Social Media

Why is Digg.com Taking the “Social” out of Social Media?

It seems that over the past several months, Digg has been waging a war against it’s own users and alienating the very people who have helped Digg to achieve its current level of success.

Since it’s never fair to make accusations without facts to back them up, let’s look at a couple of steps that Digg has taken over the last year or so. First, Digg went on a “power user” banning spree, which was allegedly a result of accusations of widespread script usage.

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cc Why is Digg.com Taking the Social out of Social Media? photo credit: Tyler Howarth

Next, Digg has secretly been auto burying certain users submission. In case you aren’t familiar with the term “auto bury,” it means that no matter how great a submission is or how many votes it receives, it is ultimately buried by Digg itself.

One of the most recent “anti-social” moves by Digg was to impose a two hundred Diggs per day limit on all users. If you happen to go over this limit, you will be presented with the following message:

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photo from a_codepoet

In my opinion, although the first three examples were anything but ideal, I feel that Digg has really crossed the line with their latest move. The move I am referring to was their decision to completely remove all personal links from user profiles. This means that everything from web links to IM links are gone!

The social web is all about allowing users to connect with each other through different channels. However, by removing all of these alternate channels, Digg is literally throwing up a wall around their slice of the web.

Sure, users can still shout back and forth to each other on Digg, but what happens if they want to check out each others Flickr or Twitter?

While I have made my disapproval of this move quite clear, I realize I am only one person, so I decided I would take a quick poll to see what SEJ readers think of this bold new move by Digg:

At the end of the day, Digg users provide the content and the eyeballs for this entire site, so Digg should be willing to give something back in return. Instead, they have continued to increase the amount of restrictions on their users, and I really believe this latest move is the last straw.

Some people will say it is the power users gaming Digg, but it looks to me as if Digg itself is the biggest gamer of them all!

Please let us know your opinions on this in the comments below…

UPDATE: Well isn’t this just brilliant – it seems that a couple of hours after this post was published Digg has put the social links back in user profiles.

Very interesting. We would still like to hear your opinions on the topic so please carry on with the comments.

I just hope they keep the social links this time and don’t change their mind again in another week. icon wink Why is Digg.com Taking the Social out of Social Media?

 Why is Digg.com Taking the Social out of Social Media?

Gerald Weber

Gerald Weber is a professional SEO, social media enthusiast and Internet entrepreneur from Houston Texas. Gerald Founded Search Engine Marketing Group in December 2005. Follow him on Twitter and Google+ to learn more.

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38 thoughts on “Why is Digg.com Taking the “Social” out of Social Media?

  1. It seems like every other week Digg is doing something to make themselves of overall lower quality. While other people get more progressive, they seem to go backwards. I still use Digg, but if their reverse pace keeps up, it’s only a matter of time before someone else pushes them off the map.

  2. Well I play Digg more than they play me. They think they are smart but they forget I am smarter.

    Digg is doing everything possible by them for their development.

    The main Digg hidden community are happy with these changes though.

  3. Digg has always been a “mystery” to me, mostly because of the irony in the whole execution. Its a UGC based voting machine but clearly there are sides and inside currents that makes it “un-democratic”.

    Recently, Kevins Wefollow directory story was submitted by a normal user and I dugg it cos he was the first to do it. After an hour I saw it disappeared from my history and Kevins own submission replaced it. Being an active user on digg, that was a serious blow to my convictions.

    Thanks for the article.

    Mani

  4. it’s ironic that Digg is trying to slow down diggs with their ‘subliminal’ message that being ‘fast’ is lame. At this day and age, faster is better! If you ain’t ahead then you’re behind. With this move, it would be interesting to see where Digg lands in the next 3 months. I can almost guarantee the speedy decline in interest by Diggers. Now, that, IS lame.

  5. Hate to say it but Digg blows bigtime .. They are absolutely damaging their rapport with the people that made them.

    Don’t bother to send them an email after you’ve had trouble with your account, either. There customer support is lacking. I refuse to use them and send friends their way!

    @MatthewLoop on Twitter

  6. @Silas,

    Agreed.

    @Mani Karthik

    Yes the clearly are not as democratic as they would have people believe. Interesting story. Thanks for mentioning that.

    @Mani Karthik

    They definitely are for some reason one of the more popular social voting sites around. It will be interesting to see if it stays that way in the future.

    @B

    I agree with you it seems logical that the site would eventually lose momentum with some of the changes they are making.

  7. The three provisions you discuss don’t affect 95% of the digg community and if anything, largely benefit it. We no longer see power-user spam clogging up the main page and power-users rarely cannibalize normal users’ submissions, which can only be a good thing. Additionally, the existence of the ‘auto-bury’ you refer to was disproved and you’d know that if you read the url you linked.

    The only thing that has irked me slightly was the removal of links – yes, that does impact the average user to a small extent and prevents community from growing outside the walls of digg.

