The social side of Digg

Digg by on December 12, 2006 at 1:27 am

I’ve been a member of Digg for close to 6 months, a regular reader/digger close to 3 months and a submitter for a few weeks. Only now am I starting to understand the social side of Digg (its huge).

If you’re looking to just understand Digg, read this great post and the references he provides. I wanted to focus a few thoughts on screenshots on the social side of digg which is largely invisible to most new users.

The introduction most users see to the social side of Digg is this innocuous-looking friends tab on their profile page and the Friends activity box above the fold on the left nav rail (note the stories listed by each friend, and the sort order of the friends – more on this at the end):


A user can completely overlook this aspect of the site. Friend association is all 1-way. Anyone can call you their friend, and you can call anyone your friend. There are no notifications when this happens, other than the appearance of a new friend on your page. The only way that you’ll know if someone has declared you their friend is if you visit that page.

Once you’ve declared friends, your experience on Digg changes radically. These changes are most visible in two locations:

1. Any list of deals: Deals voted on by your friends are tagged with an green ribbon. When you mouse over the “# of diggs” button, you see which friends had dugg the article. Your eyes are automatically drawn to these stories and I found myself much more likely to vote on a friend’s story.


2. Any comment thread. Much like the deal lists, comment threads take on a new look. Comments by your friends are boxed in a shaded green, and bright yellow stars are placed next to the posts that they dugg up or down. You can even see what they thought about your comments.


Important changes also happen to your Friend’s History tab:


The friend’s history and the profile pages of your friends play an important role in how people digg. On the friend’s tab, many friends select their current #1 story. This provides extra visibility to stories that they are particularly excited about, and it certainly results in extra diggs.

I was also surprised that Digg’s default sort mechanism was alphabetical. Friends with numbers at the front of their names are always at the top. This seems a little surprising, given the extra exposure that top placement gives those users and their stories. It is only a matter of time before digg spammers figure out the same things that locksmiths did years ago in the Yellow Pages: 1AAA Locksmith is ordered alphabetically above AAA locksmith.

The story I submitted that reached the front page and was buried, has received 53 diggs from these pages after it was buried (in 48 hrs). That’s almost enough to make the front page again, twice. It is no wonder that rumors are swirling about promoters buying diggs.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. | Dave Naffziger's BlogDave & Iva Naffziger