Last Tuesday (May 19th), Digg held their latest Townhall. After talking about upcoming Digg events, they began answering questions from users, and a screenshot of the first question they answered is below:

Digg Townhall Question

When presented with this question, Jay Adelson and Kevin Rose stated that they were planning on shutting down this feature in a few days. They said that while they realized this was a controversial decision, they had decided to replace it with new sharing options. The two sharing options they mentioned were Facebook and Twitter, and they said that these changes would make the sharing process simpler and more streamlined.

Digg stuck to this promise, and on Tuesday of this week (May 26th), they made the official announcement on their blog that they were removing the shout feature. In addition to discussing the ability to quickly share via Facebook or Twitter, the Digg post also stated that while they have removed the “Blog This” feature, they still have a shortcut for sharing via email (as you can see from the screenshot below):

Digg Sharing Options

While this may not seem like a major announcement or change, it is actually quite interesting in regards to Digg. The reason it’s interesting is because it is in contrast to some of their recent decisions. Back in March, I wrote a post for Search Engine Journal called “Why is Taking the “Social” out of Social Media?” Although I provided several example of “anti-social behavior” by Digg, the most notable is that they had temporarily removed all of the external links from profile pages to social networking sites like Facebook, Flickr and Twitter. While they put the social links back several hours after the post was published, this move showed that at the time, they were trying to create a wall garden for themselves. However, after apparently rethinking their decisions, it seems that they have scrapped this approach and started to embrace the entire social web.

So, what does this mean for Digg? Well, in terms of Digg as a company, while they do risk giving away traffic to other sites in the social realm, I also believe that they can benefit by bringing in new users from these same sites who see content that is being promoted from Digg.

In terms of content, Greg from 10e20 said that:

“After the shout-pocalypse I believe that Digg will be a better place from a content perspective. Average stories won’t be artificially inflated; articles will be back to being judged based on their content … not on who has motives behind it.”

I personally disagree with this statement, because if people are trying to “artificially” gain exposure, they will be able to use their Facebook and Twitter profiles to do the same task that they previously did with shouts.

However, I do agree with his thoughts that shifting a focus to external social websites is going to cause “loads of user endorsements that will soon flood your Twitter stream, Facebook wall or your inbox.”

Now that you are up to date and have heard the opinions of myself and Greg from 10e20, I want to hear what you have to think about this topic, so be sure to cast your vote in the poll below!