Sunday, May 25, 2008
Who Are Digg's Users?
The Digg website is a digital media democracy, placing a serious emphasis on articles and media that relate to technology and science. When articles are submitted to Digg.com, users of the website can vote on them by Digging content that they like the best, and Burying content that does not belong, is unoriginal or spam, or contains a broken link. The official name for a website that behaves in this fashion is 'social bookmarking', and websites like Digg are quickly becoming popular for a variety of purposes, including to promote businesses, products or services. Digg has even gained serious popularity as a platform for Presidential Election campaigns, with several more notable candidates using the Digg service to promote news articles and press releases relating to their campaigns.
Each social bookmarking website is a little different, and most cater to different crowds and audiences all together. While Digg has recently added new category containers like sports and lifestyle to suit a variety of different tastes and interests, this social bookmarking website was originally created to cater primarily to technology and science news, catering to a very specific crowd in the process. Although a large variety of very different people participate in the Digg.com community, the average Digg user can be defined fairly easily.
The statistics speak for themselves, when it comes to who the top diggers are, what the most "dugg" topics are, and where most of the popular stories are coming from. Although one would expect for the top general news websites to rank high in the list of top contributors to Digg.com, many of the highest ranked websites based on the number of posts are actually websites that primarily focus on science, technology or both topics equally. Of the top 1000 contributing websites based on the number of posts, nearly 600 have only contributed ten or less stories to the Digg community. On the other hand, here are some of the top players as far as number of contributions is concerned:
- Technology News – The technology and science category on Digg is clearly the one that sees the most action, as Digg's original purpose was to cater specifically to this crowd. The top contributor to Digg based on the number of stories Dugg is ArsTechnica.com, with 1165 posts, 947,313 diggs, and 104,188 comments. Other popular contributors to Digg that fall under this category are Engadget.com with 706 posts, Gizmodo.com with 552 posts, and TorrentFreak.com with 280 posts. There are plenty of websites in the list that are not related to technology, but the greatest saturation is clearly in this department.
- General News – Although traditional, general news websites do not receive nearly the number of diggs that technology news websites seem to garner, the general news category is becoming popular among the average users on Digg.com. Popular contributors to this category include Rawstory.com with 624 posts, news.yahoo.com with 521 posts, and nytimes.com with 513 posts. Other notable mentions are news.bbc.co.uk with 402 posts and the washingtonpost.com website with 292 posts. Lifestyle, sports and politics websites all follow general news according to the statistics, but none have quite the presence in Digg that technology and general news stories do.
Another indication of who the average users on Digg are is the most popular topics on Digg. In the last 365 days, technology industry news has clearly pulled into the lead, with 3688 posts, and 4,324,977 diggs. Gaming Industry News comes in third place, with 2667 posts and 2,713,398 diggs. Second place in the list is Offbeat news, which covers topics that do not fit into other categories on the website. Other science and technology topics; Apple, Linux/Unix, General Sciences and Environment take places 5, 6, 8 and 10 respectively. Fourth place goes to political news, ninth place goes to design, and everything gets a little mixed up from then onward. With Technology news serving as the most popular topic on Digg, is there really any question to who the average Digg user really is?
Determining who makes up the average users on Digg is a little more difficult using statistics based on the most popular words used in titles, but reading through the statistic list actually does give off some clues. For example, while the most popular words are words like 'and', 'the', 'to', 'of' and 'in', but scrolling down the list of popular words will also net you 'apple', 'Google', 'Linux', 'iPhone' and 'Microsoft' just to name a few. We found a dozen technology and science related words before we ran into one that wasn't. So while this category of statistics does not offer answers that are quite as clear as the others, it does cast some hints toward the types of people that use Digg most frequently.
According to the statistics presented here, the most popular uses for Digg revolve around technology and science related news, and most of the news is drawn from websites that are actually devoted to these topics. Although there are a myriad of different users on the Digg website, and making use of other social networking and social bookmarking websites online, Digg does seem to focus primarily on science, technology, mathematics and gadget related news.
It should not seem a surprise for Digg to be mainly technological in nature. This is not only because Digg was originally developed to cater to these categories, but also because most of the users taking part in the Web 2.0 social media revolution are technologically savvy in nature.
So who is the average Digg user? While not all Digg users are technically savvy, the average user is interested in science, technology and gadgetry. A large number of average Digg users enjoy Digging from work, and are often distracted for long periods of time. The average Digg user is a typical Internet user with an interest in or an understanding of technology and science related topics.