This probably is the most inappropriately titled post on my blog. Maybe this should have been titled “Why I think I waste so much time on proggit and hacker news” or “PR for my new feature on tagz”.
For a long time I thought that people flock to social news sites to find new links pertinent to their interests (programming, compsci, math, economics … in my case). And going by this model, I thought the utility brought on by comments on these sites are only marginal compared to the the utility provided by the inflow of new and interesting links. Lately I realized that this couldn’t be further from the truth. I hadn’t realized that I tend to spend more time reading comments than on reading the linked content. Seems like I’m more interested in what people have to say about the links than the links themselves.
This reminded me of a pain point I’ve always had with social news sites. Social news sites are kinda like walled gardens. When I’m reading the comments on one of them, I’m missing out on a lot of interesting comments on other sites. And there’s no easy way (with a few clicks) to find discussions on all sites.
Since Tagz was written with the intent of solving things which nagged me the most with social news and bookmarking sites, I decided to annotate all posts on Tagz with links to the comments page on a Delicious, Digg, Hacker News, Reddit and Twitter. Now, there are a few little inconsistencies, Delicious doesn’t have anything like a comments page, so I link to the url info page. And due to the use of url shorteners, there isn’t a way to directly search Twitter for links. I link the the Backtweets search results page for the URL.
Initially, I didn’t want to add more clutter to the main page, so I kept these links only on every post’s comments and history page. But yesterday, I thought it’d be a better idea to just include those links on the main page. One of my more marketing oriented friends even recommended against having it on the main page, since that’d likely increase the bounce rate. Honestly, I don’t really care about it and I always thought convenience takes precedence over everything else, So I just added them anyways.