Is the New Digg Dead on Arrival?
That's the question on many techies' minds today as Digg prepares to launch the newest, revamped version of the site later this week. The site has gone invite crazy today, sending out invite links to several publications for 1,000 invites into the alpha--not that you'll need one before long.
But will anyone actually use the new Digg? You've got to admit, things are looking bleak for the once-popular, now-not-as-popular crowdsourced news site. Its traffic is down, its business model is questionable, and it seems to have kind of lost its spark, particularly as newer and more social means of sharing the news--namely, Facebook and Twitter--have grown to be the Web's biggest content juggernauts.
Having played with the new Digg for a few weeks now, I'll say it's definitely an improvement. It's faster, prettier, and has some new features that make it more personal, more social, and more useful in general.
Am I making it my new homepage? Well, not just yet. But I hesitate to say Digg is D.O.A. Why? Because social media is unpredictable, and Digg is launching themselves more into the "social media" sphere than they have ever before.
With more fleshed out user profiles and your very own "My News" section populated with content from your Digg connections, it feels very much like Twitter, without the mindless babble. God knows I love Twitter, but sometimes you just want something good to read, not someone to talk to or thousands of tweets to have to filter through.
The new Digg appears to be a good solution to that problem, allowing you filter through the crap and get to the content you want to read--provided your friends are using the service. And that's really the key.
Digg seems to have created a decent product with version 4.0. But if your friends don't join up, why would you bother? If you've got a "My News" feed with nothing in it, what's going to make me go back? Will Digg implement something that allows Twitter users to import the links they tweet automatically into Digg? (That feature could be a real winner.)
Plenty of questions, but time will tell. Get out there and try to snag an invite code and check it out for yourself. Or just wait until the site launches later this week. As for me, if Digg can pull in my whole network, I'll keep using it, but otherwise it might be D.O.A. after all.