Connor Waldo


What is Digg?

Digg is a social news aggregator that allows people to get a quick view of the most hot and popular topics being discussed. An interesting aspect of Digg is that it really only focuses on news for technology and science, but still contain weird and unique stories every once in awhile if it is popular in the eyes of its users. According to the article “The New Digg Arrives Ahead Of Schedule, Features Tight Facebook And Twitter Integration“, all of the content posted on Digg is user generated content, but moderated by a few individuals to ensure that the topics stay relevant. This way of filtering may be viewed as an advantage or a disadvantage depending on the circumstance, but overall takes away from the “openness” of Digg.

The Basics

Digg is a very useful tool when trying to keep up on recent news while on the fly. With this being said, Digg can be used on a daily basis! New stories are added daily and pending stories are “voted up” throughout the day as well. The layout of dig shows the hottest pending stories at the top of the page and highlights the most popular story at the top as shown in this image:

Other Uses For Digg

Traffic for anyone and everyone is a medium that Digg used to offer to many of its users, but no longer aids in this as it recently made drastic changes to the look, feel, and functionality of its platform. These changes were due to the up rise of the new social news website Reddit. Digg is trying to counter this new website by introducing these new features, more of which I will talk about in the “New Digg v1 Features” section of this chapter. As stated in the article “How To Use Digg For Business“, in the past, if a post reached the front page of Digg, the post would typically get 10,000 or more clicks with hundreds of links from other users who thought the post was interesting. Here is an image of the old layout of Digg which, as you can see, looks a lot more interactive than the new Digg v1:

This was a great way to enhance the search engine optimization of any blog or website. Unfortunately, with the new build of Digg that was rolled out earlier 2012, accomplishing this would be more difficult as Digg only posts stories from popular blog and websites, but not so much user blogs. In the future though, Digg may go back to posting more content from less popular blog posts which will in turn allow large loads of traffic to the blogs that need it.

Specialized search strategies

The advantage Digg has over other news websites is that the users “vote up” or “digg” a story that is on the website. The story that gets the most “diggs” is placed at the top of the webpage, and then the rest of the news posts fall according to rank. For example, the article “‘Gangnam Style’ Video Breaks Justin Bieber’s YouTube Record” states that on November 24th, 2012 when the Youtube hit “Gangnam Style” by Psy became the most watched video with 806 million views on Youtube (surpassing even Justin Bieber’s “Baby” music video that has 804 million views), a story was posted and voted up by users to the point where the story reached the front page of Digg.

If a Digg user were to visit Digg, they would see this on the front page and not have to click multiple news sites in order to get their daily social news dose.  Conversely, Google would require some conventional searching (maybe even visiting Google News). This is how Digg’s front page can be utilized for quick and easy browsing.

The Tools Digg Offers

Features of Digg

Digg allows users to view their website without signing in, but if they want full functionality of the site, they must sign in. Signing in is relatively easy as Digg allows the user to sign in with a Facebook or Twitter account. One downside to this is for users who do not own a Twitter or Facebook.  Once signed in, the user is then ready to “digg”!

“Digging” is a simple task. To “digg”, all the user has to do is click on the “Digg” button displayed on the story. This will add one “digg” to the story’s digg score and advance it up the ladder to the top of the Digg homepage. If a story surpasses another story in the amount of “diggs” it has, then the story with more “diggs” will jump above the former story. This is one way how Digg equates which stories are the most popular among their readers and is thus boosted up higher on the front page.

Through Digg, the user also has the ability to submit a link to Digg. It is a straightforward process as the user is prompted with a text box where the user is to paste the URL link of the story they want to share. A sign in is required for this feature though, which is good as it sifts through a lot of the fake posts. This is done by clicking the Submit a link button on the top right corner of the website.

Digg also allows users to automatically have stories that they “digg” posted to their Twitter or Facebook. This is a positive influence on the user’s Twitter followers or Facebook friends as it opens up conversation on these topics, and allows the user’s followers or friends to also view the story. Additionally, this is good for Digg as it starts to bring more traffic to the overall website.

Lastly, another feature that Digg boasts is the “Reading List” that gives Digg users the ability to click the “Save for later” button on stories that are posted so they can read them later. This increases usability which is nice as stories often will rise or fall to and from the top of the page, so saving the post for later will ensure that the article will be able to be found by the user in the future. It is essentially “bookmarking” but specifically for Digg posts.

