There was a time when a story on the front page of Digg was the holy grail for any web publisher. But in more recent months, the average Joe has moved on from the once and powerful bookmarking site because of the monopoly caused by power players in the game. Then Facebook and Twitter rose in favor and it looked like Digg had met its match. Until now.
Digg is rising up from the ashes with a new version that emphasizes social connections and sharing and de-emphasizes the importance of hitting the front page. Will it help them regain their former glory? I’ve had a look around and it’s a good start.
The new Digg is currently in beta but you can find invites if you look around on the internet. When you log on to the new site for the first time, you’re put through an “onboarding process” designed to hook you up with important followers right away.
First you’re asked to choose from a healthy list of big names in a variety of fields. TechCrunch, Engadget and Mashable are just a few that show up in the technology category. Choose your favorites and these become part of your “Top News” feed.
Next, and most importantly, you’re asked to link your Digg account to your Twitter, Facebook and Google Connect accounts. Here you’ll be presented with the Digg accounts of people who are already in your networks so you can easily find and follow them, too.
Now, when you visit Digg, instead of a homepage of links from people you don’t care about, you’ll land on your own Top News page with Digg links from everyone in your network. Digg takes this a step further by adding a special icon that shows how many of your friends dug a particular link and that can be expanded to show you who ticked the box.
The major difference here is that everyone’s top stories will be related to their own interests, giving web publishers a better chance of having their links seen by a wider audience. When you dig a story, that link moves to the top of the home pages of your friends, if they dig it then it moves to the top of their friends lists and so on and so on. The “hottest” news as determined by the clicks of your friends, land on a leaderboard that resides in the sidebar of your home page.
When it comes to submitting news, the process couldn’t be simpler. You insert the link in the blank, the story populates the fields and all you have to do is pick a category. Boom, you’re done. You can also load your RSS feed into Digg so each of your stories populates automatically and is ready for digging. This is a feature that Daily Radar has been using in their blips sites and it’s a real boon for anyone trying to pull traffic. The only downside here is that an autofeed makes it easy to load a lot of junk into Digg which was less likely when you had to load each post by hand.
So, what’s the verdict? The new Digg is the best of Facebook without all the status updates and game nonsense. It’s strictly links and comments and that means it’s cleaner and easier to use. The new system for digging links looks like it will give everyone a fair chance at making it to the top of some list, even if it is only the one you share with your mother and two best friends. If you’re like me and you gave up on Digg some time ago, sign up to receive an invite to the new Digg. I think it could be a real contender in the social media marketing world.