Some of the more popular sites to go to when voting on technology news are digg and Techmeme. Digg actually allows you to vote on more than just tech news and both are great places to go when you are looking for news put together by a large community of users.
Having said that, these sites may be vulnerable to competition as there are rumors that the social networking sites want a piece of the user-driven news aggregation market as well.
To set the record straight, there are lots of companies out there looking to compete with a site like digg but few have made much of a dent so far.
Perhaps the biggest threat would be Facebook, as the social networking behemoth has just so many active users. In case you are wondering just how popular Facebook is, you should know the company’s site has about 24 million unique US visitors each month and is ranked in the top 22 out of all websites – according to Quantcast. This compares with 12 million unique US visitors for digg.
If you think about it, a tougher competitor to digg and techmeme could be Google News if they choose to allow users to vote on content.
So will Facebook decimate these other user-generated news sites? Probably not as it will not be a pure-play news aggregator. It is possible that Facebook’s entry into the space will make user-generated news sites even more popular and the result could be digg and others will receive even more traffic.
Time will tell of course and one wonders if this news will alter the digg valuation as the company is rumored to be going through a sale process at the moment.
Getting back to social networks… These services seem to be on a tear lately adding new services. For example the recent announcement regarding MySpace/Skype integration drives this point home even more.
The Skype news is a single example of application integration. There are a slew of developers building applications on top of the Facebook platform. My personal experience shows just how true this is as almost daily I get an invite from my friends on Facebook to download one application or another.
On one level I find the rise of social networks very funny. Why? Well when the web first became popular, AOL was the internet for so many users. Generally speaking our parents were the last to stop using AOL as a central internet portal.
Remember convincing your mother and/or father that AOL was a crutch and you didn’t need it to surf the web or have an e-mail account?
The funny thing is that social networking sites are like the AOL for our children. They are an encapsulating experience which one might call AOL on steroids. It just goes to show you how cyclical ideas are in the computer space. We refer to a site like Facebook as a Web 2.0 site but it really isn’t anything more than an AOL experience with some fancy new features.