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How Digg Works

        Tech | Social Networks

Special Digg Features
The Digg BigSpy application presents stories using the font size to indicate popularity.
The Digg BigSpy application presents stories using the font size to indicate popularity.
(HSW Screenshot, no credit)

We've covered most of the basics, but there's more you can do with Digg.com. It's kind of an all-in-one news site, blog feeder and "social bookmarking" hub. Some of the additional features you can use at Digg include:

  • Digg Recommendations - Digg's Recommendation Engine uses a special algorithm to search for other Digg members who Dugg the same stories you've Dugg. You can use the engine to make friends or just keep an eye out for stories you might otherwise miss. You can use the Recommendation Engine by browsing in Digg's Upcoming tab, or you can switch to the "All" view and look at everything.
  • Digg Spy - Digg Spy offers a real-time view of Digg.com activity. You can watch as stories are submitted, promoted, Dugg and reported.
  • Social bookmarks - Add friends and keep track of their activities on Digg through your own profile page.
  • Podcast - Subscribe to the Diggnation podcast to listen to Digg's founder and his buddy discuss the most popular stories on Digg each week and address Digg-related issues. (See How Podcasting Works to learn about this populist medium.)
  • Blog connections - Digg offers one-click blogging of any story as long as your blog is hosted by Typepad, Blogger, Live Journal, Moveable Type or Wordpress. Just click the "blog story" link below any story description. (You can also add a "Digg this" button to your own blog posts so your readers can instantly submit one of your stories to Digg. It's not a Digg.com-created or -endorsed feature, but Digg doesn't seem to mind that people do it.)
  • RSS feed - Add Digg news to your own site through an RSS feed. You have several options of which stories to feed -- you can automatically add all Digg homepage stories, all stories you Digg or comment on, and all stories any of your friends Digg or comment on.
  • E-mail story - E-mail any story to a friend by clicking the "email this" link beneath the story description.
  • Block/report user - If you find that you don't like a particular person's submissions or comments, you can block that user so nothing he or she does appears in your Digg view. If that user is blocked by enough Digg users, he or she can get banned from Digg.

I­n addition to these special features, the developers at Digg are always working on new applications. The Digg Labs hosts applications that use Digg in unique ways, such as tracking the use of images across Digg or using different views to display stories. For example, the BigSpy application displays Digg stories using fonts of different sizes -- larger fonts indicate stories that have received more Diggs. 

There's a lot happening on the user end of the Digg Web site. On the surface, it's a voluntary group effort that consistently produces a Digg homepage worth checking out -- a brilliant business strategy if you consider how much it would cost to pay people to perform the same jobs. Under the surface, Digg has 75 employees (with plans to double this number by the end of 2009) and hundreds of servers. In the next section, we'll check out some of what goes on the behind the scenes to make Digg work.

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