Digg

Originally written for eVent! [ep] magazine on 07/06/06.

With a lot of fan fair in the online world the social news website Digg (digg) just launched itself into version three, with a revamp of the software running the site and the features on the site it has been aggressive in keeping itself one step ahead of the competitors, as even web heavyweights like America Online have tried to copy the success of the small independent site.

What Digg is essentially is a site where users submit news stories from other websites, which in itself is not particularly unique, though where Digg set itself apart from other online news aggregators was in that it is completely community driven. Other sites have a team of editors who select which stories get put up, and which stories stay up. Digg's stories are selected by its readers, who first "digg" a story. If other readers like a story they then also "digg" it, and the more a story gets dugg the more readers see it. The influx of people to a site that can be created by a popular link from Digg is tremendous, and can be a double edge sword. Having a few stories show up on Digg can make a blogger into a internet superstar, and set them up with a career in blogging. Or it can overwhelm their servers and crash their site setting them up with a big bill for bandwidth. The most popular stories every week get featured on the podcast Diggnation.

Hosted by former Tech TV stars Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht the podcast has become one of the internet's most popular shows, as the two drink beer and talk about the news of the week. Rose, who founded Digg, has become one of the newest internet success stories. With an influx of nearly 3 million dollars in investment Digg has grown to become one of the internet's top 100 most popular websites and with this latest version its looking to become even more popular.

Up until this point Digg has been primarily focused on technology news, which attracts a small but dedicated following online. However one of the newest features in Digg version three is the addition of news categories that will appeal to a broader audience including Science, Business and Entertainment. With the addition of broader topics the sky might be the limit for Digg which has been copied quite extensively by a new service from America Online that takes the Digg formula and then waters it down by adding the editorial control that a major company demands, thus taking the power out of the hands of the readers.

Now before you cancel your subscription to the Daily Courier and stop reading eVent! it has to be be said that Digg is not a perfect source of news. Even with the launch of version three stories tend to focus heavily on technology or geek issues like the newest Spider-man 3 movie trailer online. The site doesn't actually hold the news itself, but provides links to other sites that have the stories. There have also been criticisms of Digg's stories, because without the editorial and a reliance on blogs as a news source some false or misleading stories have reached the top of the site.

As an experiment in a public edited news source Digg has proven to be incredibly successful. Not only has it created a site where readers can find a wide range of technology news, but it also works really well. Like Wikipedia (wikipedia.org), another site where it's the users who generate and police content, Digg has had its slip ups with but with hundreds of editors and not just a handful, its record has been incredibly good for the number of stories that pass through.

If you're interested in Digg register an account and start digging through the web. Also be sure to check out the podcast Diggnation, which is an essential part of the dig experience. With the addition of new categories and topics, Digg can be anyone's first stop for news on the internet.