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Digg: Don't shout, use Twitter and Facebook instead

May 26, 2009 |  6:42 pm

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Behind the scenes at Digg's May Townhall. Credit: Tyler Howarth via Flickr

Prepare to see more Digg.com links in your Twitter stream.

As promised in last week's Digg Townhall video conference, the site today removed its internal link-sharing feature called Shout. Users had long complained that Shout was being abused by Digg's top dogs to gain an unfair advantage in promoting their posts to the site's home page.

The new "Share" feature cuts off intra-Digg communication and replaces it with three automated sharing options: e-mail, Twitter and Facebook.

Shifting user promotion off the site may result in less sharing activity on Digg, but it also could have the effect of spilling Digg's branding out onto the other services, which likely would expose the site and its content to new users. 

The change also stands to benefit big-league Digg users who also have a large number of followers on Twitter (as opposed to those who are popular only on Digg). That could help level the playing field.

But the users who have been dominating Digg's front page had been planning for the change over the last week. Embedded within ...

... shout messages, many users included links to their Twitter pages or their Google Talk and AIM addresses as their backup for broadcasting their submissions.

Digg user Rollic just created his Twitter account a few days ago. He's got more than 1,000 followers on Digg, but on Twitter, he's starting from the ground up with barely more than a dozen followers.

Twitter-digg
A Twitter search for "#digguser" reveals plenty of Diggers shifting to Twitter from Digg's Shout system.

IvanB changed his display name on Digg to "@Ivan_B" to reflect the subtle difference between his Digg and Twitter usernames.

Those at the top of the food chain, like Andrew Sorcini (MrBabyMan) and Muhammad Saleem (msaleem), have been using Twitter to promote their content for months.

However, Diggers have begun pioneering a new Twitter-wide shout system. The idea is to append "#digguser" to the end of a link you would normally shout on Digg -- in effect creating an ad hoc shouting channel on Twitter. This approach sort of defeats the purpose of sharing exclusively with your friends, however.

Digg's subtle redesign contains a couple of other notable changes.

A red badge that used to draw attention to the Upcoming section, which contains the thousands of links submitted daily that don't or have yet to hit the home page, has shifted to the site's revamped search box in the top right corner. The link to Upcoming is now tucked away as a smaller button -- perhaps underscoring the fact that Digg is less keen on the feature.

"I want to get rid of Upcoming altogether," Founder and Site Architect Kevin Rose said in the last Townhall.

All of these changes appear to be working toward the goal of creating a real-time version of Digg -- the aspiration Rose bragged about but refused to elaborate on in a TechCrunch interview last month.

What he did say in the Townhall video: "A new Digg is just a couple months out." 

-- Mark Milian

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