Is Twitter digging DIGGs grave?

Like a lot of people I know I was a little late arriving at the DIGG party. Achieving a front page listing for one of your stories a few years ago was extremely achievable, and many bloggers benefited from what became known as the Digg-effect. A front page story can throw across a substantial spike in this social media themed traffic. Now a days it’s almost impossible for sites like this to benefit from the DIGG-effect so a lot of bloggers and web masters are slowly moving away from Digg and focusing their social marketing towards sites like REDDIT, Stumbleupon, de.lic.ious and now it seems Twitter.

When this blog was setup we installed the Diggthis button and averaged around 80 Diggs per post, thanks to our RSS readers and our Digg friends. Unfortunately Digg isn’t a great referrer for us and we never managed to fulfill the techniques required to get any one story featured. I feel thousands and thousands of other bloggers have gained very little from Digg and have given up on even submitting their stories.

Personally Stumbleupon is our greatest social media traffic source, referring over 180,000 hits on one article alone. My good friend Tim Nash gave a great talk on Stumbleupon a year or so ago and ascertained some useful facts about the service. Tim summarised “On average there are 250 visits per thumbup… but one thumbup does not equal 250 visits”.

Next comes REDDIT, but traffic is like a flash in the pan, dying out as quickly as it started.

Social media traffic graph

The Twitter Effect

I have a prediction. The prediction is Twitter will become over the next year or so a major referrer to blogs and company websites, replacing Digg and a whole host of other social media sites. What used to be called the Digg-effect is starting to be replaced by the Twitter-effect. I believe Twitter will dig Digg’s final grave.

Twitter is a very simple status update service, incase you have never heard of it, and is becoming every more popular. Over the last few months it’s really started to hit the main stream with the likes of Jonanthan Ross (@Wossy) and Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) talking on the Jonathan Ross show and about Twitter, giving the service maximum exposure to the nation.

Over the last year or so hundreds of Twitter based web apps, websites and plugins have been created. The Twitter API has enabled the simple service to become ever more popular. Our friend Patrick over at Branded3 has even developed a twitter based petition service.

Now to aid bloggers and website masters to ascertain a slice of the Twitter pie there is a whole host of WordPress plugins they can use. One plugin which is particularly popular at the moment is the Tweetmeme plugin (the button at the top of this past on the left). Tweetmeme works a bit like Digg, presenting user submitted news stories on their website, where people can retweet the post on their own Twitter stream to boost the story up.

By using Tweetmeme you potentially have an unlimited supply of traffic and exposure. For example, you tweet the story and have 200 followers to your Twitter stream and 5% Retweet the tweet, that’s 5 retweets! Then if that sequence continues and 5% of their followers retweet the same tweet then 5 turns into 25 (30 in total). This pyramid style traffic can easily pull thousands of visitors across to your website, resulting in a very powerful Twitter-effect.

The difference with this Twitter-effect over Digg is that you start the chain off by communicating direct with your followers, who in most scenarios would be more than willing to retweet a worthy tweet. It’s still new and hasn’t as yet been flooded by potential Twitter power users, unlike Digg, but watch this space.

The Floating Frog

Freelance web designer, father and a floating frog (long story). I've been designing websites since 2002 and writing about the industry for even longer!