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Twitter and Digg – A match made in user submitted news stories heaven!

Posted by on February 24th, 2011

Twitter Digg
The other morning, whilst using Digg on my iPhone I got thinking about how awesome it would be if Twitter and Digg combined to create one service. The more I thought about it, the more benefits I could see for both parties. Here is a quick blog posts explaining how I think the ‘relationship’ could work.

Digg’s decline

It has been well documented that ever since the complete refresh of Digg a couple of months ago the site has seen a quite dramatic fall in page views and visitors. Version 4 of Digg was meant to bring the site up to date by making the experience more social by introducing a number of key features to help battle Digg’s main rivals in the social news niche, StumbleUpon, Twitter and Facebook, who have been gaining traction as the places to go to keep up to date with the latest breaking news on the Internet and across the world. However the dramatic change, and the decision to pull some of the key features from previous versions of Digg sparked outrage by a core group of some of Digg’s users and so ever since the site has experienced a severe drop in the number of users using the site. Digg’s main revenue stream is advertising and sponsored stories, and so a loss of visitors will have dramatic consequences of the future profitability of the company.

Twitters inability to show popular news stories

Despite Twitters popularity and huge expansion over the past couple of years, there are a number of key issues with the service. The one I’m going to single out here is the spread of breaking news as it happens. Currently Twitter is in the best place to provide breaking news as it happens to the audience. A quick look down the “Trending Topics” list will quickly show you an overview of some of the most talked about topics on Twitter right now. For example, during a major sporting event, TV show or celebrity death you can quickly find out what has happened by clicking on the keyword in the Trending Topics list and reading the tweets that people are posting as the story breaks. This is one of the best features of Twitter that truly separates the service from that of Facebook. Twitter seems to be constantly in the headlines as Google and Facebook fight to buy the service in order to dominate the social search market. Social search is going to be huge in the not so distant future. The fight is on between Google and Facebook for who can provide the most compelling and relevant social search based upon breaking news and your social graph. The next big wave in search could be social search and so potentially it could mean huge revenues for the provider through advertisements.

It remains to be seen whether Twitter will resist the acquisitions and remain independent. One of the most important aspects of Twitters continued prosperity will be if they are able to nail the social search service.

Twitter should buy Digg!

I would propose that Twitter should buy Digg, for say around $50-75 million in order to truly provide a service that represents breaking social news for it’s users.

How would Twitter and Digg come together?

I would propose that Twitter add the Digg service to http://digg.twitter.com and integrate the backend system to that of Twitters. Here is a rundown of some of the implementations I would like to see.

A Digg button for each Tweet

A Digg button under each Tweet across all the website as well as through mobile applications and third party desktop applications allowing users to quickly digg any tweet they feel is digg-worthy.

http://digg.twitter.com

A one stop shop for seeing an overview of what is popular and what is trending online and across the world. Users can see an overview of what the users they are following are digging, what their followers are digging and what are the highest dugg stories are at the minute.

How would this work in reality?

  • I would propose that Twitter looks for any tweet with a link.
  • The destination of that link is then stripped out and attributed to a current story that the link relates to.
  • If there is no current story, Twitter would create a new entry on digg.twitter.com for a trending topic
  • Related Tweets could then be tagged to each news story and be used as a real time comments system.

What would this achieve?

I think if Twitter were to purchase Digg it would solve a number of problems for both parties.

Digg

  • Digg missed out on an opportunity to sell at its peak a couple of years ago.
  • Digg is in serious decline and is struggling to be the number one destination for user submitted social news storied as StumbleUpon grows.
  • Digg is also struggling to be the source of news that most users go to first. It is highly unlikely that this will change as Twitter and Facebook continue to grow.
  • Digg is built upon a number of key core areas and beliefs. In order to compete with Twitter and Facebook they might have to change these beliefs, alienating their users even more.
  • Digg is struggling for profitability and will never find a revenue stream that does not involve advertising.

Twitter

  • Twitter needs to become the number one destination for breaking news.
  • Twitter needs an outlet to display their news, something a lot better than trending topics and latest tweets.
  • Twitter also needs a system which allows users to vote up news they think is important other than just repeating the original message or spamming a hashtag.

Personally, I think this could be a match made in user submitted story heaven. I think the combination of both of the already popular services could provide the best way of organising what is hot at that moment in time. What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know!

Philip Brown

Hey, I'm Philip Brown, a designer and developer from Durham, England. I create websites and web based applications from the ground up. In 2011 I founded a company called Yellow Flag. If you want to find out more about me, you can follow me on Twitter or Google Plus.