In the new era of journalism, users want to be in control of content. Thus when Digg redesigned their platform, they may have forgotten the key ingredient to news success: keeping the user as the main actor. According to ZDnet, Digg is scraping user-driven news in favor of having news promoted by publishers. "[Sic] if you have a user-driven site, it may be suicidal to try to take it in a direction that's opposed to the one your 'power users' want it to go," reports Jack Schofield for ZDnet. Yet other professionals in the media industry see suggesting interesting content to users as a powerful tool. Will Digg survive its redesign, or was its original model better suited for the current trends?
Digg has definitely suffered since introducing its new website. Since August, traffic in the UK has decreased 34% and 26% in the US. To an extent is normal to see declines in user traffic after a major redesign overhaul, as users have to relearn how to use the site. Yet Digg faces the possibility that people are no longer interested in their platform. Many users have publicly voiced their discontent with the new site and have opted to switch to Reddit, a competitor of Digg. Reddit has seen an increased traffic of 24% within the last two months.
The news sharing platform is digging in its heels and not giving up yet. On its website, Digg stands behind its new design. "We also put a lot of thought into how people consume news and wanted to make it easy to share and view what your friends were reading - think of My News as your personal online newspaper where you will get the best web content filtered by the people and sources you trust." Yet according to TechCrunch, the newly launched "Digg This" button makes recommending articles more difficult. "While prettier and faster, the button opens up a pop window where you have to 'Digg' the story for a second time in order for the 'Digg' to register which still seems like an unnecessary extra step," TechCrunch reports.
Digg is stumbling on how to keep up in the social media sphere. It seems like Digg is trying to follow Hutch, which is actively offering information users might like based on their group of friends. Clearly users also want to feel like they are the main driving force behind social sharing instead of a passive audience. Digg, in an effort to appear prettier, may have undermined its original business model.
Newspapers might want to take note of the subtle yet important differences between users expectations for a news aggregator verse social sharing of news. Will Digg be able to recover its user base, or will it be permanently buried under stronger forms of social content sharing?