Slashdot has been around since 1997, and it’s considered one of social media pioneers. By far the hardest site to get featured on from all the social media sites, Slashdot is probably still the biggest in terms of influence and even traffic, but it’s not currently perceived as number one simply because it’s very hard to get featured on. There are no shortcuts or easy solutions here; there’s only one way to get featured on Slashdot, and that’s highest quality content.
Such content is usually the combination of three things: breaking news, very insightful commentary, and influence. Most people don’t have influence in the sense that when Steve Jobs says something, people listen no matter what it is; and if you do, you’re probably used to getting your stories featured on Slashdot already. Breaking news is a toughie, and nothing to rely on; as we’ve already mentioned a couple of times in this series, even with first grade information channels most people won’t be able to break news more often than once or twice a year.
Image by Björn Söderqvist via Flickr
Whichever topic you are trying to bring up there (be it natural disasters, refinancing home loan or entertainment), it leaves you with high quality commentary, analysis and compiling resources for easy consumption – the usual choice for most bloggers. As far as subjects go, Slashdot likes techy subjects – programming, Linux, net neutrality, IT statistics and the like. Mix that with a pinch of science related subjects and just a drop of good old fashioned rebellion against authority, anti-establishment and anti-DRM topics, and you’re pretty much covered it all.
A lot of articles on Slashdot are practically reserved for mainstream media and big publications like Ars Technica, so don’t try to compete with them. What you need to do is find a fresh and relevant topic and offer a unique perspective together with in-depth analysis. Remember, random goodies which may work on Digg and some other sites don’t usually work here; it has to be relevant to something that’s happening now.
Here are some examples from the top of my head. Let’s imagine that Ubuntu’s new version, Feisty Fawn, has gone public, but many users report problems with networking. An in-depth comparison of 6 major Linux distributions, focused on their networking capabilities and driver support would be great material for Slashdot.
Here’s another one. Let’s say that you’ve come to the conclusion that upgrading to SLI never pays out financially: buying a new graphics card is always better. Write a detailed explanation why this is so and support it with graphs and real-world-usage data.
What Works for Slashdot?
As far as actually getting your content to Slashdot, contrary to what many people believe, the process is the same as on many other social media sites. Simply submit the story to Slashdot – you don’t even have to be a registered user. You’ll have to write a short description paragraph, but forget anything you might have learned at Digg.
Real-life editors will read it, so make it intelligent, short and to the point; witty only if you’re sure your humor will be appreciated. Triple check the links and the data. As of late you can even track the progress of your story on Slashdot’s FireHose, available only to registered Slashdotters; but don’t take it too seriously, as success on FireHose does not equal Slashdot’s front page.
If you get rejected, don’t worry about it at all. Slashdot rejects a lot of stories; they take only the best, and sometimes even fantastic articles will get rejected to make room for more important news. If you do get picked up, enjoy it while it lasts – Slashdot will surely provide an army of intelligent readers, and hundreds of links.