Digg vs Twitter: A comparison


For both current and former Digg members, there has been a marked trend towards establishing a presence on Twitter. Some experienced “Diggers,” a commonly used term for those that use Digg, argue that a Digg account is no longer complete without a Twitter account.

This has become especially true since the last algorithm change on Digg. Users are now limited to 200 diggs per day. Go over the limit, and Digg sends an “itchy trigger finger” warning and prevents the user from digging further for some hours. This is intended to elevate the quality of each digg. No digg can be impulsive; the idea is that the user must truly believe the content is diggable.Twitter, on the other hand, can be impulsive. You can retweet your friends’ stuff as many times as you like. In fact, there’s a level of participation on Twitter that is just not possible on Digg.

Former Digg user Zaibatsu offers an interesting case study on how Twitter can help a Digg user.
Zaibatsu: A Case Study“One thing I didn’t want to do, after being banned, was give Digg more pageviews,” Zaibatsu told me over the phone. “Back in June, I started my Twitter account and that quickly snowballed into 35,000 followers. My influence has been greater on Twitter than it ever was on Digg. In fact, I’ve been influencing content on Digg through my Twitter account.”

At the time Digg banned Zaibatsu, he was the #3 ranked Digger with over 10,000 fans. At one time, he was “front-paging,” (a fairly self-explanatory term used by Diggers to denote when an item submitted by a particular user appears on Digg’s coveted front page), as many as 10 times a day. But last year, there was a spate of power-user bannings, and Zaibatsu was one of them.
Most power-users would start a new, incognito account. Zaibatsu was fed up with Digg, though, and he sought a new social media home. He was attracted to Twitter because it offered him what Digg could not.

“On Digg, I would have to wait sometimes 24 hours before the story I wanted to share could get seen,” Zaibatsu explained. “Some good stories got buried. On Twitter, if I like something, I can share it with more than 35,000 people instantly.”

Zaibatsu also pointed out Twitter’s advantage over another tool commonly used by Diggers. Twitter, he believes, trumps IM. “Whenever I log into my Gtalk account, I instantly get 40 messages from people — and I have to respond to them all individually. On Twitter, if someone responds to one of my tweets, I don’t always have to give a personalized response because people understand it’s Twitter.”

The Twitter Advantage on Digg

Obviously, many people on Twitter are also active on Digg. How can Twitter help these people?
One way is by providing limitless opportunities to connect. Under the Digg shout system, you can shout to only 200 people at once — and then have to wait 15 minutes before the next shout. Even then, most Diggers don’t like it when you shout more than three times a day. Overusing the shout system can quickly turn a good story into one that is buried. In fact, most experienced Diggers use shouts with caution. But on Twitter, a tweet reaches all that user’s followers. They, in turn, may retweet an item to all their followers. Many Twitterers are also casual Digg users; if they like a story on Twitter, they might also want to digg it.

Additionally, as Zaibatsu found, there’s a level of social interaction on Twitter that is non-existent on Digg. To interact with a fellow Digger, the only recourse is to use comments or shouts, neither of which are conducive to establishing real relationships. Twitter, on the other hand, allows you to reply publicly and privately to someone by using replies or direct messages, and to do so in a way that does not distract from content.

Another great advantage to Twitter is that there are fewer limitations on what can be posted. For instance, users promoting sales of any kind on Digg is against their policy. If a Digger submits a sales link to a bizarre item on eBay, it could result in a ban.

On Twitter, where marketers and entrpreneurs abound, such links are not a big deal, and may even be appreciated. If a Digger really wants to share something that might violate the Digg TOS, Twitter could be a good alternative.

In summary, if you Digg, you should open a Twitter account (if you haven’t already done so). Twitter provides a greater level of social participation than Digg. Using Twitter, Diggers are able to reach a new and different audience. Twitter also allows users to share content with an audience immediately, and the number of times a user can share quality content is not limited.


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