This post is Part II of a III part series on How to Improve Your Digg Profile. The first post in the series focused on 'How to Make Yourself More Attractive' from a Digg perspective, to improve your chances of being accepted as a trusted friend on Digg. So, now that you've absorbed all that advice, and incorporated the necessary changes, you're ready to go 'friending'.

Digging Cartoon - Friends Are Needed

This post will focus specifically on 'friending'; meaning finding and approaching the 'Right' Friends on Digg since its about quality not quantity. Much as you want the right tools for a job, you also want the right people for a job.

More specifically, this post will discuss:
1) Identifying a master list of potential friends
2) Eliminating poor friend possibilities

    a) those with dissimilar interests:
    b) those relatively inactive
    c) those unlikely to engage in 'friend voting'

3) Recompiling a "Refined List"
4) Approaching Friends (on the Refined List)

    a) set up RSS feed
    b) vote for their submissions
    c) comment
    d) "friend"
    e) remove friend, wash and repeat

So, lets get to it:

1) Identifying a Master List of Potential Friends:
I can think of 4 primary means of identifying a master list of potential friends. Ideally, you will want to end up with roughly 300 mutual friends, so the initial list should be in the neighbourhood of 500-1000. If you exceed 300, and they are all responsive ... you've hit the motherlode! Here are the 4:

a) migrate friends over from other social media ... especially if they're responsive on those other sites, and you communicate with them already via IM or GoogleTalk.

b) look at the list of the top 1000 diggers (updated in near real time too). The more Diggs the better.

c) Look at the friends of the people on the list already identified above (you can see anyone's friends on digg ... just by replacing "profile" with their profile name in this url http://www.digg.com/users/profile/friends/view). In many cases, these people have similar interests, and are 'good friends' otherwise they they would not be maintained as friends.

d) lastly, perform a search in Google for
site:http://www.digg.com/users/ "keyword phrase" -inurl:gallery -inurl:history -inurl:friends
and replace "keyword phrase" with subjects of interest to you (eg. photography, seo, social media, animals, etc.). This provides you with a tremendous list of digg users who have indicated some kind of an interest in the keyword phrase as it appears on their profile page.

With this in hand, you've now compiled a master list so to speak, so lets move to the next step of the process.

Odd Internet Buddies

2) Eliminating Poor Friend Possibilities:
The first step, is to eliminate:
a) Those with dissimilar interests:
Obviously ... finding the right types of friends is important (as the cartoon above illustrates). If you're not able to find content you like following certain friends, your experience on Digg will be frustrating and unsatisfying to say the least.

Friends with similar interests can be:

    b) a treasure trove of ideas for future blog postings and
    c) a great source of submission materials for other social media
    d) a great source for friends for other social media
    and last but certainly not least ...
    e) a great deal of fun, and highly entertaining

So its important to eliminate those who do not share your preferences and interests. They'll merely be a drain of resources and energy.

How do you identify their interests?
Simple ...

    1) goto their profile page on Digg
    2) look for the section called "Most Dugg Topics (last 30 Days)" in the lower right column (see below)
    3) assess whether or not, those interests are somewhat similar to your own
    4) delete those from the list that have too few common interests

Digg - Most Dugg Topics (Last 30 Days)

b) Those who are relatively inactive:
Again, use the chart above. Have they Dugg 200 or more posts in the last 30 days? If not, they likely can't be counted on to consider your valuable submissions. Delete them from the list.

c) Those unlikely to engage in "friend voting"
This is much more difficult to assess, and takes substantial time, but nobody said this was going to be quick or easy. Digg takes a whole lot of work ... both upfront and ongoing.

Essentially, a tool is needed for this next elimination phase. The tool is the Digg Entourage tool (Edit: another good tool is the TINC Tool ... thanks Zaibatsu for bringing this to my attention). By plugging in the username of a few of the friends on each individual on your list, you can surmize whether or not they are likely to vote for a friend's submission by looking at the % of the time they support other friend's submissions. Less than 60%, I'd argue their interests are remarkably different, and they should be dropped from your list..

3) Recompiling a Refined List:
After dropping those profiles deemed unattractive from the master list, you are left with the 'Refined' List now. This is a new list to work with ... throw the original out, and move onto step 4.

4) Approaching Friends (on the Refined List):
Now, you've identified the friends you deem 'desireable', so lets continue to set ourselves up for success. You could jump in right away, and begin requesting them as friends. Its likely that request will fall on deaf ears though, until you've gotten yourself noticed.

Accordingly, here are 3 tactics for getting noticed, prior to sending the actual 'Friend Request':

    a) subscribe to the RSS feeds for each of your potential friend's submission pages, and track their submissions frequently (min. daily)
    b) vote for their submissions
    c) comment on their submissions. Add value. The smarter the comment, the more likely they are to take notice.

The longer you do this before approaching the friend, the more likely they are to accept you as a friend. I've personally found though, that they began approaching me in a month's time.

For those who haven't requested your friendship, its now time you requested theirs, so:
d) goto their profile page, and request they "friend" you. Gtalk and IM messages can also move this friendship along quicker ... no spamming though.

If they still ignore you;
e) remove friend, wash and repeat from step b. Utlimately, after a few months, you'll have to declare some people a lost cause, and merely move on. Hopefully they'll realize after the fact what a loss it was for them, and come grumbling back to you.

Follow the above steps to the letter, and you too can find some really desireable Digg friends, and begin to propel yourself to Digg Rockstardom.

Enoy!