Social Survey: Digg

Introduction

digg logo Social Survey: DiggWriting 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.

The Reality

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.

Case Example

digg107 Social Survey: DiggTo 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.

Conclusion

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.  stumbleupon logo150 Social Survey: Digg

Other Resources:

  • 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.

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analysis, Case Study, cult network, digg, dugg, front page, higher education, prospective students, social bookmarking site

Read Related Posts on .eduGuru:

  1. Social Survey: Facebook
  2. Social Survey Week 2: MySpace
  3. Social Survey: StumbleUpon

This post was written by:

Kyle James

Kyle James - who has written 227 posts on .eduGuru

Kyle is currently the Customer in Residence at HubSpot, a Co-Founder at nuCloud and  formerly the webmaster at Wofford College. Kyle is an active contributor in the social media spectrum. Although his background is technical, he claims to know a thing or two about marketing, but mostly that revolves around SEO, analytics, blogging, and social media. He has spoken at multiple national conferences and done countless webinars on topics ranging from e-mail marketing to social media and Web analytics. He's definitely a fairly nice guy.

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6 Responses to “Social Survey: Digg”

  1. Avatar image
    Jeremy Wilburn Says:

    Nice Post. I think Digg is a great website for finding information, but I cannot really see any real potential uses for marketing for higher ed unless you could really build your brand on Digg and constantly be able to produce things that would get dugg up. And I agree that the content would really have to be something spectacular.

  2. Avatar image
    Lid Says:

    Hi Kyle

    Interesting post.

    You got me thinking about Wofford. Based on the website, it looks like you’ve got some tech savvy students - have you thought about getting a Team Digg Wofford started? At least with them, you could be putting together a plan that attracts Diggers - who in turn may attract an audience beyond that…just a thought.

    Also, what’s your take on submitters? Do you think it makes any difference whether Muhammad Saleem does the first Digg, or just a standard user?

    Good luck with the blog!

  3. Avatar image
    Kyle (author) Says:

    Lid, personally I think it’s ok to submit your own stuff. I know there is lots of conversations going back and forth, but if you write a really good post and you think it’s got some great value then don’t you feel obligated to digg it? The trick with this is to not digg every single post that you write, just your best. I probably submit 1/3 of my posts and I think that’s fair. Also if you don’t believe it’s worthy to get dugg why should anyone else? It’s part of the credibility.

    As far as the Team Wofford diggers it’s a thought and we do have a few student workers that work with us on the website, but I don’t think 4-5 extra diggs is really enough to push something over the top. Now if we had 4-5 power diggers then that might be different and that does present an interesting angle. Although I would tend to think that the effort required to become a power digger could be better spent making the content that we already have better for our specific market (mostly prospective students and alumni).

  4. Avatar image
    Logica Uspeha Says:

    I also have another story about social traffic.
    I would like to compare traffic from search engines and social.
    So… My visitors who come from social nets are on the site 20-30 seconds.
    Visitors from search engines are on the site among 1 and 2 minutes.
    Such a fact!

  5. Avatar image
    John Says:

    Hi,

    Good post.

    I think that if you know how to use social sites you can drive a good amount of traffic to your site.My suggestion is to go to their tag section.There you can see what people actually are looking for, and than you can create blog or site on that topic.That mean more searches in your niche.

    John.

  6. Avatar image
    John Says:

    Great post.

    Digg is a great site and everyone can drive a good traffic from it, but the problem is that this traffic don’t convert well(for me).
    My trick is that I use Digg to ranks on Google for long tail keywords, actually the traffic is from Google, and it converts.