It’s not just Facebook that’s experimenting with new ways to get its users to find interesting news, but Digg – the slowly fading grandfather of tech-focused aggregation sites – also just launched a new news discovery product: the Digg Newsroom. These new pages are highly focused topic pages that can focus on anything from Lady Gaga to tech. This is an invite-only beta for now, so it may be a while before we actually get to test it. I doubt Newsrooms is the feature that will bring Digg’s old fans back to the site, however, but it’s good to see that the service still has some life in it.
According to Digg CEO Matt Williams, the “newsrooms” (which don’t look very different from Digg’s regular topics pages) are meant to help the site’s users find “the best news for a given topic as measured by popular opinion and ranked by top contributors on Digg.”
The Newsroom feature is, in Williams’ words, based on a three-step algorithm that uses the Digg community and outside signals from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to surface interesting news. Besides these signals, though, the news is also filtered by looking at the votes and comments “of passionate users who have gained reputation as top influencers in each Newsroom topic.”
The most active of the passionate users will be rewarded with virtual badges.
This doesn’t sound very different from what Digg is doing today. According to Williams, though, this new algorithm will be better at surfacing meaningful stories.
Will This Help Digg to Get Back on Its Feet?
Ever since its highly unpopular v4 redesign in 2010, Digg has struggled to regain its footing. The Newsroom, however, is likely to be the slowest updating part of Digg. One of Digg’s biggest problems in the past was how long it took for interesting stories to appear on the homepage. While there is a real-time feed of activity in any given newsroom (votes, comments etc.), it remains to be seen how active these feeds will be and if this new feature can bring some life into Digg.