Digg went from being one of the biggest Internet sensations, to being reportedly sold off for a mere $500,000. At its height, Digg was a major traffic driver for websites before Twitter and Facebook went mainstream. Sites wanted to be featured on the Digg front page because it resulted in a traffic explosion known as the ‘Digg Effect.’ Last year, MakeUseOf’s Dave Parrack took a look at the big Digg revamp, as the site has attempted to regain its former glory.
While the site doesn’t appear to be anywhere near as popular as it once was, Digg’s traffic has steadily grown, with some even saying that the ‘Digg Effect’ is back. In one instance, Digg drove more traffic to an article than Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn combined. In addition to regaining a bit of its former glory, Digg also launched a reader in June following the shutdown of Google Reader. Digg Reader is a slick, minimal reader that puts the focus where it should be — on the articles you want to read.
Adding Sites to Digg Reader
You’ve likely moved over to a new RSS reader following Google Reader’s demise, but with Digg, all you need is an OPML file to import and you’re in business. Importing and exporting your data into/from Digg can be done through the site’s settings.
Importing your OPML file is the first step to getting yourself set up on Digg Reader. If you want to add individual sites after you’ve imported all of your favourites, you can do so by clicking the Add button on the bottom right hand corner of the screen. You can search for sites, add URLs, and add new folders. To add new sites to folders, just drag and drop.
Reading Articles on Digg Reader
Now that you’ve got all your sites plugged into Digg Reader, you can start browsing the latest articles. You can read articles either by browsing all of the sites you’re subscribed to, browsing specific folders, or browsing the most popular articles. Additional tabs include articles that you saved or “dugg”.
You can view your articles either as a compact list, where only the source, title, and publish date are displayed:
Or you can view your articles expanded with any images or text in the article fully displayed. You can also filter items to view only unread articles.
When it comes to interacting with individual articles, you can digg them directly within the reader, save them for later, or share them to Facebook or Twitter. If you’ve connected your Digg account to any of the supported read-it-later services — Instapaper, Readability, or Pocket — you can also save articles to read later.
Digg also comes packed with a bunch of great keyboard shortcuts that make it easy to fly through your unread articles, mark them as read, share them on your social networks, digg them, save them, and more.
The Digg Connection
As expected, there is a direct connection between the reader and the Digg home page where you can view popular articles on the Digg website. If you save or digg individual articles on the Digg homepage, they will appear in the respective folders on your Digg Reader page.
Adding the same feature on both tabs is a smart move on Digg’s part, ensuring that users of either service could potentially crossover from the Digg homepage to its RSS reader and vice versa.
Digg Reader Apps
Digg has created several apps to take the experience with you on the go. You can use Digg on the go on your Android or iOS device, and if you don’t have either, Digg has a mobile interface that can be used on any smartphone.
You can also use the Chrome extension to subscribe to RSS feeds of websites with a click of a button, access your reader, and keep up with your unread count.
One of the most popular RSS readers that has replaced Google Reader is undoubtedly Feedly. It’s certainly popular among the MakeUseOf team — we’ve presented you with a PDF Guide to using Feedly and in-depth review of Feedly, among other things. So how does Digg Reader stand up to Feedly?
If you use the Feedly list interface, Digg Reader won’t feel very different. In fact, Digg Reader feels a little more slick than Feedly. That said, the social media integration in Feedly is far better. While on Digg you can share to Facebook and Twitter, and save to a variety of read-it-later, Feedly rolls in LinkedIn, Buffer, and Google+ support as well.
If your aim is to share content through your RSS reader to your social media accounts, Feedly is probably a more appropriate choice. If consuming content is your priority, we would recommend using Digg since not only does it present blog posts and articles in a minimal and stripped down version, it also allows you to discover additional content through the Digg homepage.
What do you think of Digg Reader? Let us know in the comments.