    Overall though, Digg is as good as it ever was and the more anti-digg blogspam from disenfranchised power-users I see on twitter the more it becomes obvious the anti-gaming mechanisms are working.

  8. @James,

    I definitely appreciate your point of view. The main point of this post is that by taking the social links out of user profiles to me they are really making Digg pretty much not a social community. We do agree on this point.

    I hope you took a moment to vote in the survey. Thanks for commenting.

  9. I did notice the took out all my links. Luckily, with twitter, facebook, dilicious, tumblr, etc I find myself going on digg less and less.

  10. How ironic that Digg does it’s best to bury itself at every turn.
    I don’t think we’ll miss it – apart from the odd 100,000 hits from gaming FP!
    And I don’t think we’ll follow them to followme on the basis that if we do they’ll treat their new users just as shoddily.

  11. I do not use Digg much, because compared with other web 2.0 services, Digg does not have the quality that I want from a service like that. I use delicious most of the time…

  12. UPDATE: Well isn’t this just brilliant it seems that a couple of hours after this post was published Digg has put the social links back in user profiles.

    Very interesting. We would still like to hear your opinions on the topic so please carry on with the comments.

    I just hope they keep the social links this time and don’t change their mind again in another week. ;-)

  13. The question is do you really go to Digg for news anymore? Does anyone? I mean, Twitter is where we should be when we want the latest stories.

    I moved to Mixx many months ago. But they are starting to look like Digg too when it comes to the stories.

    I will stick to Twitter and wait for more great little Niche sites like Sphinn to get news that is more direct to what I want.

  14. I like the @zaibatsu on Kevin Rose’s We Follow. Those are the kind of people who have made Digg a huge success as you said.

    They are doing a very unsocial disservice to themselves.

    Sheree

  15. I just checked my Digg profile and that of some of my friends, and our social links are all still on there. Most people have it set up so you can’t see them if you’re not signed in or not mutual friends, but I don’t think they removed them (or, if they did, they put ‘em back.)

  16. Ironically Digg has never heard the saying when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

    Too me it seems like it had to do with the elections. Some sites got a free pass and auto bury let the more expensive advertisers float to the top. Maybe their regular users were too much competition and that’s when it was time to unleash the script fiasco.

    This is a great post as it shows that Digg was probably, again, trying to eliminate the competition. Good call.

  17. There’s been a ton of gripes about Digg, but I really was stunned when they banned one of their biggest power users Zaibatsu. That guy promoted the heck out of Digg, and he rarely – if ever – dugg something that wasn’t worth the read.

    It’s a shame that people try to manipulate a system like digg, but I think it’s even more a shame when Digg makes such colossal errors in judgment to try and curb spammers and idiots. I still have my digg account but lately I’m liking Mixx alot more.

  18. I really like “the Digg Reel” but must admit i’ve got a couple backed up.. Actually doing the “Digging” is probably a bit too much effort for most people,i’d guess.
    & if they ARe in a hole they should watch out …coz we might stop diggin.

  19. Um, Digg is a scam anyway. No one should be surprised that they’ve pulled stunts like this. I dropped them the first month they were in operation, and every system I have now blocks *anything* associated with Digg, especially those “Digg It” tags that slow down page loads unnecessarily. The sooner Digg dies, the better off the Internet will be.

  20. This is the weird thing with Digg. They promote Digging things by asking users to put Digg buttons on their site, and then they penalize you for getting too many diggs. They should just decide which way they want it. In the end, no matter how many people try to game the digg system, dumb sites won’t rise to the top because they are dumb. Digg is worrying too much about nothing, and they are going to drive their site into a big hole as a result.

  21. @Alisa,

    I agree with you. Digg.com is basically a control freak. Gamers will game and the game will go on but at the end of the day Digg itself picks and chooses what goes on the FP. It’s an addictive mind game yes but it’s not a democracy nor is it about the collective wisdom of the masses as they would have people believe.

    Thanks for your comment and insight.

  22. Removing the links from profiles was an odd move, and one that probably wasn’t very well thought out. Every site out there lets you have a profile where you can do at least a little of what you want.
    The other changes you refer to are actually smart and useful to 90% of Digg users. Digg was fast becoming a place where new users felt like they had nothing to gain or offer by being there. With “power users” just Digging each other back and forth, it was fast becoming an online version of the Good Old Boys Network. The truth is that Digg’s future is and always has been in the reader, and not in the submitter.

  23. Gerald, good catch… this sounds like eBay all over again to me, but in a different space. Let’s hope others don’t also get “too big for their boots” and act this way. It’s always to their detriment in the end.

    Of course, being what it is, the social network/blogosphere will respond, as you have done, and can choose to go other ways to avoid such heavy-handedness.

  24. Great article. Although, not sure why you’d have a prob w’ Digg limiting to 200 dpd? Sounds ‘sound’ to me, to keep things fair, no?