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Editor's Blog

Effectively sharing articles with Digg friends via Twitter

By Kenneth Barbalace
[Sunday, June 07, 2009]

For many Digg.com users, the removal of Digg's shout feature also meant they lost the ability to share articles and communicate privately with their Digg friends. While not an ideal solution, one work around to the loss of the Digg shout feature is to use Twitter.

Create a Twitter profile

To effectively use Twitter, however, you first need to create a Twitter account that uses the same user name as your Digg account and uses the same icon on both Digg and Twitter. This will help friends/followers keep track of who is who on both sites. You should also reference your Digg account on their Twitter profile and link to your Twitter account on their Digg profile. This will help friends/followers know that both accounts really are really the same person. Linking to your Twitter account from Digg will also help new Digg friends quickly find your Twitter profile. If you already have a Twitter account that has a different username from your Digg account, at least use the same icon for both accounts and cross reference them.

Tweeting effectively in 140 characters

One challenge with Twitter is that it only allows for 140 characters per "tweet"; as such, long web addresses can pose a challenge. The most common work around to this problem is to use a website that will create very short web address aliases. The site I tend to use is http://bit.ly/ because its aliased web addresses tend to be less than 20 characters in length. When tweeting an article try to use a short concise description followed by a shortened link to the original article then the comment "on #Digg" and a shortened link to the Digg thread so that Digg friends can easily Digg and comment on the article. For Example:

Effectively sharing articles with Digg friends via Twitter http://bit.ly/21aA6 on #Digg http://bit.ly/Sp06i

Don't use the Digg bar!

I know that Digg has their own link shortening feature that frames articles in a "Digg bar" but don't use it. Framing sites the way the Digg bar does is considered bad netiquette (bad Internet etiquette). The idea of framing other people's sites with one's own stuff was first introduced in the 1990s, and was fought against back then as bad netiquette when it was first introduced. Much of the revolt against framing stemmed from the fact that search engines, etc. that were framing other sites were also trying to slip ads into their frames and the frames were confusing users into thinking there was an association between the two sites. Others problem with frames is that they can trap the user in the frame and users can not see the actual web address of the website being visited. This means that when they go to share the article they are reading, they actually end up linking to the site doing the framing and not the site that contains the actual article. Also keep in mind that Digg does provide an option for users to turn off the Digg bar via one's profile settings so if you send tweets with Digg bar links your friends with the Digg bar disabled will be unable to Digg your articles. To combat framing, many sites actually implemented measures to break out of such frames (like our main site does).

Yes having to create two links in Tweets is inconvenient compared to the Digg bar, but if you want your followers to actually Digg your articles, you need to make your tweets as user friendly to ALL of your followers as possible. This is also nicer for your Twitter followers who might not be Digg users.

Digg should be absolutely ashamed of itself for framing sites with their Digg bar, it is very poor netiquette. I'd strongly encourage folks to turn off the Digg bar via their Digg profile.

Why the # marks?

Oftentimes tweets will contain words with # marks in front of them (e.g. #eco, #Digg, etc.). These are for yet another social networking site called Twibes, which allows folks to subscribe to specific interest groups that aggregate tweets based on subject matter. For instance, #eco is for the Twibe group "Green" (http://www.twibes.com/group/GREEN).


Digg shouts are dead to this dismay of many, but it is possible to still effectively share articles with your Digg friends if you can get them to also join Twitter and you are effective with the way you tweet. Just remember to use clear concise descriptions; provide links to both the original article as well as the Digg thread; and don't rely on the Digg bar.


NOTICE: Comments are user generated feedback and do not represent the views and/or opinions of EnvironmentalChemistry.com.

Tim Scullin said...

Digg have updated their bar. Now if you are not logged in to digg any digg shortened URL will just take you directly to the site. No digg bar.

So none diggers wont be affected.

And personally i like the dig bar, being able to digg without linking back to digg.com is so much more convenient.

Thanks for the tips about #'s. Was interesting

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