Last night Digg launched several new changes to their site with the biggest change being new user profiles. Thus far the opinions regarding the changes have been mixed.  According to CEO of Digg Jay Adelson, "The challenge is on us to provide what our community needs" because now the non-techies are more abundant on the site than the techies who helped make Digg as popular as it is today.  Adelson says that what the community needs are social networking tools, thus the reason they spent the time developing them and implementing them last night.

Digg appears to be slowly making the change from a social news site to more of a social network resembling MySpace or Facebook – particularly Facebook though. With the new profile pages, users are able to customize their profile by adding links to their favorite sites, upload photos, and now the display picture is much larger. The image below gives you an idea of what a profile looks like:

digg changes

According to Kevin Rose, one of the founders of Digg, there are over 50 new features and additions.  Aside from the new profile page, there’s also a new feature called shouts.  This allows you to send quick notes or a story to friends.  There’s also a favorites feature where you can bookmark and draw attention to your favorite stories and videos.  Once you mark something a favorite, the favorite icon appears under the story.

As I mentioned, Digg is starting to resemble Facebook quite a bit. The new "Friends activity" feature is much like the Facebook Feed where you’re able to see what you’re friends are up to.  On Digg, you’ll see a running list of actions your friends have made.  There are also filters so that you can see just what you want to see in your Friend’s activity – whether it’s who they’ve become friends with, articles they’ve made a favorite, or if they changed their icon.

Certainly the new Digg features are optional and no one is forced to use them, but I wonder why Digg would have spent the time developing this new social aspect when it could have been put towards something else. It seems that everybody wants their site to include some form of social network, and I just don’t think it’s going to work. Sure, people need a way to communicate with each other on an social site, but how many profiles are people willing to maintain?

While I’ve seen more complaints about the changes than praise, there was one thing mentioned in the announcement that was received positively all around.  Next month, Digg will be launching a long-awaited and highly anticipated Images section and a revamped comments section – two things users have been requesting for quite some time.

If you’re a Digger, what do you think of all the changes? Now I’m just waiting for Pownce and Digg (both started by Kevin Rose) to be integrated together. It’s bound to happen at some point…

Source: Business Week