Digg has the traffic. StumbleUpon has the users. Reddit has the game when it comes to influencing political opinions.
All of the top social media websites have their advantages and disadvantages. For political prowess, Reddit has the one major advantage and several minor advantages that make it more of a focal point for politicians than the mass exposure that Digg and StumbleUpon enjoy. The major advantage is the discussion and debate through comments.
The comments section of Digg on any particular political story benefits the short winded. For some reason, long statements are buried, while short quips are rewarded with updiggs. On Reddit, it is often the exact opposite. A quick read through the comments posted on a Reddit submission that goes Hot reveals that the long, detailed comments get read. How can you tell? Read the replies.
StumbleUpon has no comments, really. They have short bursts of reviews, but because it is more likely that stories that are stumbled are not actually read beyond the headline if they don’t directly appeal to the stumbler, there is no need for comments.
Digg’s comments are so poorly designed, many people don’t know how to set it to where they can actually read a chronological list of comments. You have to click here, click there, open a tree, close a tree… it has frustrated commenters to the point that most are short and pointless. The long ones with links to evidence gets buried, unseen by the masses who don’t actively try.
Reddit seems to have a more intellectual crowd. Are there idiots and comment trolls on Reddit? Tons. Still, there is enough intelligent conversation going on through the pages to allow for stronger political commentary.
The other advantages that Reddit has are:
- Longer headlines that actually tell more about the story – There are obvious advantages to not being limited to 60 characters in the headline. While there is no description portion of the story, a submitter can (and often does) use the 1st comment as a place to describe the story.
- Users are generally more active – On Digg, there are many hyperactive users, but the vast majority are part-timers. Because of Reddit’s ease of navigation and simple voting structure, those who are true Redditers are able to accomplish more in a shorter period of time.
- Users are generally more vocal – There will never be a shortage of quality comments on a story that hits the hot page on Reddit. The reason for this is…
- Strong stories stay on the front page longer – Digg pushes stories down over time. Regardless of how good it is, if it isn’t one of the “Top in all Topics” stories, it will only spend a short period of time on the front page. On Reddit, if a story has juice, it stays for much longer. It is also easier to find a day or two later if a redditer misses out on it.
This article is not a bash on Digg or StumbleUpon. Both have tremendous advantages and in a lot of ways are better than Reddit. As the election approaches, more opinions will be changed and more votes garnered on the pages of Reddit than on either of the two “top dogs” in the social media realm.
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