Forget digg: Join Mixx Where You Can Still Become A Power User

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Dharmesh Shah
Dharmesh Shah



The following is an article from a guest author, Tadeusz Szewczyk (you can call him "Tad"). Tad's an SEO consultant, web developer and author based in Germany. He also happens to be a social media power user.

Social news sites like Digg , Reddit and Propeller (formerly Netscape) have been around for a while. A new shiny contender called Mixx appeared a few months ago and skyrocketed to the heights of the attention economy like no other. TechCrunch covers every step of Mixx , the New York Times included recently "Add to Mixx" buttons to follow suit after the LA Times which even funded Mixx . Moreover the social media mavens and early adopters are in a frenzy to either hail Mixx as the new, new thing in social news sites or dismiss it altogether. So there is a tremendous buzz around Mixx.

Mixx Surpasses Direct Competition

Watching the Alexa traffic stats of all these sites you will notice that Digg and Reddit lose ground while Propeller is remaining reasonably flat. What is more awe-inspiring though is to watch at Compete how Mixx has managed to surpass the other similar dark horse social news sites: Plime and Shoutwire :

While most people tend to compare Mixx to Digg, it actually competes more directly with Shoutwire. Both have very similar content mix on the front page focusing on different media types. Shoutwire has lost substantially against Mixx.

So Mixx is already the leader of the underdogs while it has still substantially less traffic than Reddit, according to Compete 1/7 or Propeller 1/4 based on Compete data.

What is Social News Good for: It's Not All About Traffic

I do not want to obsess with traffic too much though. Most people by now should know that social media is not solely about traffic numbers. Here's what's actually important:

  • online presence
  • joining the conversation
  • reputation building
  • social networking
  • peer review

Either they talk about you, and in many cases this won't be favorable for you, or you step in and become part of the conversation.

Early Bird Bonus

While it is probably too late now to be much more than a blip at one of the established sites like digg, Mixx offers a unique opportunity : You can still become a power user at Mixx, it's not too late. Moreover Mixx will reward your efforts. I joined Mixx a few months ago and some weeks ago I was made a " Super Mixxer " by the Mixx team, a position that grants me access to some special features at Mixx (see below how to become a Super Mixxer). Super Mixxers have more power than the average user.

Your Personal Social News

Let me start at the beginning though. Mixx is a social news site like no other. It is both a personal and social news site at once. Why? At Mixx you are always on the front page, even without becoming popular. Mixx lets you create a personal "Your Mixx " page . You will see the content of your choice on top. This system is based on categories, tags, groups and even particular users. So, for example, you can choose my submissions as your content of choice shown at the top of your personal Mixx.

My Mixx starts with the popular images followed by my latest Mixx group.

Always on the Front Page

That said you will receive referrers from, the "front page itself" right after submission if you choose the right categories, tags and groups. Of course categories like tech or fun or tags like Mixx or Linux are always popular, but you should try to really hit the nail on the head with correct and specific tags. Some people skip the tags or add only one category. At Mixx you can and should add multiple categories. For instance I will add election related news to at least three categories. politics, national and election 2008. When the candidates speak about the economy I will add the post to "business", when they speak about health care I will add it additionally to "health" etc. users who are interested in health and have added it their their Mixx will see on their "front page".

Marketing and SEO on Mixx: No Censorship

Marketers are outcasts at most social news sites. Digg and Reddit users and/or admins will bury or vote down your submissions anonymously if you mention anywhere on your site that you are a SEO. Marketers get bashed for no reason or rather in a bizarre kind of guilt by association or "kin liability". Because of those who spammed and gamed Digg, all other people who just write about how to improve your SEO skills get punished.

Even bloggers get harassed just for submitting their own postings. There is no such thing as " blog spam " on Mixx . You are allowed to submit your own blog postings. There are negative votes but they are clearly visible, at least for a while (only the last 10 votes are visible). So if someone votes you down he has to prepare for the backlash. Only newbies vote down without understanding the implications. Power users rarely vote you down unless you are really spamming. So please do not submit your company homepage as "Search Engine Optimization Iowa" but contribute or I'll report your submission myself.

Groups: Social News Communities Within the Social News Community

What's unique about Mixx is the groups feature. In short it makes Mixx a hub of dozens or hundreds of social news sites. It allows you to create your own Digg-like community within the larger Mixx context. I love this feature. I created a social news site of my own, a SEO 2.0 group with already 75 members although the group is invitation only and I only allow people to join who are will really benefit the community (both overall Mixx and my own SEO 2.0 group).
A SEO group within a social news site? Yes, this is a novelty, but there are a few of them. There is one called Marketing", one called "blog pr", learning SEO basics etc.

Power Users vs Super Mixxers

While you get judged based on your sheer activity on most social news sites, similarly to games where there is a toplist of the best players Mixx changed that. You still have the most active power users who seemingly submit, rate and comment news all day as a full time job. On the other hand Mixx does not really encourage that. They do not encourage excessive numbers, they encourage singular and varied achievements. For instance there are several badges you can get when contribute something of exceptional value to the community. You still get these for the popular posts. On the other hand you get rewarded too for low key participation with less glamour and less mass appeal.

For instance I quickly realized that Mixx is about channels and choices and not solely about being on the frontpage like with Digg. I have been an avid user but I rarely strove to make submissions popular. I read and voted for the stuff in my categories, I tagged, commented, joined groups and submitted posts to groups, I established groups and kept them alive, I submitted everything from art, politics, Internet related stuff and also different kind of media, articles, images and videos.

