How Social Networking Has Killed Digg and SEO 1.0

Digg vs StumbleUpon vs Tumblr

in 2007 I boldly predicted that social browsing services like StumbleUpon are the next big thing!

Not only that! I extrapolated that they will kill the popular social news site Digg and SEO 1.0!

Did they? No. I was wrong. Social networking did though. Let me explain below in detail.

What the Heck is StumbleUpon or Digg?

StumbleUpon was the first and only to succeed big time with social browsing.

Nevertheless it still was a mix of conventional social bookmarking and real social browsing services:

they monitored your online activity and matched it with your own and others’ patterns automatically.

In the best case social browsing allowed you to see what others see on their screen in real time and chat on or interact with the same website at the same time.

With StumbleUpon you still had to click and “stumble” manually like you would “channel surf” on TV using a remote.

Full Fledged Social Browsing Failed

There were other more automated services that just watched your moves.

They guessed and suggested the next website you might like based on what you like.

They worked like Spotify but for websites not music. None of them did not succeed though. Instead

social networking and image sharing sites like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn succeeded.

They have replaced SEO 1.0 known for keyword rich but poorly readable copy with high quality SEO 2 content.

StumbleUpon was a “missing link” service. It was better than static websites but not social enough like real social media.

The new wave of social networking sites also dethroned both old school SEO “1.0” and first wave social news media like StumbleUpon and Digg.

True: Digg and SEO Are Both Obsolete

At Digg you still had to sift through piles of irrelevant and non-targeted information to find something.

The “top news” are still the lowest common denominator (crap).

In version 4 Digg got better by following the lead of Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr but it was still difficult to get the right stuff in “my news”.

You had to find decent people to follow an there weren’t enough on Digg anymore.

Similarly conventional SEO 1.0 that kept “link building” links barely anyone clicked also failed in an environment where social networking is the benchmark of popularity.

Why Social Networking Outperformed Social News

Digg died as there were many and more effective ways to find what you look after.

Facebook or Twitter did not serve the same type of main stream low value content geared towards a mass audience.

Social networking works for all niches and at the same time is better at reflecting overall trends.

So you do both: You can communicate with your community on Facebook etc. and o find out what people close to you deem worthy to be shared.

It’s not one size fit all. It’s a collection of all sizes and colors where each one of them has a chance to become popular.

There is no Front-Page on the Web

On Digg V4 this still didn’t work. The obsolete front-page metaphor only allowed content to succeed that offered what the predominantly

  • disgruntled
  • male
  • geeky

and white middle class aka the average Digg user wanted. Reddit became better at social news by splitting up in myriads of niche communities.

That’s why I’m on X-Twitter or LinkedIn most of the time.

Here every niche can thrive and sometimes you can get traction even outside of it depending on the circumstances.

So I was right about Digg and SEO being replaced by something better but it wasn’t social browsing.

I erred here almost completely. SEO 2 or “social SEO” is today almost the norm though.

It’s still called SEO but it’s something quite different these days than in the early 2000s.

SEO is about social media outreach, blogger relations and killer content creation now.

There is still SEO 1.0 out there but it’s more and more spammy.

The real SEO has evolved and is social to the core by now.

StumbleUpon is also dead after stagnating for years, in spite of the PR the company propagated.

Facebook and X-Twitter are another league altogether.

They are huge in contrast to the tiny SU and the remnants of Digg which were sold and(or rebuilt from scratch by the new investors.

The Social Media and Search Predictions Were Both Right and Wrong

I have removed the list of 7 social browsing services this post contained originally. I admit I was wrong.

I’m glad the the more advanced model of personalized social networking and image sharing with followers and friends has taken over.

The one size fits all social news model has never really worked in the first place.

Also SEO today is much better than the SEO of the old days before Twitter and Facebook went prime time.

Your followers won’t reshare crap and even if they will people won’t follow them in future as much.