Facebook and MySpace are getting more company: this week Digg is launching a host of new social media features, and will be rolling out more the rest of the year. Their goal, according to BusinessWeek, is to "make it easier for users to find others who share their passions by enabling them to form small groups of "friends" and create fuller personal profiles. There will be profile pages where users can post photos, personal interests, and links to personal blogs, web sites, etc. Like Facebook, users will be able to control whether all Digg users can see their info or just their "friends."
Digg's founders Jay Adelson and Kevin Rose are obviously trying to cash in on the social media craze and add some stickiness to their site. Right now less than one of out 5 (est) of the people who visit Digg are registered users; the rest of the 20 million plus users (by Digg's count) swoop in, read an article, and move on. Digg has historically (historical=3 years)been the domain of techies, and is known for a wide range of stories, many quirky, that people submit and vote on--or "digg". Popular stories rise to the top.
Digg may be late to the party with Facebook, MySpace already entrenched, and dozens of other social media sites emerging. The focus is on creating small communities of 5 to 10 or 15 people, creating connections around like-minded subjects. But that's exactly what Facebook is doing and it has an army of developers cranking out new applications every day. It's also unclear whether Digg will be able to build communities around the "dugg" news items. Last, they also risk annoying their core base of techie users, who now have to compete with business, lifestyle and other topics (one cool facet of Digg are the acid-tongue comments and humor).
Adelson and Rose have a balancing act in keeping the natives happy, while broadening their base. Still, with millions of visitors and a brand name, you can't count them out either.