Facebook's Timeline, Ticker, and Open Graph, a web that shows people and everything they care about (i.e. movies, pets, friends), have played a huge role in increasing Digg's traffic by 35%. Digg page views in January were the highest that they have been since October of 2010 when the new CEO, Matt Williams, apologized to site fans for past failures including the removal of the bury button and user profiles that displayed comment and submission histories. Despite his efforts to save face, there was considerable criticism that the site was a failed experiment and that Williams had waited too long to address the public and devise a strategy to maintain traffic.
The reason for the recent success is that Facebook has allowed followers to make Digg more visible but a full-flegded comeback is uncertain. To nurture the prospect of taking Digg off of life support, software engineer, Will Larson, has been analyzing the reading behaviors of its recent fans on Facebook and noted on the Digg blog that “[...] compared to stories read on Digg (without Digg Social Reader turned on) — there are two main differences—entertainment stories were 14 percent of all stories read but less than 4 percent of those added to the Timeline. Likewise, political stories comprise less than two percent of those added to a user’s Timeline but close to 10 percent of what people read. The differences are significant enough to begin to predict a new type of reading behavior.”
While I think it is necessary that Digg is working on learning more about the reading habits of their typical viewer isn't it fairly obvious that people are more apt to put more personal milestones on their timeline and study politics in private? In short, I think Digg should concentrate on scrutinizing less obvious factors and find ways to make their site more entertaining to interact with.