All day Monday, I tried to figure out why the New York Times adding links to Digg, Newsvine and Facebook was a newsworthy story covered by lots of folks as an indication that the Times somehow "gets" new media. These are the same types of links that plenty of publications have been including for quite some time, including many of the NYT's competitors -- and for no one else was it considered newsworthy. As some others have noted, if the NY Times is so intent on "joining the conversation" why doesn't it allow comments? In fact, others have noticed that plenty of mainstream news sites including the Washington Post, CBS and Newsweek all allow comments on their stories. If so, why isn't that a "big news story" like the NYT including a link to Digg? For all the talk of how big a step this is, all it really shows is (a) how far behind the NYT is from plenty of other publications and (b) how it seems to think it's a newsworthy fact that it's barely (but not really) caught up to its competitors. There are also those who say that this has a lot less to do with "getting" social media and a lot more to do with trying to drive more traffic to the NY Times websites. If that's really the plan, it's pretty likely to fail. It's not clear why they'd choose sites like Facebook and Newsvine, which aren't known for being big traffic drivers, rather than more popular sites. And, while Digg does drive a bit of traffic if your stories get to the front page, it seems unlikely that a NY Times story is any more likely to get on Digg due to these links. Our own experiments with a "Digg this" link has shown no impact. We get on the front page of Digg just as often as before we had the links. In the meantime, if the NY Times wants either more traffic or to be a part of the online conversation, we'd suggest that beyond just adding comment abilities, it recognize that both people and companies want a way to respond to articles in the NYTimes -- and that they'd probably get a lot more traffic if they actually made its best content to non-subscribers.
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