If you’re not familiar with Digg.com, here’s the jist… Members of the site find good content from around the web, other Digg members then vote it up or down, if a story gains popularity it makes the homepage, thus resulting in national exposure.
In theory this sounds like a great concept. However, sites primarily driven by user generated content can quickly turn into a sticky mess of bullshit. When these same sites are centered around an ever-revolving popularity contest that has absolutely no meaningful or stimulating interaction at all, they implode…
Welcome to Digg.
In the past, I have personally been very active in the Digg community. Sites that I’ve been a part of have made the Digg homepage countless times. A few times, I submitted my own content, but for the most part quickly grew tired of the rat race Digg.com quickly became.
In essence, the idea of a community that controls its own news by voting it up and down is wonderful! Think about it… You join this community, you and your friends submit stories, images and videos from around the web, and then if a majority of like-minded individuals like those stories, they get voted up. But what happens when the community grows cumbersome, loses its ability to stay current and gets manipulated by those profiting from the page-views they get by blasting their content to the Digg homepage?
At the core of these problems are issues that Digg continuously fails to acknowledge. No matter how in depth their new features are, the technical infrastructure is, or how fine-tuned they say their algorithms are, the entire concept of the site has been destroyed. Digg has already imploded and is primarily used as a platform for sites to try and gain exposure, induce page-views and create buzz and hype around otherwise repetitive and aging content.
Digg has recently launched a new feature called The Diggbar. To make a long story short, it creates a more invasive way for Digg to control the content that is submitted to their site. I won’t bother getting into the extensive features that Digg has made available with the new Diggbar, but it’s now a URL shortening service, similar to TinyURL, SnipURL and bit.ly, and also takes aim at StumbleUpon with its “Random” button.
When I first watched the video below, I briefly got excited that Digg may actually be working to try and solve the crippling issues that are rotting at its core. But when I spent a little while getting to know the Diggbar, it kept sending me back to the same old manipulated, aging place that I left in the first place…
Digg founder Kevin Rose explains the new Diggbar
The team at Digg.com surely does a great job with putting together an intuitive, and elegant product. They have meticulous attention to detail, their design eye (although addicted to gradients) is digestible, and their back-end programming is definitely impressive. They have a nice setup and have shown that they are able to control their infrastructure and push updates and upgrades to speed up the way the application performs. This is great and all, but underneath it all, it’s still Digg.com.
No matter how many snazzy new features, or speed-increasing infrastructure stability upgrades Digg pushes… At the core of the site, at the core of the community, and at the core of the problem, is the fundamental concept that drives Digg. It’s a rat-race, the site’s algorithms are manipulated, and it’s really just not fun.
For those involved with trying to get your stories on the Digg homepage, give yourself a break for a few weeks and you most likely won’t miss the unsatisfied feelings you were left with when previously visiting Digg. For those who primarily peruse Digg looking for genuine, original content, the site may still hold some value, albeit not for long.