Do you ask yourself which social news site you should join? Digg, Reddit or maybe even Mixx? The only correct answer is none of them.
Join Twitter instead. In fact Twitter is the only social news site you need in 2009.
Twitter as social news is a byproduct but it really works. While both Digg and Reddit have banned SEO related topics and business usage of their sites years ago, Mixx for business does not work for other reasons but it doesn’t either.
So it’s not a new discovery that Digg and Reddit are no democratic media at all and that some topics (like SEO) get censored completely there. It’s a sad realization that these sites get worse, even less democratic and that censorship spreads faster than previously imagined.
There is no use in complaining though. It’s time to move on. Those sites certainly won’t change to please the marketers they hate like its arch enemies. These sites are inherently flawed. Business and private usage of these sites can’t coexist in the current setup unless business usage is concealed and done undercover mimicking private usage (which gets done all the time). No real democracy can survive without business though.
Why do marketers try to reach the obnoxious Digg and Reddit crowds as well as to a lesser extent the Mixx community? They need attention, traffic and links as well a viral spread of memes. You can have all that easier and faster on Twitter. Plus: What’s popular on Twitter will often also succeed on second tier social sites like Digg, Reddit or Mixx.
Let’s take a look at how Digg and Reddit work: On Digg you have to spend a huge amount of time to succeed and you only do if your postings end up on the frontpage. When they don’t, they get wasted forever unless you change the URL of your page and resubmit but even that does not work in some cases. On Reddit you get a few dozens of random users to see your submission if you’re lucky and then you get voted down in most cases. Unless you really appeal to the instincts of the typical Digg and Reddit anti-everything brute. Mixx has failed to gain a critical mass of users that would allow to succeed there and get a substantial exposure. It only works as a nice to have.
Take note that I don’t deal with self submission of low quality self promotional stuff. It’s about pillar content submitted by legit independent users, often even power users.
The problem of conventional social news sites is the one size fits all opt out model. Mixx tried a different approach initially but abandoned it by now almost completely. Twitter in contrast is opt-in.
While on social news sites people get exposed to your content who may have no intention or desire to read it all your Twitter following are people who opted in to read your updates.
Social news sites only allow to vote down or bury undesirable content or block special users. On Twitter you can block followers too but in most cases you won’t see them at all unless they address you directly.
The Twitter “friend of friend system” also ensures a broader exposure of yor links. This way Twitter is already the biggest single social media source of traffic for busnes blogs unless you get popular on YouTube or have established a clandestine “we’re not business users at all” presence at one of the social news sites.
On Twitter nobody needs to hide what s/he stands for.
The opposite is the case. You’re welcome to join and participate as a brand or professional. Nobody get annoyed either unless you use too aggressive following tactics.
In 2009 Digg, Reddit and Mixx are not needed anymore. Twitter has more than substituted them.
Now some of you might argue that you don’t get the huge one time traffic spikes from Twitter that you get from Digg or Reddit. You can. Remember that most Twitter traffic stays invisible (as direct traffic) unless you track it using advanced methods. Also consider the time you have to spend on social news sites to gain some substantial footing. The same time spent on Twitter would yield much better results.