Digg.com adds first in series of social networking features

User profiles are first of several new projects to support expanded interests of user base

New user profile features are set to be added to Digg.com Wednesday, marking the first in a series of new social networking capabilities that will be added to the site. Officials said the new capabilities will let Digg.com users better interact and share content.

The user profile will allow users to personalize their Digg identity and to interact with people they designate as "friends" on the site, said Jay Adelson, Digg's CEO. The update also lets content be filtered by friends of a user, he said.

The new features -- scheduled to go live sometime today -- are aimed at providing new ways for users to sort through the 7,000 to 8,000 stories submitted to the site every day, he added.

"We're giving users the ability to say a little bit more about themselves and to establish for the first time ever private messaging between themselves and other users on the site," he said. "I might have a short list of 20 people I want to have a conversation with on a certain topic."

Users can also use the feature to select stories by topic, and to access stories their friends have submitted on commented on, Adelson said.

Before the end of the year, Digg plans to launch a an alerting feature to allow users to get email alerts like weekly or daily digests about stories on a particular topic or stories suggested by friends, he added.

Next month, the site will add a dedicated images section that will let users submit images to Digg. And later this year, the site will add an engine that will be used recommend stories to individual users based on what that person's particular interests, Digg said.

The new features are aimed at helping the site -- created in 2004 to focus on IT news -- to support users whose interests go beyond IT, Adelson said. Today, only 12 percent of the 200 million monthly page views are for technology stories, he pointed out.

"We have so much more information coming in from all of these different communities that we need to respond to that by giving these communities a place to thrive and allowing them to discuss things with each other or the public in general," he said.

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Heather Havenstein

Computerworld

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