Digg vs. Yahoo Buzz

By mike_danhofmike_danhof (1261366734|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

There are many social sites out there, with the biggest being (IMHO) Digg and Reddit. The main purpose of these sites is to offer a place for people to share stories, news, and more to the community of users. These sites offer many positives and negatives, which will be discussed in this post.

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I have been a Digg user for several years now. I personally think its the best site, at least for fun and interesting articles, of the three sites I will be comparing. The first thing that I notice about Digg being better than others is the layout of the front page. Sure there are some ads, but its a free site, so that is expected. Below the top bar, which is very well laid out in term of categories and ease of finding them, as well as the search function, are the newest "Dugg" (think the "Like" button on Facebook) articles, pictures, movies, or whatever happens to be popular at the moment. By clicking on the item, it takes you to a new page that gives a brief overview of the content. The nice thing (IMHO, again), is that the preview is written by the submitter, not a generic one that is generated by the source of the content. This can be good or bad, as the preview may very well be quite biased, but it can also give you a better preview of what to really expect when you click on the content and go to the source.

Another feature of Digg that really drives the social aspect is the comments. As with the content being able to be Dugg-ed, comments can be Dugg up or down. Some of the comments can be very funny, making the experience more enjoyable. Other users may contribute related links in the comments, which are related (but sometimes not) to the main content. In this sense, it is like a pre-generated "related search" for other users. However, if the comment really sucks, or is very offensive, other users can Digg them down, and once they get enough "Thumbs Down" votes, the comments will be hidden. Sometimes the comment threads can be very long, but are often enjoyable to read.

To test Digg, I did a search on [green building]. There were 4523 results, and on the first page, many of them were relevant to my project. On the downside, most of them were just articles or pictures of green buildings, and not true information sources. But they were interesting nonetheless, and offered my a different path to do other searches using other sources, like Google or Bing. I also like how Digg shows the breakdown of the categories that each result comes from.

I had been on a bit of a hiatus from using Digg, but will definitely get back into using it more once again.

My Ratings

Experience: 8/10
Credibility: 7/10
Scholarly-ness: 5/10


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So I've never been a Yahoo! Buzz user before, nor had I even heard about it before today. Doing some research on it, I found that the service was launched just in early 2008. This would explain why it has such little knowledge outside of Yahoo! users (of which I am not). I tried exploring the site a bit, and found it a bit lackluster and having nothing innovative. I see Buzz as being nothing more than an aggregator of news articles that people can post. Even more interesting, as I read about it on Wikipedia ([Wikipedia:Yahoo!_Buzz]), it says that the original publisher of the news article retains the right to edit or remove the entry as it sees fit. Nothing like this would happen on Digg (unless the content was extremely and grossly offensive), as it is almost entirely user controlled, whereas Yahoo! Buzz is run by Yahoo.

Like Digg, users can rate up or down comments, as well as "Buzz up" articles they like. Personally, this seems like a exact replica, with some naming changes, of Digg. Also, the articles seem to be only from major news outlets. Digg will let users submit anything from any website, which may hurt credibility a bit, but also makes the experience better, and offers a much larger source of content.

One thing I noticed, and disliked very much, was the search function. Basically, there are two search bars in Buzz-one for Yahoo! search, and one for Buzz search. The problem is that both are in the right hand corner, but the Yahoo! search is much larger, and basically distracts from the Buzz search, making searching a bit of a hassle, especially if you don't notice this difference and suddenly are searching the web in Yahoo! Search. Finally, the content of Buzz is very stoic and news-oriented. There is no funny, interesting, or weird but cool content, like one could find on Digg or Reddit. This made me like the site much less, and made me wonder why I would use it. This is basically the same as a news search in my mind, so why would I not just use a news search and skip this site? This was the biggest turn-off for me for Buzz.

To test Buzz, I searched for [green building]. At first, there was one result. I thought that this must have been a mistake, and it was, in a way. By changing from Top Buzz to All of Buzz for the category, there was an exponential increase in results….to four. Four. More than 1000x less than what I got from Digg. This was rather disappointing, and pretty much turned me off from Buzz completely.

My Ratings

Experience: 2/10
Credibility: 8/10
Scholarly-ness: 8/10


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Finally, to be fair, I looked at Reddit. This is another social site, very similar to Digg in most respects. Reddit has its users submit content, offers a vote up and down function, and comments. However, I really, really, really hate the layout of the site. It looks childish and so low quality. Also, the content seems to be very random, and rather offensive. There also seems to be a dearth of any scholarly-like information. Also, the categories are very small and crammed to the top of the screen, making it difficult to see and use if you don't know what you are looking for. It seems to be a strictly for-fun site, and nothing else. Digg at least has a combination of fun and usefulness.

On the bright side, doing a search for [green building] did give quite a few good results, and led me to articles and content that was useful and interesting.

Overall, though, I don't like Reddit. But this seems to be the general trend of these sites-users have one strong preference for one, and don't like and don't use others. This picture kind of give you a sense of this:

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My Ratings for Reddit

Experience: 5/10
Credibility: 4/10
Scholarly-ness: 1/10

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