For months I have been plagued by my Internet savvy friends’ obsessions with social news sites, in particular Reddit.com and Digg.com. While the two sites differ so greatly in look, feel, style, and membership, they are generally going after the same crowd – those who want to read and share in media on the Internet. A line has been drawn through the crowd though, as users begin to take sides and bicker over which of the two popular sites is best. This fight is not small scale, in fact it has reached a full-blown battle that has spawned hatred between each site’s respective users that has splashed across the Internet.

I am not interested in finding out which site is better. I do not wish to enter the battle and pledge my allegiance. But instead I want to know what exactly they are fighting about. I want to know what is most important in deciding what makes the best social news site. Is it functionality and usefulness? Or is it content and accreditation? Or is it some extreme combination of it all?

Hate note left by reddit user on digg user's car

From there I want to know why these users partake in all the fighting. Why do they invest so much time in this virtual battle? Is it a sense of community that they have formed that causes them to leave hate notes? Or is it a deeper need to be the best that has them dedicating forums and boards to personal stances, jokes, and comics that detail the war. I am also extremely interested in finding out if switching sides is possible and or if its been done.

This extremely detailed infographic is the perfect testament to just how much time people have invested in understanding the battle for best social news site. It will serve as a great source for my research. In addition to that I plan on posting on both Reddit and Digg asking for user feedback. Also I will conduct interviews with my own obsessed and loyal site friends and see what their experiences have shown. Furthermore I will go to a meetup for each of the sites, hoping to get even more opinions.  The battle has begun now I just have to found out what started it.

4 Responses to “Social News Site Showdown”

  1. lizcullen says:

    This cyber battle seems interesting, but I am a bit confused as to the overall concept. I definitely think some history and background knowledge would be useful since I’m sure not everyone is well versed in the feud. However, the infographic site and comics were really useful….I think you should try to use some of those images/graphs in your post! What are your feelings on memes? I don’t know if that is relevant but a discussion on this Internet phenomena could be useful, if not interesting. Are the users involved in the argument doing it for fun, trolling purposes, or do they really believe in this cause- and if that is the case, what then does this say about our developing society? What is at stake for these devotees?

  2. Queenie says:

    Good topic choice! I use Digg.com, I watch Diggnation, and I LOVE founders Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht…. however, I had never heard of Reddit.com.

    Now, you say that you’re not interested in finding out which site is better, but that’s something you will inevitably have to conclude if it’s true that you want to know what is most important in deciding what makes the best social news site. Something else you can do is study both audiences and news sites, and find out which site is best suited for a person with x,y,z, characteristics and interests.

  3. mdeseriis says:

    I agree with the comments above Kate, an assessment of the functionalities embedded by both sites is important and unavoidable! Not necessarily to decide which one is better, but at least to understand why users are attracted to one rather than the other. Also you should never take for granted that your readers know in advance what you are talking about (Queenie for instance had never heard of Reddit). To begin with, the very concept of “social news site” should not be taken for granted. For instance, last week we have seen how professional journalists rely on a set of criteria (the so-called “news values”) to determine what facts deserve to be transformed in news. Because social news sites are edited by amateurs (in a way every user is an editor here, although some are much more influential than others) they seem to do away with these criteria almost entirely. But is this desirable? Are these criteria replaced by other, perhaps unspoken, criteria? And is there a way for you to map them? And what is the role that personal entertainment and enjoyment play in these wars?

  4. ahmedbekh says:

    I think it’s really interesting topic. I would like to know more about the differences between the two sites and what draw users to them. But agreeing with Marco I would also like to know more about the sites themselves. A bit of the history and briefe background of social news sites.

    One thing that i think you will not be able to avoid is what are these two site fighting about. The users will have their own opinion on it and you might have to touch on it.

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