From Top Tech News, Jay Wrolstad reports that Digg.com will incorporate current events in their social news network. The new version of the site will be launching on June 26th, and will apply the traditional "Digg" ranking to new categories including general news and video clips.
The article also reports that Digg will be increasing their social-networking aspects, adding the ability to pick and share your category preferences with friends or add personalized input to what appears on the pages. Although, from the description, I must admit I’m not really clear what "add their input to what appears on the Web pages" may mean.
This is, of course, rather interesting when you consider that AOL (America Online)’s recent launch of Netscape.com as a user-rated news source includes a number of these additional options.
It’ll be interesting to see what impact these new options may have on Digg. First of all, the front page itself may change significantly. There’s only so much room on the very first page of a site; and the percentage of tech news is likely to decrease. Despite the fact that Digg’s audience is currently almost exclusively people involved with or interested in the technology industry, this may very quickly expand to include others with interests solely in comical videos or in celebrity news. To me, this would be a serious diminishment in the value and interest I’ve received from Digg.
But, maybe this won’t happen – it’s also quite possible that Digg’s new push will fail to escape from the tech crowd, and the new categories will tend to populated with geek favorites such as Star Trek clips.
My personal feeling is that the expansion into current events and other news categories is great – although it reduces the overall focus of the site, these are interesting and potentially fruitful ways of retrieving information you may not otherwise see. However, I think that the incorporation of video may be a mistake. This detracts from the otherwise (mostly) serious information and articles available on Digg, supplanting it with popular media and pointless video clips. These have their place; but I feel that the inclusion of video is likely to seriously diffuse the newsworthy content available on Digg.
Joe Dolson; June 24, 2006 at 6:28 am
Thanks, Barry – I think this expansion has the potential to do a real disservice to the site’s current users, and even if it is successful from an overall growth perspective, they could alienate a significant portion of their existing user base.
You’re absolutely right that _focus_ is the big watchword – the more sprawling a site tries to become the more difficult it is to do anything well.
Arguably, this may be happening to Google right now, as well.
BWelford; June 24, 2006 at 6:10 am
I think you’re spot on in your comments here, Joe. My favourite phrase is ‘Focus, focus, focus’. That means you cover less ground but you do it so well that the final result is much bigger and more effective than if you’d edged out sideways. Videos just expand the area covered too much.
Perhaps you only get a slice of the community you otherwise would have had (say 80%). However the Internet is so big that you’ll still have all the action you need.