People power is finally organizing on the Internet in interesting ways. Digg.com, a site I discovered barely a month ago, has quickly become a favorite place to kill time. Digg is essentially a place to find interesting links to news stories, blog entries or anything of interest on the world wide Internet. It’s mostly tech oriented right now, but that’s about to blow wide open real soon. What makes digg different than most other link aggregators is that editorial control is done by you, me and anyone else who cares to jump in. Anyone can submit a link they think is cool or interesting, but it’s gonna take a small community of people to agree with you for a much larger community of eyeballs to see it.
The way it works is pretty simple. You peruse digg.com for something interesting in the “digg for stories” queue, the place where all new submissions get tossed. When you find something you like, you click the “digg” button next to a link’s title and it is “dugg”. This increments a number next to the submission and adds the link to a personal bookmarks collection. Kind of like del.icio.us, which anyone else can see. When an article or link gets enough diggs, the article is “promoted” to the home page. This boosts the visibility of the article enormously and many more people get a chance to find it and hopefully also digg it.
What’s really amazing about digg and why I think it’s future is really bright is that it empowers the reader of content to decide what is interesting. Contrast this with the current model of the media in which you have a cadre of editors who decide what stories they think are going to gain the biggest audience or sell the most papers. We’ve all seen plenty of bad TV and read really crappy articles. What digg does is it flips the control of interestingness from the editorial ivory tower to the unwashed masses who ultimately consume the stuff. digg isn’t a media desitnation itself, merely a smart pointer to intersting stories and links that others create. Digg CEO Jay Adelson describes the symbiotic relationship he sees with the mainstream media in a recent interview with Mad Penguin.
I believe that the role of the New York Times, just to use them as an example, will be to go out and find the news and to interpret the news. We are going to bringing people to the New York Times IF they make the right choices. I believe that it is a very symbiotic relationship. Perhaps what we will provide organizations like newspapers is some insight into what the mass audience really wants to read about today, at least the on-line Internet audience.
Digg isn’t perfect. Yet. Some popular articles get repeated, some lame stuff bubbles up and it remains to be seen how the digg’s current audience will receive or adapt to non-tech categories. These are all relatively small issues that will evolve solutions. The decentralized editorial approach is amazingly powerful and the mainstream press are waking up to it as they see spikes of traffic from digg.
I recently had a chance to meet Kevin Rose, founder of digg, at a geek party. Very cool dude. He agreed to do a GETV interview, posted yesterday. If you like it, be sure to digg the interview and embrace your new found editorial power. It can be addicting.