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Jeff Israely: Five years in, our news startup is seeing the pace of change slow
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March 17, 2016, 11:50 a.m.
Aggregation & Discovery
LINK: medium.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Shan Wang   |   March 17, 2016

Chat bots (and chatty bots) are the new [insert 2015 journalism trend of your choice]. In particular, as the team messaging tool Slack takes over newsrooms, Slack integrations eager to help with this or that productivity thing have proliferated.

There are Slack bots to tell you what to post to social media. Slack bots to talk to you about the 2016 election. Slack bots to help manage virtual meetings. Slack bots to inform you of the weather. Slack bots to deliver news alerts.

Enter a new bot released Thursday by the Digg team. DiggBot 1.0 for Slack relies on Digg’s daily algorithm-assisted aggregating and ranking of 10 million publisher RSS feeds and 200 million tweets (the result is 7.5 million articles and videos processed). Human editors also lend a hand in curating and refining Digg’s algorithms. Typing /digg + some specific command in Slack will surface some of these relevant articles for you. Here’s what /digg niemanlab.org got us this morning (a somewhat odd mix of a Twitter-shortened link, a not particularly enlightening comment on a story, and a What We’re Reading link):

diggbot-niemanlab

The bot will also send Digg-curated “package of articles and videos to catch you up” twice a day, for those not inclined to play around in Slack (you can turn that off by typing /digg edition off). Other commands currently available in this version include ones like /digg fun, which surfaces a random “fun” story; or /digg [keyword], which surfaces articles around that keyword; and even /digg madness, a limited-run command that can keep you posted on March Madness game scores.

diggbot-commands

According to Digg CEO Gary Liu, DiggBot will first be made available in Slack and “pop into other messaging playgrounds soon.” Why experiment with messaging? Liu explains:

There were 1.4 billion monthly active users on messaging apps by the end of 2015 (over 3 billion if you don’t de-dupe), sending over 90 trillion messages last year, and that number in aggregate is growing faster than any single network in the world. Our daily attention is increasingly captive within messaging, and we have noticed more and more users sharing links they’ve found on Digg directly into these apps. But there still isn’t an easy way to discover great content directly through messaging.

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