Is Twitter the New Digg?
April 28, Darren Rowse publishes a guest post on his Twitip blog titled 11 Useful Twitter Tools That Don’t Require Your Password. One of the readers submits the post to a social network, and suddenly other users of that social network start “voting” on it. The story receives over 1,200 “votes,” and an avalanche of 50,000 visitors end up on Darren’s website.
You probably think that the social network that I mentioned is Digg, right?
Well, it is not. I am talking about Twitter. The “votes” are tweets and retweets that contained a link to the story.
How do I know Twitter sent 50,000 visitors to that story? Because Bit.ly, the default URL shortener on Twitter, tracks the number of clicks that are sent to each URL. Here is a screenshot from the story in question:
In reality the Bit.ly shortened URL could have been used in other places too, say email newsletters, which could mean that not all 50,000 visitors were coming from Twitter. But to compensate this, there is the fact that different Twitter applications use different shortening services. Some still use tinyurl.com, while others use is.gd and so on. This means that the Bit.ly tracked clicks are only part of all the clicks that came via Twitter, making the 50,000 visitors number reasonable, if not an underestimation.
Mind you that I didn’t spend too much time looking for a story that had received tens of thousands of visitors from Twitter. There are probably many more around, perhaps some with over 100,000 visitors referred from Twitter.
And the interesting thing is that this phenomenon is not limited to tech blogs, blogs that have the Tweetmeme widget or blogs where the author has a massive Twitter following. Just like with social bookmarking sites, Twitter is picking stories from websites that don’t even know what Twitter is, that don’t have a “Tweet This” link at the bottom of their articles, and it is sending a lot of traffic to them.
For example, last week MSNBC published an article inside its Discovery Channel column titled Nude, Mona Lisa-like painting surfaces. I don’t think that the author of the article tried to promote it on Twitter at all, and the site does not have any Twitter widgets or buttons. Yet Bit.ly shows that it got over 6,000 visitors from Twitter:
It is not the same as a Digg front page, but it is a decent amount, especially when compared with other social bookmarking sites like Reddit and Delicious.
Another point to take into consideration is that Twitter is growing much faster that Digg or any other bookmarking sites:
Finally, Twitter also has a cleaner process for sharing links and stories. There are no “power users” who control what gets popular and what doesn’t, no need to submit the story to the right category and with a catchy title, no risk of people burying your stories for no reason, and the list goes on.
So instead of the “Digg effect,” soon we might be looking at the “Twitter effect.”
31 Responses to “Is Twitter the New Digg?”
Blog Angel a.k.a. Joella
I find that by submitting and resubmitting URLs to my blog posts I get more visitor traffic than from any other social media site including digg.
Considering that most retweets completely fail to give accurate description on what they link to…
I think Twitter traffic also has potential to surpass Digg in being useless if not in volume. 🙂
Roseli A. Bakar
Twitter Effect is happening already. Everyday you can see tweets like PLS RT, RT pls, Please spread, Pls share this etc etc…
@Rarst, Digg traffic is peculiar, but I wouldn’t go as far as saying it is useless. I used to get 200-300 new RSS subscribers for any given Digg FP, plus dozens of backlinks at least, which is not bad at all in my opinion.
Harish | Blogging Kid
Honestly Twitter is. But It cannot match digg until you haave thousands of followers. But with thousands of followers. Each of your tweet Retweeted will do wonders. Great post 🙂
@Roseli, the “Digg effect” is the sudden traffic burst the Digg sends to websites that get featured on the front page, sometimes crashing the server of those sites.
The “Twitter effect”, therefore, will be when Twitter starts crashing servers from around the web.
Even digg is now using twitter instead of it’s own share function.
off-topic: I just joined twitter and wondering… If I don’t follow someone and he sends me a message via @user, will I see it in my main/home page even if I don’t follow him?
@Vygantas, you will not see it on your homepage, only at the your replies page.
