Broken Social Media: Anti-Social Sites vs Alternatives
Some of the so called social media sites are broken and a waste of time. In fact they are not social at all, they are anti-social. So you not only waste your time using them you also get viciously attacked, your submissions deleted or you get banned for no reason.
Many bloggers and webmasters still cling to the past where some social sites have been hailed as a democratic web. Those hopes have often been disappointed. Anonymous down voting, raging mobs and top down solely profit oriented teams behind the sites have wreaked havoc to our hopes.
Still there are plenty of social sites that work and do not fall into these pitfalls. So whether you want to get popular there or simply contribute just for fun there are much better alternatives.
- Less and less traffic
- random power user bans
- crap on the front page
and the infamous user base that will attack you for no apparent reason have made this site an Eldorado for the ugly and desperate. Those ugly who hate everything that is not Apple, geeky or sexy and those who are desperate to get the server crunching Digg traffic (for the ensuing high number of links).
While there are still many genuine users over there and many of them even submit good content, they can't compete with the obnoxious crowd raging for boobs, Apple products and infotainment.
Even environmental sites get buried and flamed as Spam. My blog got submitted more than 30 times on Digg and did not get popular once. Even if it did (once it appeared it would gaining 120 diggs in 4h etc. before it got buried) the traffic would crash my server and bring dozens of flame comments. The bounce rate is above 90% anyways as the traffic is "one size fits all" thus very untargeted.
- Do you want targeted traffic? Focus on Twitter instead. Here you don't have to compete with sexist trolls. Just the people who want to follow you in the first place.
- In case you like Digg for the links, use Delicious instead. While Digg is only abut fitting in the mob (you can still succeed over there just adapting to the lowest common denominator, especially "tits and ass") Delicious is about real value. Many of my posts are really popular there. Those who bookmark you will often feature your link automatically in their blogs.
- Users who are just into social news should find their respective niche social news community. Every topic nowadays has at least one such community.
Reddit vs Tumblr
One day I got somewhat popular on Reddit. I got 47 "up" votes and 46 "down" votes. So in the end I got "1 point". Guess how many referrers I got from Reddit? 4! Four people visited me. It means that at least 42 people voted me down blindly! OK, I've been popular on Reddit a few times and you get some visitors from time to time, even if you have just a small blog like mine. Those visitors do not even look at your site though.
They disappear right away when they see no boobs or something. Reddit has one of the highest bounce rate of all referers - 94%! Those who really bother to read will just spit on you. Reddit has one of the most obnoxious crowds, it's even more vicious than Digg. They're infamous for sexism as well, so women keep off.
Tumblr is basically a micro or miniblogging community. It's a hybrid of WordPress and Twitter in a way.
People follow you and you follow others. Then you "like" their postings or even reblog them. You only read the stuff by the people you like anyways to unlike Reddit you can plainly ignore the obnoxious individuals. Tumblr is hugely successful right now. They are larger than Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon traffic wise.
SEO is not a poplar topic on Tumblr but you'll find some people from the industry blogging there already. Tumblr is similar to Reddit when it comes to the topics and media types covered. I go there for the art, photography or cycling stuff.
Sphinn vs SERPD
Over the years Sphinn was the one and only social news community that allowed voting for posts. The SEO industry has many forums but Sphinn was the only social news site that worked. Apparently it hasn't worked as well as it looked on the outside. Recently they switched off voting altogether and have gone back to the editorial model of selecting stories.
That's sad but there is a new alternative by some prolific social networkers from the industry: SERPD. It's still very alpha and a nascent community but I already like it after a few days. While Sphinn was very tight-knit and you risked getting reprimanded for posting the wrong stuff SERPD also allows submissions from outside the industry itself. Thus business blogging, MMO or social media publications have better chances to get some eyeballs here.
Niche social sites are another option for early adopters and people who are into targeted news.
Disclaimer: Don't get me wrong if you are a genuine contributing user of one of these above sites I criticize. You can't ignore the ongoings there though. Also you will notice that you can't change these sites as they are not really democratic in most cases, they're run by companies and you're their unpaid workforce.
So before they sack you like Digg did with its most acclaimed users, just use the alternatives.
You can find and follow me on Twitter, Delicious, SERPD. Do not befriend me just due to the fact that you do SEO or read my blog. I will only "friend you back" if you're genuine, contribute great stuff and act like a real friend.
Last updated: September 26th, 2010.