based on what they digg up. This section was what I looked forward to most.

How has the removal of Friends Upcoming affected users?
  • You now have to rely on the limited 10 page Friend's Activities, but with the high volume of activity you can't see what's occurred over the course of several hours, let alone the day.

  • Users' only alternative for daily diggs is to filter through the plethora of diggs in Upcoming.

  • Near impossible to find diggs in Upcoming that friends have submitted or voted for through the course of an entire day.

  • Stories that are hot but have not yet hit front page are not brought forward.
I find countless stories on front page when I arrive that I wasn't even aware had been dugg to begin with. I'm a hopeless news junkie … if you're anything like me, what else are we missing that we would have liked to have seen?

Social Networking

I've used Digg as a news site from day one when I registered -- it's the one single site that's most often my daily designation. I can't see myself using it as a networking site … I can't even keep up with those I'm on already.

My thoughts are that those who are die-hard and long-term diggers, and those who are key players in the community won't use the added social features. It's difficult enough as it is maintaining anonymity from some who would hound them to submit stories on their behalf, attempting to take advantage.

I don't as much as add others at Facebook unless I know them either personally or their reputation to know if they're 'safe'. People can learn more about you than you care to share with perfect strangers. Why would you want to do this on Digg? I save that for MBL and BC.

But as new users sign up, the entire system may very well evolve to more of a social site than a news site. I would have much preferred that they used the KISS system (Keep It Simple Stupid) -- provide shoutouts which was sorely missing, and leave the social networking to sites that are already doing it best.

In closing, all that I'd really like to emphasize is, Digg, PLEASE bring back Friends Upcoming Diggs! And HURRY!

Written for Sueblimely - Discovering Blogging, author Deborah Petersen of Life in the Fast Lane, a blog about art, the odd, the unusual, weird sciences, offbeat news, and unusual discoveries. Popular stories include: Sex Slave Trade - One Mans Mission for Salvation, Jay Lonewolf Morales - Colorblind Painter Extraordinaire, and World Record for Underwater Dining.

Related Post: Digg Social Networking

tag , alexa

5 comments:

Kuanyin said...

Excellent post! I finally learned about Digg from this post. Even though I've been a longtime Digg member, I've rarely used it. I should have known something new was up when Pearl added me as friend recently!

pearl said...

just in time post for me :-) I was talking to Deborah on SU yesterday on the difference between Digging and Voting!! I didn't use Digg a whole lot but need to learn more of it now since Deb brought to my attention the other day that someone had been using my Avatar on Digg.... thats gotten to me needless to say :-) So, i hope to use it actively now!

Nice informative post Deb..

RennyBA said...

Very readable, informative and interesting post. I registered a long time ago, but have just been a lurker. Obviously I have to digg into this :-)

Your in my network, so thats a start.

Wishing you a great week ahead!

Kim said...

great post Deborah !!!!
seems we will have to call you the Queen of Digg ...great information... :D

Deborah said...

A bit of info in update on shoutouts ...

You now have the capacity to adjust settings for shoutouts to appear private within your own profile to either your friends only, or to all. You also have the capability to switch them off entirely from others.

As predicted, shoutouts have become abused. Some had left them open to all, as they had counted on the honor system to not abuse it, and were forced to adjust settings to only receive them from friends.

Even still, some of the top diggers have been forced to switch them off entirely, with reports of receiving shoutouts from friends anywhere between 100 to several hundred per day.

Thanks for inviting me to write this Sue, and I'm glad it was able to help shed some light on the new system.