Digg is at it again. At midnight, they launched a whole new set of social features. The ultimate goal is to increase user participation and engagement. Why? According to Digg, only 15% – 20% of site visitors are registered users. In other words, the company is banking that a ‘social network’ strategy will encourage participation.
So, what features have been added? Well, users can now:
- Send “shouts” to specific Digg users. This is similar to the traditional link submission process, but only to a chosen subset of friends.
- Discuss stories or chat via a profile page message board.
- Post photos, personal info, a bio, and links, essentially creating an online identity.
- Control their privacy settings.
- View comment history.
Digg also outlined plans for the near future. The two major features mentioned included a dedicated image section, as well as a recommendation engine. The latter would suggest stories to read or potential Digg friends, based on user behaviour.
I look forward to seeing these new features in action. An image section has been a long time in the coming, and a recommendation engine would up the ‘cool’ factor (assuming it works well).
What’s eerie (to me) about these newest features is how closely they mimick those of Pownce – Kevin Rose’s other project. Sharing links with specific friends? Discussions threads? An extended profile? Privacy control? All of these features scream Pownce. Is this so-called Twitter competitor so revolutionary that Rose feels Digg needs to copy it? I have yet to make a decision on that. Who knows… if Pownce adds news submissions, they might as well amalgamate the two.