New Digg v1 Features

As seen in the Google Trends graph below, Digg had its peak around 2007, but has been rapidly declining ever since. Additionally, as the “super power” Reddit has been on the rise, things were not looking to good for Digg. As stated in the article “Facebook Didn’t Kill Digg, Reddit Did” Paul Tassi, the author, notes, “Digg and Reddit were like warring siblings a few years back. Digg was the charming older brother, sending out millions of hits to stories that hit its front page with a lovely web 2.0 design. Reddit was its scraggly younger sibling, a confusing wall of white text and blue links that sent out far fewer hits.  But over time, Digg changed. Redesign after redesign unnerved loyal users. Finally, one new version, v4, was so atrocious that there was a mass exodus from the site altogether. The new site was a disaster both visually and content-wise, as “sponsored links” were thrust onto the front page and users felt like they were being packaged and sold to companies.”

Tassi was right. Interestingly enough, the Digg v4 launch was on August 25, 2010. If you notice on the Google Trends graph (below), August 2010 is approximately when the massive shift between Digg and Reddit happened. Reddit won.

This year, Digg rolled out the new Digg v1 in hopes to get back on the social news “map”. With the new 2012 Digg platform, Digg has added other ways that stories advance their Digg score. As mentioned under the “Other Uses For Digg” section of this chapter, many of these features were to differentiate Digg from other social news websites (i.e., Reddit). Digg was hoping these new features would make it more competitive and thus win back its original users. For example, in the article “Digg Launches Redesign And New App With Editorial Curation, No Comments” the author explains how Digg score is now based on social sharing on Facebook and Twitter as well. This is a creative feature as it is expanding the horizon for Digg to reach out into other social media websites in order to collect data for its use.

Digg has also announced that they will soon be implementing a commenting system  that will allow users to discuss topics. Unfortunately, it was not released with the new Digg v1 platform as it was not yet ready. Rumor has it though that Digg will most likely implement a commenting system through Facebook as their stories are already rated based upon Twitter and Facebook activity (Why I’m Excited For, Or At Least Interested In The New Digg).

Many Digg users are excited about this feature as it will put Digg more on par with other social news websites (i.e., Reddit). They also feel it is an essential piece that Digg v1 is missing (New Digg: Good job, Good Effort But They Missed The Most Important Part). Unfortunately, Digg has been keeping a low profile for their future plans. However, users interested in keeping updated with Digg can follow their blog (as I mention in the “Digg Mobile App” section of this chapter).

Comparison with Google Web Search

Digg has a major advantage on Google in the ease of searching for popular topics. This is due to the fact that on Digg the most popular story is at the top of the page, while Google requires the user to search and do their own analysis on what popular stories are pending. On the other hand, this can be a nuisance for Digg users as they are only restricted to viewing what is on the front page of Digg since there is no search functionality integrated into Digg.

Here is a table to specify the comparison more directly:

Google Digg
Search Functionality Yes No
Automatic Daily News No Yes
User Generated Results No Yes
Advanced Search Yes No
“No-Click” News Aggregator No Yes
“Vote-Up” Stories to Top results No Yes

Google is a great search engine – probably the best, but it cannot do everything. A similar product Google offers to Digg is Google News, but this is not a social news website, instead it has more of a “newspaper feel” in that the top stories are chosen for you. For a quick idea on what are the hot, trending topics chosen by society itself, Digg takes the cake!

The Past: Digg “Power Users”

The new Digg is not as interactive as the old one in that all one can do is submit stories and hope that it gets a lot of buzz on Twitter, Facebook, and that it will receive a lot of “Diggs” on Digg.com. As a quick bit of historical knowledge, Digg used to have what was known as “power users” who pretty much ran the front page of Digg.  As found in the article “How To Become A Digg Power User“, the “power user” status was achieved by creating  an account with a unique user identity, Digging (A LOT), adding high quality friends, tracking friend’s submissions, submitting quality articles, and being judicious with comments. As you can see in the image to the left, the user “Mr. Baby Man” has 19,895 follows thus making him a Digg “power user”.

These “power users” would be able to post a link and since they had so many followers, their stories would usually be the top published stories on the front page. Being a “power user” would be really great as the user would be able to drive large amounts of traffic to wherever he/she wanted. With the new setup of Digg though, this is no longer the case. However, if Digg returns to something similar to its original platform, “power users” may again arise in the near future.

Digg Mobile App

One interesting and impressive feature with Digg is that the user can integrate it with any iOS system. This is a great tool for users to integrate Digg into their everyday lifestyle. Digg users can download apps for their iPhone, iPad, or any other Apple device. Unfortunately, an official app is currently not available for Android phones, but users can still view Digg using the browser of their Android (or Apple) phone. This makes is easy for all users to check Digg on the go by using their mobile device to do so.

