Digg has always been problematic for me, and watching it slowly fade away in favor of other systems like Facebook, Twitter, even Reddit has its advantages. While Louis Gray points out that Digg seemed to peak in 2007, about the time the AACS and DMCA takedown happened, Digg really faltered after that event, and never seemed to come back.
Probably what annoyed me the most about Digg was that every single story I ever submitted to Digg was killed, killed in moments, without knowing why it was killed. It didn’t matter what the story was, it didn’t matter who wrote it, it didn’t matter where it came from, and within seconds it was killed.
Which then drove me to take a look at why Digg stories were killed. Which then ended up with this graph.
Lame never was a very good excuse for me, but the more I went through and researched the last 10,000 articles that were killed, the more I realized the game was rigged. Much like the idea I don’t gamble because the odds are in favor of the house, I chose not to use Digg because the system was so rigged that it was impossible for anyone outside of the top users to get anything accomplished.
The peasants ran amok, a small group of people was in charge, and that meant at the time an effective lock out of what it meant to be on Digg. I moved over to Stumbled Upon, and then over to Twitter and Facebook. While the use of these tools has never lead to millions of people visiting the article, at the very least there was an impression that it was at least democratic. At least what I wrote could be thrown out there, and not voted down by people who didn’t even bother to read the article.
I also was interested in the quality of the traffic that was coming in from Digg, much as I am interested in the quality of traffic today. Digg page loads never amounted to much time actually on site. Even back then in 2007 I wanted people to at least read what was being written. I still want the same today, and I cherish sites and systems that give me quality readers. If the reader isn’t even waiting 30 seconds, they didn’t read the article, if they hang out a couple of minutes, I believe that someone actually had a chance to get the gist of what was being said.
I have the same problems today with Google traffic, 30 seconds or less, while Facebook and Twitter are sending me people who hang out for minutes. It is not about the opportunity to throw ads at people, it is about the quality of the people coming in and reading what I have to say, or my co-writers have to say.
Simply Quality Readers (along with Quality Writing) matters, Digg never sent along quality readers. It wasn’t designed for that, it was designed to be a popularity contest, which it did very well. The reality is not everyone can be popular, and many people simply will never be popular ever.
So am I sorry Digg is dead or dying or a floater? No not really because of what I am looking for. I want people to engage with what I am writing, not just poke their heads in generating crappy 30 second traffic. I want comments, and thoughts, and reactions from readers. I get that today in many places because people stopped to read the article and let me know what they thought.
This is what Digg could not and did not provide, but this is what Facebook and Twitter provides me now. This is why those systems are valuable today, and if those systems stop providing that value, there is always someone who will come along later on and provide that value to me again. That is why Web 2.0 is so very important, anyone can do it, and there is still a lot of space for social bookmarking done right. Facebook and Twitter don’t have this game wrapped up, there are others out there waiting for Facebook and Twitter to stumble.
For everyone who stopped for a moment and read what I wrote, thank you.
- Kevin Rose Leaves Digg To Pursue Other Projects (lockergnome.com)
- For Digg and Other Web Serices, 5 Years Can Be a Lifetime (louisgray.com)
- Why Digg Failed (computerworld.com)
- What Digg Was Really Like at Its Peak (readwriteweb.com)
(Cross-posted @ Managing Intellectual Property & IT Security)