Digg vs. StumbleUpon

By WdchenWdchen (1261422512|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

Comparison of two social news sites: Digg and StumbleUpon

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There are many different types of social sites available on the web. If you want to find/share current information about what is going around in the world, you can do so through many different venues. Everything is all within a click of a mouse! Today, I'll be focusing primarily on the news aspect of social sites.

Purpose

The main purpose of this blog entry is to help you distinguish and compare two social news sites: Digg and StumbleUpon While many news sites tend to be relatively similar in providing you essentially the same information, I will make an attempt at demonstrating the uniqueness of the two.

Layout

When you first enter into Digg and StumbleUpon, this is what you see:

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From a first glance, the difference between the two is already quite apparent. On the left, we have the homepage of Digg and to the right we have StumbleUpon. Digg appears to heavily focus on news items. Right from the start, we already see various news articles and how many "Diggs" or hits, people have ranked it. StumbleUpon, on the other hand, appears to also provide you with news articles, but focuses on other areas as well, such as art, music, photography, etc. From taking a look at the two homepages, this is the first observation that I find to be quite revealing.

Search

Because my term project is on Crime and Violence and news articles definitely encompass a big portion of the work, initially, you would think these two sites would come in handy and be helpful.

Therefore, I conducted a simple [crime and violence news] query for the two.

Digg

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The results from Digg are satisfactory. I would say that 5 out of the first 10 would be worth taking a look at , and perhaps 1 or 2 might be useful for my term project. In order for the news articles to be highlighted and appear in the search, people must rate it through giving it a "Digg". Otherwise, the article may get unnoticed and will not be generated in the results. Essentially, the more "Diggs" an article gets, the more popular it becomes and may continue to get more views, potentially appearing on the homepage, if there are enough "Diggs".

Digg focuses on being a democratizing digital media outlet. Any user is allowed to participate by taking 4 simple steps:

  1. Discover
    • Submit your favorite articles, images, or videos online
    • If it is good, determined by the number of "Diggs" it receives, it has the opportunity to make it onto the homepage in its listed category
  2. Select
    • Find particular articles, images, or videos that you enjoy and participate by "Digging" them. This contributes to their popularity.
    • If you find stories with bad links, are off-topic, or are duplicates, you have the authority to "Bury" or delete them as well.
  3. Share
    • Through the process of inviting friends or making friends on Digg, you can find out what they are "Digging" and vice versa. Doing so, will allow you to build a network.
    • Email
      • Through being a Digg user, you have the ability to email your friends, whether a user or not, the stories that you find interesting.
  4. Discuss
    • Part of the entire process is to find stories that you find interesting and talk about them. It is highly encouraged to share your opinions by commenting on stories, images, and videos. This further builds the network and allows the discussions to flow.

Listed below are the topics that Digg highlights:

StumbleUpon

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The results from StumbleUpon seem to be a step below Digg in terms of relevancy. After conducting the same query, the first 5 results are shown at right. From rating the first 10 results, I would say that 0 "good" results were obtained. Although the layout of the results are well placed, with a small thumbnail of the page available, the results are just not good, whatsoever!

As far as user participation goes, StumbleUpon is very similar to Digg in this respect. The entire site focuses on StumbleUpon uses, in the form of ratings. This allows users to establish a collaborative opinion on a particular website's quality. In terms of distinguishing themselves from a regular search engine, StumbleUpon stresses the usability and ease of the rating system. Rather than searching for quality web sites, StumbleUpon members are taken to sites that already match their preferences and interests.

After conducting some searches and exploring the two sites, my initial impression of StumbleUpon has been confirmed. Although StumbleUpon does provide you with news articles, the quality of the articles are not very impressive. It definitely focuses its attention on other aspects of its site and does not place as much importance on being a news provider.

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To the right are the categories that StumbleUpon seems to place more emphasis on, as opposed to focusing on news. This is quite an extensive list and would be very interesting to play around with, but because I am doing an evaluation based on the usefulness for my term project, I would have to say that these other functions are not quite as relevant.

Comparison

Overall, Digg and StumbleUpon do provide you with news articles, but both generate results that lack relevancy to my subject, compared to other news sites, such as CNN Crime or AOL Crime. The main purpose of being a social news site, however, is the ability, as a user to participate freely in its site content. For both, you have to authority to rank a particular article or website either by a "Digg" or a "StumbleUpon" to inform other users about its information provided.

In terms of the evaluations, I would rate Digg a 4 out of 10, and StumbleUpon a 2 out of 10. Digg provides a very limited number of articles that are worth looking at, but would not be a site that I would visit on a regularly basis. The results are not good enough to spend much time on it.

StumbleUpon does not provide any relevant results at all! It is evident that their attention is spent elsewhere as opposed to on news sites and therefore, in conducting my research, I would not spend any time on StumbleUpon.

Pros of Digg

  • Good layout for a homepage, providing top news for users to easily scan
  • Gives users authority to participate in choosing content

Cons of Digg

  • Limited relevant results on crime and violence

Pros of StumbleUpon

  • Has many different categories for a user to explore
  • Good functional layout that is user friendly

Cons of StumbleUpon

  • Results for crime and violence are not relevant at all!
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