Posted by: Rob Hof on November 25, 2006
As much as I like the idea of Digg—a site where a community chooses the most interesting or relevant news—I must confess that I just don’t use it that much. The reason became obvious once I started using Google Reader, which streams new RSS posts from all my chosen feeds as they come in. And in that context, most of the endless new posts on Digg look like junk, geek tabloid fare, or spam. I mean, I can imagine a post entitled Police Officer Tasered in Testicles in Training Accident (video included) might be entertaining in a Friday-night beer-bash sort of way, but when I’m working, I don’t need that in the way of real news. Even on Digg’s tech news page, headlines like Bored System Admin makes an arch from old Monitors aren’t doing much for me.
Apparently I’m not alone. Jeff Nolan says he’s done with Digg for much the same reason: “far too much crap.” In fact, Niall Kennedy thinks socially driven Web 2.0 sites are on the verge of becoming spam farms:
I believe social media accounts are currently available for rent or for sale, rewarding active users with paid placements or account resells in much the same way as a World of Warcraft character might be resold on eBay. Social media sites and search engines need to stay on top of this new form of content creation, continually analyzing data and scrubbing out the dirt. Sites overrun with web spam quickly lose their utility and might be banned from search engines.
Meanwhile, Techmeme, which doesn’t use the wisdom of crowds (or as I prefer, the power of us), instead driven by an algorithm that correlates links in a way I don’t yet understand, continues to draw me in many times a day because of the quality of the stories or posts and the associated links to other blogs. I hope Digg, which clearly has managed to create a vibrant community—no small trick—can turn the talents of that community to more useful ends.