The Mixx team rewarded me with promoting me to "Super Mixxer". It may sound funny or useless, but it isn't. It allows me to perform certain actions other, normal mixxers, are not allowed to:

A Super Mixxer is a user on Mixx, who, through a combination of Karma points, high quality, diverse submissions and comments, and being a model Mixxer for at least 30 days, has access to special feature enhancements.

Notice the stylish M at the right upper corner? I'm a Super Mixxer.

Mixx Feautures the Other Sites Are Envious Of

As a Supermixxer I am able to connect two stories. This is very powerful. The feature is meant to deal with the duplicate story from multiple sources problem. On Mixx all sources get a chance to be noticed because Supermixxers can connect them to each other. They will be shown as "related". more than that I can create a thread about a topic by connecting a particular story to relevant events which were covered on Mixx days, weeks or months ago. It allows me to add different perspectives to onesided or subjective story. A feature which will be gold once the election process gets heated up in the US.

Another feature just shortly introduced which is governed by Super Mixxers is the " breaking news " shortcut. On Digg you sometimes read a breaking news story hours or days too late, after it's not news anymore. On Mixx two Super Mixxers can decide together what is breaking news in order to circumvent the tedious process of waiting a while for enough voters to notice it and vote it up.

What makes Mixx superior to other news sites are also several other aspects: Localization. You can add where the news happened geographically. Thus users are able to read their local news too.

Negative voting is visible. This is one of the simplest but most important differences to other socialh news sites.

Social Networking at Mixx: Unique Selling Propositiuon

Mixx also has superior social networking features. There are at least three ways to contact and communicate with other users. You can "email them" via the internal messaging system called "Mixx Mail". If you email several users at once an instant discussion is formed in a way mailing lists work. Each user added gets also a "real email" notification with the message in it to their mail address. You can unsubscribe from such a conversation in order not be annoyed by too many mails.

When submitting a story you can notify all of your Mixx friends about it via the "
Email This" function. You can even "select all" to contact them all at once. Of course you have to be very cautious about using this as notifying all your friends each time will either make them cease the friendship or overlook your notifications. Some power users have sent me several notifications daily so I finally stopped to look at them as the were just too many. On the other hand I will check a notification of user who never or rarely sends me. I only once notified all of my by now 178 friends at once, with this bleak message.

Make your friends aware of your submission.

Also you can submit a particular story to one or several groups. For instance I won't annoy everybody with every single SEO story. I can submit these to the SEO 2.0 or learning SEO Basics groups where people eagerly await the news. Normal users won't see them and get annoyed by "SEO spammers" ;-)

How Mixx Power users Make Submissions Popular

Still many people want to get to the front page or become popular on Mixx like on the old school social news sites. It's possible and it isn't as difficult as elsewhere as the threshold for stories is around 30 votes up currently while images or videos need even less votes, images only 10! Although I have 178 followers already it's not like all my stories get popular. The contrary is the case. Most get around 10 votes 50% by people I know, 50% by others. When I submit images sometimes it's enough to become popular. As I don't care most of the time it's OK with me. I use Mixx in a different manner, as I wrote in the beginning. Power users who see social news as a game nonetheless strive to get popular each and every time. The secret of getting popular is fairy simple: Make enough people aware of your submission.

This works bets as mentioned above with the "Email This" feature. If you use it wisely you will succeed, even promoting your own stuff. On the hand: Do not trick yourself. If you send out a mediocre story to all your friends it gets promoted to the popular section but almost no traffic will ensue. A few days ago I "Emailed This" to several friends of mine after my submission has already 23 votes and only 4 hours left to get popular, yes you still have a time frame of 24h at Mixx to make a story popular, I emailed a story from my site which was submitted by someone else to a 12 of my SEO peers. It become popular but it gained less traffic than the stories that get thee naturally.

The Mixx Structure and Visitor Numbers

Still, as noted earlier, The frontpage of Mixx should not be your goal most of the time. As Mixx has so many places to go and personal configurations many people, me too often, do not even read the poplar stories. A popular story thus will only get 100 - 300 visitors on average.

While this might be a problem for many people, it will change with time. As Mixx is the best social news site currently (I tried all of them, even the Spanish, French,
German, Polish, Indonesian and Iranian ones!) more people will flock to Mixx. Also as it does not make sense to "game" Mixx there is no Apple, "the best stolen pictures at a fun site" or Ron Paul spam. You get only stuff by dedicated social media users.

The Best Asset of Mixx

What's the best thing about Mixx? It's superb audience. You do not have the mob of Digg or Reddit. Nobody will attack you with racists remarks and tell you how bad your submission is even it's amazing. On Mixx you get the early adopters, bloggers, social media mavens. These people will also submit your stuff elsewhere like on StumbleUpon, Sphinn or Propeller. Mixx is a testing ground for submissions. What works here in many cases will work elsewhere too as on Mixx it does not make sense to cheat. It's the original social news idea: Great content gets promoted by a smart mob and not tramped down by a lynch mob formed from an anonymous mass.

If you're interested in social media, particularly for small businesses and B2B marketing, you're encouraged to attend this upcoming free social media webinar

If you enjoyed the article, you can find more of Tad's writings at SEO 2.0 .


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