Digging Digg and giving up on Google+Posted 17 October 2011 by Sandy Cosser
I remember when I first got into the SEO industry and Digg was untainted by rumours of gaming and spamming. Getting a story on Digg was something to be celebrated and moving up the Digg ladder was a bit like being on Mashable is today. It was something of a reliable news source, especially if you were looking for niche news. It wasn’t too long, however, before it fell out of favour amid complaints of favouritism and elitism. People thought power users had too much power; that their content was favoured above all else and that they were using it for evil gains.
Sphinn and StumbleUpon rose in stature, Facebook and Twitter entered the picture and Digg kind of stuttered along with its loyal user-base.
Last year it upset that loyal base when it drastically redesigned its interface. It learned a lesson that all social networks learn (although some learn more slowly than others) and that is that people don’t like change. The outcry was spectacular and users threatened to leave in droves.
But it weathered the storm and carried gamely on.
Let me tell you a secret
I like Digg.
I dig it, if you will.
I like the variety of news available. Yes, some of it is drivel. A lot of it is spam. Sponsored content appears at least once per page. But it doesn’t matter. It’s all part of the experience. I mean, Facebook and Twitter don’t deliver top notch goods all the time, do they?
The point is that you have to be selective. You have to think for yourself a little bit.
Gaming the system
And yes, you can game the system, in a manner of speaking.
It can be used to promote content (link bait) and draw traffic. This means that many people promise to digg your content if you digg theirs. It doesn’t matter what the content is as long as its dugg. People will digg content without reading, based purely on the source and often on the title.
I confess that if I just think that it’s something I’ll be interested in but can’t be bothered to read it I’ll digg it.
I don’t think of it as gaming the system. I think of it as helping someone get content seen and giving other people the option to read something that it cool.
Digg is also doing its best to woo back users and attract new ones with new features and enhancements, like its Newsrooms. Basically, you get to follow all the top news in categories that interest you. Currently the categories are pretty generic – business, lifestyle, travel – but they will get narrower as time goes on.
As a little aside, there is a newsroom for Lady Gaga, which I find absolutely fascinating.
Google+’s fortunes keep rising and falling. It was a hit with early techie adopters and then leveled off (even dropped some) and then it went public and traffic went up a whopping 1269% in a single week; only to drop by much the same in much the same period of time.
Once more I have a confession to make. I was excited about Google+. I couldn’t wait to try it. I thought it would rock.
I was disappointed. Firstly, almost none of my friends are on it (they prefer Facebook) so there wasn’t much point. And, if you don’t have people to add to your circles and hangouts and whatnot then using Google+ becomes something of a challenge. At least to me.
I know a couple of people who gave Google+ a really good go, but they have the same complaints and abandoned it in favour of Facebook.
Where do you stand in the battle of Big F vs. Big G?
(Image by topgold, CC by 2.0, via Flickr)