If you're like me and have become disenchanted with the social bookmarking site Digg, ever since they did away with their "shout" function last year, apparently we are not alone. While Digg's unique visitors ended 2009 at 27 million, this was a marked decline from its 32 unique visitors in September.
To stimulate renewed interest back into the site, Kevin Rose has announced on several occasions - "changes are coming, changes are coming." If Digg is on life support - is this a case of the little boy that cried wolf?
Digg, which was launched in 2004 as a social news service designed to help web users discover and share content from around the Internet. Digg members submit links to stories, and the user community votes on how interesting those stories are by "digging" the articles they like, and "burying" those they don't.
As 2009 came to a close, news aggregators such as InventorSpot and others replaced the Digg widget buttons on the top right of their blog pages with Twitter's Tweetmeme and Facebook Share widgets instead. There was a time when Digg was the darling of the social media digerati. Today, it looks like an afterthought, hidden at the bottom of the page, or on some sites, no longer listed at all.
The inevitable question is what changed in September, when Digg users started leaving the site? And will there be a resurgence when Digg launches the new features it's been promising, including, possibly, everyone's new favorite enhancement - features that enable users to see what's happening in real-time.
Kevin RoseThis interview with TechCrunch's Michael Arrington and Digg's co-founder Kevin Rose back in April, 2009 was one of the first times Rose talked somewhat uncomfortably about "the biggest overhaul to the site ever."
However while he predicted these alteration were to happen in six months, as you can see, here we are 9 months later and no development changes have been visible on the the site, outside of their tool bar option. The most recent update on this topic was released by the Telegraph.co.uk on January 22 indicating "Drastic Digg overhaul could shock users, according to Kevin Rose." Here Rose states, "you have to be comfortable with completely tearing down and throwing away a bunch of ideas."
So what's in the works? For starters, the placement of the navigation bar and Digg button will change, while a greater emphasis will be placed on photos. Like Google, Bing and mobile applications, the revamped site will focus more on real-time feeds and recommended content that is user-generated. And like Google and other sites, Digg will integrate with the channels that are at the source of real-time data - namely Twitter and Facebook - but also blogs, instant messaging, email and breaking news stories.
While it's about time the founders of Digg are realizing the need to fix their outdated mousetrap, Kevin Rose still will not be pinned down to a time-line and continues to play his cards close to his chest. Once again, no date was given for when we will see these transformations beyond "sometime later this year.” So once again we will have to wait for all these "shocking changes." Unfortunately, one can not be shocked when it appears that Digg is conducting business as usual.