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Social News: How Digg represents a change in the way we get our news

Now the 96th most visited site on the internet, Digg is a force to be reckoned with. What does this say about our news preferences?

Harrison Hoffman
Harrison Hoffman is a tech enthusiast and co-founder of LiveSide.net, a blog about Windows Live. The Web services report covers news, opinions, and analysis on Web-based software from Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and countless other companies in this rapidly expanding space. Hoffman currently attends the University of Miami, where he studies business and computer science. Disclosure.
Harrison Hoffman
2 min read

Digg is one of Silicon Valley's greatest success stories. The social news site creates an interesting mix of news on its front page by letting the masses decide what they like. For the casual Digg user, looking through the stories on the front page will get you caught up on all of the major news of the day, along with some more obscure, but interesting stories. Digg offers a variety that the New York Times or CNN won't touch.

Digg.com ranks as the 96th most popular site on the net.
Digg is heavily dependent on the opinions of its users. The theory is that if you have enough people saying what they do and do not like, then the end result is news on the front page that appeals to a broad audience. When you realize the concept and potential of Digg to deliver news that everyone wants to read, it's easy to see why it is now the 96th most visited site on the internet according to Alexa. It has already passed up major news outlets, such as the New York Times and is sneaking up on CNN slowly, but surely.

Aside from the "wisdom of the masses" story promotion strategy, Digg is a conversational form of news. On every front page story, there is extensive discussion about the news. A lot of times, the discussion is just as interesting or valuable as the actual story. This does not mean that you have to be an active participant in the discussion though. Many people will read through the comments to stories that they find interesting, not contributing, but gaining some extra insight or a different point of view.

Because of the competitive nature of submitting stories on Digg, it is often one of the first sites to break stories to the masses, often times having a big story up before CNN or one of the other major media outlets. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that Digg will bring about an end to traditional media, actually I believe quite the opposite. A large portion of Digg's stories come from traditional media outlets. I think that Digg acts as a great way to see the news that's new, fresh, and interesting in a way that traditional media cannot, but also that Digg drives traffic and users back to those same media sites. Think of Digg as more of a launching pad for your news, rather than a substitute for looking at stories on CNN. Digg is a big step forward for how we get our news, but its beauty is in the fact that it is not self contained. Digg compiles interesting and important news from around the web all together in one place and because of that, it certainly is not in the position to replace the media giants any time soon.