I Hated Digg. Now I’m a Believer!

Digg

Digg Just Became the Best Social News Site.

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know that I’m a big Netscape (well ok, Propeller) fan, and I’m usually quick to point out the flaws in Digg. With one major update last night, Digg just became second to none in social news. Seriously, even if you hated Digg before, these new updates will change your perspective. What are these great options I speak of? Let’s take a look.

1. True sociability. Imagine the ease of use of Facebook to find friends in Digg, notorious for having an awful profile / friend options. You can also easily add your im accounts, multiple websites, blogs, Facebook links, and the like.

Some great profile updates in Digg

2. Friends. You can now search for your friends that you might just recognize by name, avatar, or on someone else’s friend list – you’d be surprised on how many people you already know that have Digg accounts that are not yet your Digg friends. Adding friends in Digg used to be the slowest, most painful part of the whole site. No more stupid “hey, you’re adding too many friends” annoyance messages. You’re free to keep adding friends, so have at it.

Once in your profile, click the Add Friends link. You’ll be taken to a much improved page that gives you options to see what Digg friends you already have in your Gmai, AOL, and other popular email account. It also shows you who has befriended you, something that was a lengthy process to get to in the past.

New ways to add friends in Digg

3. Shouts.
There are some things in the new Digg that could easily become abused, though. One such feature is shouting. Still, there are many positive qualities about Shouting. Let’s say you find a friend and you want to let them know about a story you think is great. Before, you would have to hope that they were watching their friend activity and Digg you, but now you are top billing in their profile when they login, depending on their settings. Shouting is also a great thing when you’re just adding someone that you know from somewhere else that’s now on Digg:

This is how shouting appears in your profile

You can also shout to your friends by sharing a story (something Digg actually got from Netscape/Propeller!). Just click share on a story and select the friends you want to shout it to (you can also select all of them).

By the default settings, whenever people shout at you, you’ll be emailed. This is similar to Facebook, and will fill up your inbox quickly. If you don’t mind it and want emails all day long, have at it. Otherwise, you can control your email settings pretty easily on the email settings page:

Email setting in Digg, and how to opt-out of them

Don’t take my word for it, check it all out for yourself! (Hey, it worked for Reading Rainbow).

17 Comments

  1. Tad Chef

    Well, those minor tweaks do not solve the biggest problem of Digg (and Propeller) or any other linear social news site. With the “front page only receives attention and traffic”-policy it pushes the lowest common denominator and everything that’s inbetween gets ignored. I’m sick and tired of the whole Apple, game console and Linux stuff. Thus I prefer StumbleUpon and social browsing.

  2. brian

    @Tad: good points. However, I take issue with a few things that you have said:

    1 – StumbleUpon is great, no question. I just don’t consider it a social news site. It is more like social bookmarking, and my critique was about social news sites.

    2 – The front page isn’t the only spot on Digg that receives attention and traffic. The upcoming and different topic pages also receive considerable attention.

    3 – There’s just so much Apple, game console, and Linux stuff I can take, too 🙂
    Digg has branched out a bit. Consider that among the top 5 most popular news stories right now:

    Sony Confirms SIXAXIS Rumble at TGS Keynote
    Secretary of State Rice tells nuke watchdog to butt out of Iran diplomacy
    Chief of the U.S. Copyright Office Doesn’t Own a Computer
    Philanthropist Has Given Away an Estimated $4 Billion
    Mac OS X Version of OpenOffice Slated for Next September

    There is other stuff in the mix. I’m hoping that the changes that Digg has launched will level the playing field somewhat.

  3. Wayne Smallman

    Hi Brian, looks like we’re both diggn’ Digg. For me, once more after a long period of dislike.

    Personally, the new Social Networking stuff (here I’m thinking about the Shouts and Shares) will be the real killer features…

  4. brian

    @wayne: time will tell on this one. Seems like the kinds of changes that people will either love or hate.

  5. David Bradley Blog Tips

    I removed the Digg plugin from Google Desktop cos I got sooooo bored with all the dire headlines that were appearing, but this kind of move forward could bring me back into the fold, at least for the SN aspects…

    db

  6. brian

    @db: I know what you mean. These new features will make Digg interesting, for better or worse.

  7. Dan and Jennifer

    This is definitely a move in the right direction for Digg! I also think that the new Propeller.com sight is better than I expected. If you combine the new Digg with Propeller, their baby would be the perfect social media site. 😉

    Of course, I haven’t gotten intimate with Yahoo’s new Mash site yet…

  8. brian

    @dan and jennifer: Yes, I hope Digg will go in the right direction with this.

    Propeller seems to be doing well so far – top stories are still holding at a good number of votes, which shows a certain confidence level.

    As far as Yahoo’s Mash site – expect a post of that soon…

  9. AlfredKo

    where can i see the ‘share a story’ function in digg?
    I still prefer Netscape for now. 😉

  10. Sujan Patel

    Great outline of digg’s new features

  11. brian

    @alfredko: the share story is all over the place: in the top stories, different categories, upcoming, etc. It’s in line with the other options:
    comments – share – bury – username – time submitted
    You may still prefer Netscape, but call that Propeller around here now 🙂

    @sujan: thank you very much!

  12. Wayne Smallman

    There’s been the odd few “the sky is falling” headlines, but I can’t honestly figure out what their problem is.

    How on earth adding tools to allow people to actually communicate directly can be perceived as being bad is utterly perplexing.

    For me, Digg took a major and decisive step forward…

  13. brian

    @wayne: believe it. Many Diggers don’t want Digg to become a Myspace or Facebook, and prefer to separate the social news from the social networking.

  14. BarbaraKB

    All good commentary here. We shall see. There are many spammers over at digg who are also *very* happy with the changes, not just the *big* users and submitters. There are new ways to abuse digg now and you can head over there today to find out how they’re doing ;-}. Hopefully, those spammer issues will be addressed also.

    Me? I’ve added more friends and may be deleting others. We’ll see more MSM news and less of the weird and wild that the kewl kids love. That may be good. I honestly think that’s what Mr. Rose wants ‘cuz many advertisers won’t go *near* digg. They just might in the next 3 months. Time will tell, in the mean time, come on over and digg!

    Peace.

  15. brian

    @BarbaraKB: great points! Love it or hate it, the new features are keeping users on their toes! It will be interesting to see how the news story topics may change.

  16. ravi karandeekar

    I always loved Digg. Now, i love it more.

  17. brian

    @ravi: that’s the spirit. We’ll see how the dust settles on the new Digg changes.

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