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DIGG: The Not So Secret Social Media Hub Everyone Uses Wrong

by David · 2 comments

Unless you’ve been a social media geek from its earliest days, you’ve probably not heard of DIGG (Or if you have, it’s as an ancient legend from the mists of time, like Gandalf or Zeus or Red Riding Hood).

After its launch is 2004, DIGG was indeed legendary. Every blog that mattered had a “DIGG This” button (like the “Tweet this” buttons today). The company was social media’s golden child, raising $45 million in start-up funds.

Yet DIGG died a slow and painful death, conceding ground to Twitter and Facebook before alienating users in a 2010 redesign. Now gasping for breath, it recently sold for a paltry $500,000.

DIGG.com still exists, and you might like to visit sometime for old time’s sake. Its latest redesign could yet see it catapult back into the mainstream, though that seems unlikely.

Is it time to stop DIGGing?

In a literal sense, yes, if you haven’t already.

If you’re still using DIGG to promote content, there are more effective ways to spend your time.

In a metaphorical sense, no.

You can still be a DIGGer without using DIGG. The spirit of DIGG lives on through all social media platforms – from Quora to Pinterest to reddit to Facebook. (For those interested, reddit is the most similar to DIGG).

How to Keep Digging

Always Add Value

Anyone who shares a link on DIGG has to write their own summary of what they’re sharing. In doing so, they add value to the link making readers more likely to click through.

Think about how you react to content shared on Twitter or Facebook. Are you more likely to click a link with no title or explanation, or a link where the person sharing has explained what you’ll be clicking?

Always add value to what you share on social media. The simplest way to do this is to include the title of the article, image or video you’re sharing. You can add more value by tailoring the title to your readers, to let them know how the link is relevant to them.

Discover and Share Great Content

Content marketing isn’t only about producing great content. Producing content is time consuming, and you can only create a limited amount.

Being a curator by discovering and sharing great content – as DIGG users do – is at least as valuable to your followers as producing content. In crowded niches, where you’d struggle to find a unique perspective, curating can be even more effective than producing content.

As with everything, curate well, or don’t do it all. Go at it half-hearted and your lack of spirit will be clear for all to see.

Beware of Spam

DIGG failed, at least in part, because spam clogged up the system. DIGG’s spam blockers weren’t effective enough.

On social media, you will fail if you behave in a spammy way. Spammer tactics include:

  • Sending a template message to every new contact or follower
  • Sharing links without reading them yourself
  • Posting update after update in quick succession, instead of pacing your updates through the day

Build a Community

DIGG succeeded initially because it built a tight-knit community of loyal users. This is what Seth Godin calls your tribe, and Kevin Kelly calls your 1,000 True Fans. When you build a community of people who love your products or your brand, they’ll spread the word for you.

As Kevin Kelly explains:

“A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can’t wait till you issue your next work.”

DIGG’s legacy was to place community building at the beating heart of the Internet’s eco-system. As you develop and revisit your social media strategy, always ask yourself: how can I build a community of fans who share with one another and love what I do?

Look After Your Greatest Fans

When DIGG redesigned its website in 2010, DIGG power-users hated the new design. They turned against the site they once loved by migrating to DIGG’s arch rival, reddit, and using DIGG to promote reddit.

DIGG ignored the wishes of its most important users – its greatest fans – at its peril.

As you build and lead your tribe, take good care of all your tribe members, particularly those with power and influence. Your tribe has the power to drive your success, or plunge you into failure. Listen to their needs. Ask them what they want. You might be surprised at the answers.

Don’t be afraid to try out the new

DIGG users sat at the bleeding edge of social media, and plunged right in as web 2.0 took shape. Of course, they couldn’t know what their legacy would be at the time; they weren’t aware that what they were doing would change the shape of how we interact and share content on the Internet.

Be like a DIGG users, always on the look out for new technologies, new things to learn, new social networks to try. Put your heart and soul into those that work best for your business. The world of social media is evolving fast, and you can evolve with it.

Are you still DIGGing? You probably should be.

David is Social Caffeine’s acting editor. He’s British, but we don’t hold that against him.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Justin September 28, 2012 at 10:01 am

Poor Digg. I used to use them all the time back in 2005-07. Then everyone be-bopped over to Reddit.

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LoriRTaylor September 28, 2012 at 12:16 pm

“Be bopped” I love it – and agree – Digg was the best thing since sliced bead until bagels came around…just saying – cream cheese makes everyone smile…

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