Writing a review of Digg pertaining to Higher Education is much more difficult than writing one for MySpace or Facebook. Digg is the first of the true Social Bookmarking sites that I’ve covered and is by far the largest, Top 30 Social Bookmarking Sites. Digg has an Alexa ranking of 150 and reaches 0.64% of internet users. According to Compete, Digg has just under 20 million monthly visitors. Just looking at the numbers Digg has absolutely incredible potential to expose any business to millions of Internet users.
Unfortunately converting these visitors to showing interest in a Higher Education site is a little difficult. As could be expected a large portion of Digg users are male in their late 20′s to early 30′s and college educatedaccording to Quantcast. I would imagine these users are tech savvy. Although this doesn’t quite align with our optimal market of prospective college students, it is the market of young alumni and potential parents of future prospective students.
Digg is sort of a cult network. If there is some content that is absolutely special it is possible to make it to the front page of Digg and lots of visitor traffic (thousands to tens of thousands of visitors). Unfortunately to get to this level the content has to come from a site that has content that is regularly dugg (the visitors are accustomed to digging content) or somebody has to work hard to promote and engage individuals to digg something. The ethical implications of soliciting these votes can become very questionable and even then it’s no certainty that you post will make the top stories list.
There is some uproar in the Digg community to recent changes of the algorithm used to rank stories and display them on the front page. Scoreboard Media recently wrote a good article the changes and what they call “Tigerproofing” the system.
Probably the best data about Digg I read was written by Dave Naffziger and posted on SEOmoz. Dave did a three month analysis of about 770,000 articles submitted to Digg. His findings were extremely informative and instead of trying to report them here you just need to read his post, Maximizing the Likelihood of Getting Dugg.
To test this I worked many hours the other week to promoting and soliciting votes to my Presidential Election post. With literally hours of work I was able to get it up to 107 votes and still not make the top stories list! I’ll be honest this work did extend into some shady practices, but to truly understand the system sometimes you have to get your hands a little dirty.
To be successful in Digg you have to network and to network you have to make friends on the network who you can then Shout at to ask them to Digg your story. Otherwise the odds of people actively submitting your content or finding it on Digg are realistically little to none.
For Digg to be most successful for a College or University would require a great piece of content and a lot of luck. Content most likely to succeed would be an interactive site or humorous video promoting the school. Even then what you think is great might not be received well by the community. Colleges market to their niche audience of alumni, fans, and current students. It is difficult to overlap this audience with the general Digg audience. Even in hitting the jackpot would you be marketing to your proper market? Probably not.
In a perfect situation you can drive thousands of unique hits to a site, but realistically it’s probably best to simply stay away.
Next up is StumbleUpon. Luckily I think there can be some value in it. In the mean time head over the StumbleUpon and friend me while you are at it.
- Amazing Digg Tools Collection - Huge list compiled on Quick Online Tips
- How to get your School Dugg - Another view on what can gain some popularity on Digg from a College or University website.