The Digg app has the normal “Top”, “Popular”, and “Saved” tabs as well as it allows one to sign into Facebook or Twitter. This is very easy to do as all the user needs to do is click the options tab and hit the “Sign in with Facebook” or “Sign in with Twitter” button. If the mobile device is already signed into either of the social media websites, then Digg will log the user on with one click of the button as shown in the picture to the left.

Additionally, the user can click on the “Account Settings” tab and be taken to a page that will allow the user to set up his/her email with Digg. This will allow users to get top stories delivered to their inbox on a daily basis. It also allows the user to set up push notifications that will alert the user whenever a new story is posted. The “Account Settings” tab also allows the user to post stories that the user “digged” to their Facebook Timeline.

This features gives rise to discussion among the user and his/her friends on Facebook. This feature is shown to the right.

The last feature it allows for is a sync across all iOS devices. This means that if a user was reading a story on their iPad, he/she got up to go do another activity, thus leaving the story unfinished, the user could pick up their iPhone and start reading right where they left off. This app is the way to go as most of these features are only exclusive to the Digg app.

In the Digg app there is also a “Services” tab. This gives even more functionality to the iOS users.  The services offered are the ability to sign into Instapaper or Pocket which integrates with the “Saved” functionality on Digg. This means that all the stories the users saves will automatically be sent to their Instapaper or Pocket account. Lastly, the Digg app also gives users the functionality to log into bitly so any link that the user shares will automatically be shortened using bitly – a very useful service.

As stated in the “New Digg v1 Features” you can visit their blog for more updates on new features being introduced to Digg. It is updated whenever a new feature is being implemented on Digg which is great for keeping Digg users informed. The blog also allows users to view their About page, Survey page, FAQ page, Jobs page, Contact page, and the Submit a link page. Below, you can see an image of the Digg blog when they added the iPad feature for Digg.


Recommendation:  Digg or Google?

The only thing that Digg is more useful for is getting a general idea on what hot topics for science and technology that are trending among the majority of the public. However, this can be used in combination with Google as it gives the user an idea what to search for using Google. Since the subjects Digg offers focus on science and technology, it may not be useful for the majority of people surfing the web for things to read. If the user does find a suitable/interesting topic, Google can be used to get a deeper look into the subject and find even more interesting results. Google can also produce related topics and websites that the user can use to browse further. In short, it is a good practice to use Digg for a quick look at what is currently happening in the science or technology community and then do further researching using Google. As a single-handed tool though, Google is the most versatile in doing any type of searching.


Lardinois, Frederic. “The New Digg Arrives Ahead Of Schedule, Features Tight Facebook And Twitter Integration.” Tech Crunch. N.p., 31 July 2012. Web. 14 Nov. 2012. <tcrn.ch/NHK2XM>.

Urban, Diana. “How to use Digg for Business.” HubSpot Academy Blog . N.p., 22 Feb. 2012. Web. 1 Nov. 2012. <http://bit.ly/YBDoGT>.

Wood, Mikael Wood. “‘Gangnam Style’ video breaks Justin Bieber’s YouTube record.” Los Angeles Times | Music. N.p., 24 Nov. 2012. Web. 13 Nov. 2012. <http://lat.ms/WpsUF5>.

Tassi, Paul. “Facebook Didn’t Kill Digg, Reddit Did.” Forbes. N.p., 13 July 2012. Web. 4 Dec. 2012. <http://onforb.es/PXSiUL>.

Bohn, Dieter. “Digg launches redesign and new app with editorial curation, no comments.” The Verge. N.p., 31 July 2012. Web. 14 Nov. 2012. < http://vrge.co/R5wTse>.

Moore, Scott. “Searching for and analyzing tweets.” 12 November 2012. Video. <http://bit.ly/TAaKSG>.

Menning, Chris. “Why I’m Excited for, or at Least Interested in the New Digg.” Modern Primate. N.p., 31 July 2012. Web. 8 Nov. 2012. < http://bit.ly/SnkYVu>.

Olanoff, Drew. “New Digg: Good job, good effort but they missed the most important part.” The Next Web. N.p., 1 Aug. 2012. Web. 7 Nov. 2012. <http://tnw.co/R6zXA1>.

Wallace, Annie. “How To Become A Digg Power User.” Sexy Social Media. N.p., 27 May 2011. Web. 5 Nov. 2012. < http://bit.ly/miW8of>.

About the author

Connor Waldo is a social media junkie. From Reddit to Digg, he scourges the web to find new and interesting social news on a daily basis. In comparison to other social news websites, Digg is becoming more and more of a favorite of his as he feels it has a more professional spin on the news it offers. Digg on!


To Google or not to Google? Copyright © 2013 by Connor Waldo. All Rights Reserved.