More relevant and more social but also more... argh
A week ago, it was announced that veteran social news site Digg would be relaunched as a start-up on August 1. Today, the team behind the relaunch welcomed everyone to Digg v1 – presumably ignoring the Digg v1 that arrived back in 2004.
According to the ten-person team of 'designers, engineers and editors', the aim of the revamped network is to be more relevant and social, encourage third-party development through an API and "move the website forward" with new features, such as the Reading List.
However, the new site has irked some users by forcing them to sign in through Facebook in order to Digg a story: something that the FAQ explains is a temporary solution while robust spam-filtering technology is worked on.
Feedback on the Digg blog includes a number of complaints from users grumbling that the team should have waited for the tech to be completed before relaunching.
However, Tyler Hayes, who works in community support at Disqus, defended the move. He said that the point of Digg's early release was to lay the foundation and infrastructure for a new product, and stay intensely focused. On his blog, Hayes added he was "excited for any project with management who support a complete, crunch mode refresh".
Speaking to .net, author and technologist Suw Charman-Anderson said time would tell whether Digg has the "vision and skill to reinvent itself and regain relevance in what is now a crowded space". She pointed not only at competitors like Reddit and StumbleUpon, but also the volume of content flowing past people via social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, news recommendation apps like Flipboard, and bookmarking sites like Pinterest.
"Whereas once you had to seek out new and interesting content, now you can just sit back and let your friends on Twitter or Pinterest find stuff for you," she said. "It's hard to see what niche a new Digg can inhabit and dominate."
In order to succeed, Charman-Anderson commented that it's vital Digg consolidates its existing community, expands into mobile and uses social functionality to attract new users. She warned that the temporary Facebook-only login could backfire: "If Digg is going to implement a new login system using third-party authentication, it would have made much more sense to offer Facebook, Twitter and Google logins as a minimum, so people can use the service of their choice. The assumption that everyone is on Facebook and is happy logging in using Facebook is shortsighted and foolish, and appears to be already alienating Digg's existing community."