Much fuss was made over Digg's declining numbers earlier this year, with some commentators proclaiming Digg all but dead. But the site's next - and long awaited - iteration is almost ready, which, it is hoped, will stave off further drops. The changes, designed to help users connect and make deeper inroads in social networks with its new features, delivers an additional plus - it finally takes the reigns out of the hands of the power users, writes Next Web.
Of course, those reigns have been shifted to different hands.
New changes coming to the site, Next Web explains, include the ability to follow other users, creating a personal news feed in addition to the standard site-wide 'front page' stream. RSS feeds can be imported by each third-party publication. Also, when you Digg a story, it will appear in the news feed of your Digg friends. "In short, the upcoming section of Digg has been revamped to make it more personal, with everyone’s small network of friends digging and commenting on stories on a local level that is then leveraged by the front page to bring the best content to the forefront based not on who submitted it per se, but whose digg of the content brought in attention to the piece of content."
As for the supposed dozen power users that dictate what rises on Digg, Next Web pointed to Digg’s suggested follower list - similar to Twitter's. "This is going to funnel thousands of new followers to a select number of accounts. So far, most of these are publisher accounts, with a few exceptions. In short, the websites that create the content are going to have a massive follower advantage on the people that are to promote it."
Ordinary people - and its power users - will still have a strong voice too, it continued.
"A submission brought in via RSS from say ATTSUCKSCrunch.com will only reach the people that directly follow that account, meaning that they need their followers (normal users) to get the word out. Power users are the bridge between publisher and reader, as before, but in a different location."
The revamp comes just as Digg's numbers began posting a notable decline. In April, the site saw an abrupt drop in unique visitors, compared to Twitter and Reddit, according to the Guardian. After ticking along at about 37 million and as many as 44 million unique visitors for the past year or so, user numbers dropped off a cliff - from 38 million in March to 24.7 million in April - a 35% drop, and below the 26 million it was claiming back in June 2008, the paper said.
Web Magazine came to similar conclusions, calling it dead (or deadd). Part of the problem, it concluded, is that the promised social changes to Digg were made a year ago - and Digg users got tired of waiting. Web Magazine believes that even with the changes close to a reality now, it's too late.
Next Web is not so sure. Digg is still the central hub where much of the content that we find on social networks begins. Also it an important direct traffic source for any popular website. "A story that hits the top spot on Digg can send its host 150,000+ hits in 24 hours. Aside from the DrudgeReport and Yahoo’s homepage, those numbers are hard to match."