Number of Tech Stories on Digg Is Dropping Rapidly
Being an ardent follower of Digg’s tech section, I’ve noticed that the number of tech stories has rapidly diminished in the last year. I’m not talking, of course, about the switch Digg made from being a purely tech site to covering other topics, which occurred in June, 2006. As expected, the number of tech-related stories on the front page of Digg was reduced at the time. But this number kept falling steadily, and it has come down so low that I can’t consider Digg a good source for tech news anymore, simply because it’s too selective.
I’ve decided to put my hypothesis to the test. I’ve counted the number of front page stories in Technology in a week’s period (I did it by simply counting the stories within 24-hour periods in this view) now, and in early 2007, where I used the Wayback Machine, deducing the approximate number of stories from the number of pages on the Top in 24 hours sections (perhaps there is a better way to do this, but I couldn’t think of it).
Of course, the results aren’t clinically precise because of this and some other minor factors (I haven’t counted the stories that were popular, then buried, for example), but the difference between the two sets of results is so obvious that these imprecisions aren’t important. Here are the results:
Number of stories on the front page of Digg (popular) from the Technology section from 30th of January to the 05th of February, 2008.
Tuesday, Feb 5, 2008: 22
Monday, Feb 4, 2008: 11
Sunday, Feb 3, 2008: 13
Saturday, Feb, 2 2008: 12
Friday, Feb 1, 2008 2008: 14
Thursday, Jan 31, 2008: 16
Wednesday, Jan 30, 2008: 18
Number of stories on the front page of Digg (popular) from the Technology section on seven days in February, March and April in 2007 (my choice of days was limited to the pages Wayback Machine has in its database):
As you can see, even though almost a full year has passed since Digg introduced additional categories, in February and March of 2007. there was a solid number of technology stories on the front page, somewhere between 21 and 50. One year later, and the number of stories ranges from 11 to 22, with the average being 15.
While some might argue that this is a good thing, many of us old school Digg users still think of Digg as a technology site; or, at the very least, as a site with a very strong tech news section. Hell, that’s what it was for nearly 2 years. But, from today’s perspective, Digg simply doesn’t carry enough daily tech stories to cover all important technology news.
Am I complaining about change (not this particular change, but change in general) here? Not at all. Digg’s community has obviously changed, and whether it’s for better or for worse, diggers still choose what they want to read on Digg. However, it’s undeniable that letting a community govern a site can have certain undesirable outcomes; and losing focus is definitely one of them.
Some laughed at Slashdot when Digg surpassed its rankings on sites like Alexa, saying that Digg is going to stomp all over it; however, today Slashdot still delivers technology stories, while Digg simply isn’t tech-oriented at all anymore. Perhaps Digg is now bigger than Slashdot, but Slashdot is now a significantly more focused site than Digg; in a way, it is again the biggest wisdom-of-crowds tech site out there. It beat Digg at its own game by doing next to nothing.