For those who don’t know, Digg is a social networking site where you share stories you like and give them a thumbs up. Other Digg users can then rate the same story by either "digging" it, or "burying" it (which means they don’t like it). The stories with the most "Diggs" get on the front page of the site.
Blogs want several Diggs so they can get on the front page and get more hits – and hopefully long-term traffic increases. Some individuals use it to network with people who like the same articles. There are several articles online about the benefits of backlinks from Digg. The site is even more attractive since its hits have risen by the millions in recently months, according to Mashable. BizReport says that Digg, along with Facebook, have the most loyal members.
I’ve used Digg for personal and professional use and find it to be just like high school – some days, worse. Sure, I’ve found some terrific stories, and got a handful of hits for a few posts, but I’m so turned off by some Digg users I simply just don’t want to visit the site anymore – even for the articles that catch my attention.
Digg offers a host of anonymous online trolls who are just waiting to sink their teeth into any innocuous comment you make. There are some users who are interested in discussion – are polite even – but more often than not someone is just waiting for you to leave a comment so they can pounce.
I don’t mind Digging a story, but I refuse to leave any comments anymore because of the trolls. Recently, I left a comment on an article about Mac versus PC. I told the readers I switched to Mac because I’d had terrible personal experience with PC and refuse to go back. Here is one of the nicest comments/messages I received:
This is not my only experience with commenting on Digg. I’ve had a few other comments that just left my jaw on the floor with the rude, profanity-ladden replies from some of the users. If you really want to test the Digg troll waters, get on a liberal story and leave a comment that leans conservative – or vice versa. Be polite no matter what you leave. Within minutes your comment will be buried and you will have several replies – most of them filled with profanity or calling you an idiot, stupid, unlearned, uneducated, a terrorist and so on.
Michael Gray has an older, but good post on Digg trolls and how the Digg system is flawed because users abuse the bury feature.
I have clients who want this feature used because they have a starry-eyed belief that they will get to the Digg front page and suddenly get a multi-million dollar blog. What they don’t understand is that Digg is a popularity contest. If someone suddenly decides they don’t like you, they will enlist the help of their own little Digg army to bury your story. I’ve read accounts of Digg users losing their own accounts because too many stories were buried, signifying to the Digg team that those stories were poor quality or spam.
Also, Digg has been a go-to network for one site in particular I work with. Rarely do we receive more than one Digg per story submitted – which means that we are reaching no one by submitting our links there. And yet, we are still Digging into oblivion.
In the long run, Digg did nothing for myself or clients in the way of long-term hits. In terms of Analytics, it didn’t even leave a ripple.
In my experience, Digg is not a bad site to use for social bookmarking, or to search for weird news that helps stir creativity. It is not, however, a terrific place to network, find breaking news or truly engage with users as you would during a virtual book tour or in forums and chats with readers.
If you Digg, share your experiences with the site. I would especially like to know how you have used Digg effectively to drive significant traffic to your blog or Web site.
If you like Digg or want more details about it, take a look at these posts:
How to Use Digg: A Beginner’s Guide (Webrampage.com)
How to Use Digg Like a Pro (Mahalo)
Guide to Traffic from Digg Comments (SEOmoz)0