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Interview with a Digg power user

We’re lucky enough today to talk to Muhammed Saleem, a respected social media strategist and Digg power user.

Digg has always been a powerful social hub, with wide ranging benefits in terms of exposure, links and reputation who those who are creative enough to use it in a positive way. With recent Digg algorithm changes, I think it’s important to look at how top Digg users are interacting with Digg and how we can all get the most from it.

Hello, Muhammad. Thanks for doing this interview. Can you just kick us off with how you discovered Digg and how you started using it?

I discovered Digg through the site’s podcast, Diggnation. I started off using it fairly irregularly and in fact, in the beginning got little or no traction on my stories. After participating more regularly, I saw that the more I participated, the more people took note of my profile and my activity and consequently I got hooked.

Can you give new users to Digg any advice on how to successfully start good accounts, in terms of what they should be doing in submitting stories, commenting and looking at what others have submitted?

Sure. To give new users a sense of how to participate in the beginning, and how to evolve this participation as you get used to the social news environment, I wrote the following manual.

What is your opinion of the Digg “shout” system, help or harm?

The Digg shout system is a good concept, but it is often abused because it is so easy to abuse and because most people have no incentive to use it properly. But if you use it properly it can be a very powerful and useful tool.

Do you think the importance of Diggs received from friends or people you’ve shouted is reduced?

Yes, the influence is reduced, but it has less to do with wether they are your ‘friend’ or not, and it has more to do with how
regularly they vote on your submissions. Someone could not list you as a friend but as long as they follow most of your content, their influence is reduced.

How much of a factor do you think that; age of the account, ratio of popular stories, thumbs up/down to your comments has on your Digg vote authority?

It’s very difficult to know for sure because the Digg algorithm is not open and it’s not very straightforward. However, we can speculate on what factors are important, and all the factors you mention, could very well play an important role.

Do you think Digg discounts the importance of votes when users land directly on Digg stories, rather than searching through Digg?

One of the things that Kevin and Jay told us was that when they speak about diversity, they are looking at where and how people discover stories in Digg. This could mean that when someone shares a link directly with you, that could have less influence compared to if you find the link through the upcoming queue, one of the many digg visualization tools, or through search.

What is your opinion of the recent Digg algorithm changes?

The algorithm appears to have changed back to normal. However, for a while there, the algorithm was the cause of concern for many Digg users because it appeared to penalize more popular users and put the spotlight on the lack of transparency at Digg.

Have the algorithm changes effect how you interact with Digg? If so, how?

For a while there I was wondering wether it was even useful to participate on Digg anymore if no one was going to see the stories I was submitting. Now that the algorithm has adjusted, I don’t see any
problem.

Do you think its plausable that Digg will one day be replaced, or users will migrate to other social news sites?

I don’t think any social news site replaces another. It’s not a zero-sum game. Each of these sites provides unique value that another doesn’t, and so regardless of what happens, there will always be room for multiple social news sites to exist and flourish together.

Can you give us non-power users some advice on Digg submissions and how to get more Diggs?

The best way to get Diggs is to submit quality content and to network with other users.

How do you see Digg evolving over the next few months and years?

One of the main things that I’m extremely excited about is Digg’s upcoming recommendation engine. Once that is in place, I think the overall Digg experience will be much better.

Some brilliant stuff there, I recommend you read through all of the articles Muhammad has linked too and think about how he interacts with Digg, compared to yourself. You can view his Digg profile here with his impressive 33% popular ratio, from 3,826 stories!

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9 responses to “Interview with a Digg power user”

  • Ranked Hard: SEO Comic says:

    I’m glad Digg changed their algo back to normal, but I guess it was inevitable because of how angry people became. Power Users don’t like to be robbed of their power.

    Comment by Ranked Hard: SEO Comic
    February 13th, 2008 @ 11:43 pm

  • Elliott says:

    Interesting read. I am wondering if someone can answer why my account was deleted, all posts removed, for no reason.

    I have tried numerous times to email Digg, and have gotten no response. I didn’t spam my own stuff, create multiple accounts, or shout spam anything.

    One day it was there, the next it was gone.

    I was fairly active in the community, but can’t get a response. Maybe Muhammed can pull a couple of strings there and find something out for me?!

    I enjoyed Digg and it did bring quite a bit of traffic to my site.

    Comment by Elliott
    February 15th, 2008 @ 6:45 pm

  • Paul says:

    Great post. I never really knew if these social medias really worked. But I am glad to see that there is some use to them.

    Comment by Paul
    February 22nd, 2008 @ 7:03 pm

  • Jim says:

    Interesting post here. I really like hearing about what the best in the buisness have to say about websites, what they like and don’t like. I think I will definitely share this link around as an example of a Digg power user, which are sometimes hard to track down. Thanks :)

    Comment by Jim
    February 26th, 2008 @ 3:17 pm

  • Paul says:

    I agree Jim, even if you stumble a page Google will index it the next crawl.

    Comment by Paul
    February 27th, 2008 @ 8:40 pm

  • MrBabyMan says:

    A great interview with an impressive social news submitter! Very informative stuff!

    Comment by MrBabyMan
    March 10th, 2008 @ 2:11 am

  • Brian says:

    Good interview! But WTF is up with the new picture lol!

    Comment by Brian
    March 14th, 2008 @ 10:39 pm

  • Mark says:

    I got bored of the old picture (: Thought some Jager would spruce things up a bit – don’t you like it??

    Comment by Mark
    March 17th, 2008 @ 2:44 am

  • Lose Fat Fast says:

    Great insight saleem. I knew I added you as a friend for some reason. =) Digg seems to be really simple in the end. The more time you spend, the more it pays off…

    Comment by Lose Fat Fast
    August 19th, 2008 @ 3:04 am