In "King of Digg," GangstaDawg4Life takes on FroggietheDestroyer! This is the future of media. Kevin Rose conceived Digg, his so-called social news site, as an experiment in democratizing the consumption of news. Rose's formula: Get rid of middleman editors. Replace them with the wisdom of crowds. Or so he says. But while he was starting Digg, Rose was a TV host on G4TV, the cable channel about videogames. That's the secret of Digg's success: It's a videogame. An old-school journalist would wonder: "Why do they keep score on individual submissions? Doesn't that reveal which of your stories were believed most, or at least read most? Damn, there goes my Pulitzer!" But now, Rose and company are fighting with Digg's most active users, trying to blunt their success. Here are five reasons — from a 13-year veteran of MSM formulas — why Digg's management should hug their top Diggers even tighter.
- They like articles about Digg. That's not a crime. By regularly promoting articles about Digg to its homepage, the site's users provide readers a dashboard-like meter on Digg's importance. Newspapers do this all the time: "Let's spill some dirt on ourselves. We'll look more credible." I mentioned King of Digg, a video submitted to the site. In theory, that will get me onto Digg's home page. In reality, it could just as well get me buried.
- They are fiercely loyal. In "King of Digg," GangstaDawg4Life slags Fark.com, another popular news-discussion site. It's like Bill O'Reilly versus the New York Times Everyone loves a war! CNN would kill for that kind of loyalty. Plus it has the added bonus of allowing commenters to talk about Fark.
- They keep odd hours. Top Diggers' erratic sleep schedules, as shown in "King of Digg," keep Rose from having to hire an overnight staff to post breaking news stories and other fresh items for an audience that may be awake, alert and hungry for distraction anytime. Veteran newsmen call this Always On journalism. We call it normal.
- They're really, really into each other. A social network is only as strong as its weakest links. Show me a Facebook user who obsesses on his friends as much as Digg's users do MrBabyman.
- They like articles with numbers in the headline. I got this from MIT dropout Paul Boutin. Reading articles with numbers in the headline makes Boutin feel like he's doing math. Kill your blog, Paul, and get back to work.