The Digg Upcoming Page and the Necessity for Digg Friends

SMS Text

Last week we took a look at Reddit’s New Page and praised its ability to drive traffic and serve as an interesting news source for social networking. Today we take a look at Digg’s Upcoming Page and evaluate its effectiveness as a place to share news, blog posts, and other interesting websites.
These days, many sites, from the New York Times to BusinessWeek, have a Digg button for their stories. But suppose you are a new user to Digg; think about what actually happens to a story when you submit it to Digg. It goes straight to the first page in the Upcoming section, along with thousands of other stories per day. Because so many other people are submitting stories all the time, newly submitted stories quickly get pushed out of the first page and towards oblivion. The only way another user can see your submitted story is if she goes to the Upcoming Page right when you submit it.
Although Digg’s front page averages thousands of users every minute, its Upcoming Page is not nearly as popular. Therefore, the chances that your story will get seen by a significant number of users on the Upcoming Page and then get dugg are disappearingly slim. This is not to say that there aren’t stories that are made popular in this fashion, but it’s become an increasingly rare occurrence.
[I am aware that some users use Cloud View and that some people filter which stories they see but again, the rate of submission is so high that it makes it difficult for the Upcoming Sections to be a useful place for stories to get a critical mass of viewers. I also am aware that there is a “Hot In Upcoming” section for each major category; this post is also meant to point to the unlikelihood of getting onto that list]
This points to one of reasons why so few Digg users control so much of the content: their network of Digg friends. Your Digg friends can see and follow which stories you’ve dugg, and more importantly, which stories you’ve submitted. In fact, many Digg users use their friends’ profiles or submissions page as a way of guiding them to interesting upcoming content. Making friends on Digg, and having people befriend you back, is crucial to helping you digg stories that they submit and vice versa, without having to deal with the vagaries of the Upcoming Page.
Thus, Digg’s popularity has become one of its most problematic issues. The Upcoming Page has become a dumping ground, a free for all for anybody and everybody to submit stories to build links to their site, or in the hopes that their site/post will make it big. Although Digg’s front page can still be interesting, if a bit homogenous in its biases, the Upcoming Page has essentially lost its use as a place where popular and interesting news can be effectively shared.

Download: Social Media Strategy
Where the rubber meets the road: A look at SEJ's own social media strategy.