Just found it, awesome. Thanks 🙂
You are not most bloggers either. 🙂
More on topic – Twitter is highly overhyped and overestimated at moment. I don’t think it is good time to make long term predictions.
thanks for sharing. the really interesting question is “what is the next twitter”? otherwise, i agree based on my own experiences – users/tweeters (in my case: readers) are flocking to me via the twitter/bit.ly connection. the threshold for sharing is low, costs are down and yield is high.
Twitter is what works best for me. However i don’t think Digg should be over looked. IMO
I too use bitly and it helps a lot.
TIP – You can have more than 1 short URLs for same link and post on various social media. This helps to track which one is actually working for you.
About social media till date I have not received many hits from digg but Twitter yes at times gives me several hits within 1 hr of posting. 🙂
And again Digg is now a monopoly of few users. 🙁
nice post Daniel.
A little extra background on the story of that post you mentioned on Twitip – the reason it went viral was mainly due to a certain Ashton Kutcher linking to it. Not sure who passed it on to him but it’s an illustration of how a story can be picked up by someone, passed onto an influencer and go viral.
I’m glad my guest post had such a great impact , in matter of days after the publication the post went madly viral on Twitter, thanks to Darren and the incredible amount of followers that @aplusk has, we can see the true power of this micro-blogging tool and the incredible reach it has.
Twitter has certainly highlighted the delays in Digg’s front page promotional algorithm. News is often well covered (many times over) on twitter by the time it hits the front page of Digg.
The only way to get breaking news is to watch the Upcoming section. The problem Digg has that story submission is a much higher barrier to entry that posting a tweet.
I just joined Twitter about 2 weeks ago. I still don’t understand all the abbreviations, but I’m guessing this will be a good move for my business in the long run…
Twitter is it today. I’m grabbing opportunity to utilize this social networking to the maximum level.
Still i like Digging
@Darren, thanks for explaining.
I guess that could also be seen as a benefit of Twitter, as it enables people to connect with virtually anyone, even with the celebrities who are joining it every day.
More and more people use Twitter nowadays and in addition, there are variety of application for Twitter. Twitter is easy and simple to use. That’s why most people choose it as the most preferred medium to spread any info today.
Even the normal news could be a big one!
Funny you mention this, I wrote the same in March (Is Twitter digging DIGGs grave? http://www.thefloatingfrog.co.uk/tips-tricks-tutorials/is-twitter-digging-diggs-grave/). I guess with sites like Tweetmeme, Twitter could very easily replace Digg.
SEO For Google
I still think Digg is a better choice for web traffic as compared to twitter
I guess that could also be seen as a benefit of Twitter, as it enables people to connect with virtually anyone
I agree that the new Digg toolbar is much more creative than Digg.
I like Digg and Twitter.
Tom – Home Business Tips
People post too much of their own stuff the services, i.e self promotion.I always try to post other peoples good and useful content to the services.When you contribute, people will appreciate it I think.
I like Twitter a lot more than Digg, in fact I donÂ´t use Digg anymore because there is no useful information for internet marketers.
Honestly Twitter is. But It cannot match digg until you haave thousands of followers. But with thousands of followers. Each of your tweet Retweeted will do wonders. Great post
Digg, did I hear that correctly, No way! Twitter is a new revolution in Social media and is creating a whirlwind in the Internet Marketing. It just cannot be compared or spoken in line with DIGG or any other system out there right now.
Iâ€™m glad my guest post had such a great impact , in matter of days after the publication the post went madly viral on Twitter, thanks to Darren and the incredible amount of followers that @aplusk has, we can see the true power of this micro-blogging tool and the incredible reach it has.
“There are no â€œpower usersâ€ who control what gets popular and what doesnâ€™t”
Of course there are. People only have a finite number of things they are willing to retweet during the course of a day, and when a person with a lot of followers/influence tweets something, that creates the domino effect of retweets. In essence, they’re controlling what gets popular.
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