Home > Widgets > Digg Widget Do We Really Need It

Digg Widget Do We Really Need It

Digg released a Digg Widget a few days ago. It seems odd to us that no official widget existed before; at the same time it seems odd to us that Digg needed an official widget. This new widget is basically a customiz-ed/able RSS reader (of sorts, see note below). As far as we can remember, Digg has provided RSS feeds for various categories, topics, users, actions, etc. These feeds are pulled into the widget and displayed for the user. Items link back to digg.com as to be expected. Design of the widget is simple and to the point.

Customizing the widget and getting your own is just a few quick steps away. You can choose a few default themes or customize the color scheme yourself. Next, you have the decision of what you want to show in the widget. Such as, all stories, by topic, top 10, by user, among a few others. Lastly, you get to choose what and how items are displayed. Number of items, Digg counts, titles and descriptions are some of the elements you have control over. The preview widget is displayed and updated as you make your selections, which is a nice touch.

The code is presented at the bottom; also as you make your selections. Overall, it is a nice implementation and clean design. As this widget evolves, we believe it will be even better.

However, we do have some reservations about the widget. It’s currently a JavaScript widget, which means it won’t play nicely with most social/controlled networks. Again, this widget seems to be just a RSS reader so why not provide a Flash version? Granted, with security restrictions, the Flash widget may not have much value if you can’t link back to Digg. But, you still get the name and brand out there.

For a completely integrated blog experience, you could just plug the RSS feed into a WordPress RSS widget/plugin. What is the real draw for this widget to a blog owner? If the RSS feeds are already available, then why mess with the additional Digg Widget code?

Or, if you like a completely customized widget (and you have the skill), just find the RSS feed you want and build your own. Or, if you like a RSS widget that already exists, just plug in the RSS feed into your favorite RSS widget.

To be fair, the official Digg Widget is simple to use for the general public. And, we did notice the option to restrict the items to a specific domain. We don’t believe there is a standard RSS feed for that option, so it does seem this widget has additional value that you can’t get on your own. However, this option is likely useless for a small site that doesn’t get much traffic or “diggs.” Only larger sites with digg activity will benefit from this feature.

Note: The Digg Widget is not a RSS feed reader by definition. It does not utilize the existing RSS feeds on the site but rather a new web service API which returns JSON responses. We describe the widget as a RSS reader because conceptually and visually that is what it is.

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  1. Avatar
    July 26th, 2007 at 14:03 | #1

    as i said in my post, it has a reason for they not having a flash widget yet, and even making it more of a sidebar only widget, they really needed the spread, and there is not really better way that making it for websites and blogs in specific, considering what digg covers the most.

  2. July 26th, 2007 at 14:22 | #2

    Hi Avatar,

    We did consider your post and while it is valid we have a slightly different take on it. In order for a site like Digg to really thrive it needs to have a much wider user base. The diversity of the users in our opinion will bring more to Digg. The limited user base and power users have already shown that it can dictate the Digg system. This won’t change until there is more diversity.

    Additionally, there are much more consumers of information than blog publishers. While not scientific, we know many more people who read blogs and read Digg than people who write blogs or “digg” posts. Why alienate the consumers and limit traffic? This goes to the diversity point too. Also, there are many users who use Digg that belong to social networks but do not blog. What about various other start pages, portal sites, etc.

    Ultimately, we feel that the widget is nicely built but it seems to lack a real point. If 95% of the widget functionality is available via RSS feeds then what real value does the widget add? If users can consume the information via RSS, blog widgets/plugins or RSS widgets, then what does this widget bring to the table?

    There are a few good things and we especially give them credit for the added domain filter and ease of use. We just hope that there’s more to it than this…

    Update (2007.7.26):

    We decided to illustrate the power of existing RSS widgets/readers and the existing Digg RSS/OPML feeds. The top featured widget on this blog right now is the Grazr Widget (JavaScript). What we like about this widget is that it is very powerful and full of features.

    In about 10 minutes we were able to go to Digg.com grab an existing OPML file from their site, make a few minor text edits, grab a GrazrScript file from Grazr.com, make a few minor edits and the result is… A very functional RSS reader with the ability to search Digg.com. Granted it’s not perfect, it does not have the Digg count nor the domain filter. So in the end, Grazr has its limitations and drawback too.

    We just wanted expected more from Digg.

  3. Avatar
    July 27th, 2007 at 14:04 | #3

    well, you are understimating 3 key factors about the widget:

    Branding, PR and Relevance

    it is all about that. it is valid simply because it´s main point is to settle their relevance for good, and as Technorati has already proved the most inmediate relevance is in Blogs.

    it is just PR,Branding and Relevance.

    It think that alone makes it worthy for diggs, in the users case, t is the same thing, you are using the digg widget most likely if you want to put context info to your blog or because you have posts that have been dugg in digg, hence the user seeks for relevance, pr and branding too.. :P

  4. July 27th, 2007 at 14:16 | #4

    PR, Branding and Relevance are all very good points. However, we felt they could have done more with the widget…

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