Websites race to take credit for Obama victory

Owen Thomas · 11/04/08 11:40PM

Forget hacking voting machines; our media brethren are, at this moment, most concerned with gaming Digg to get out the vote for their stories about Barack Obama's apparent victory in the electoral college. (Our sister site Gawker was late to the game; its headline submission for "Obama Wins!" was seventh in line, judging by the URL.) Taking the lead: "Digg This If You Voted for Obama!" with more than 20,000 votes. It points to a story. New media serves merely to confirm the victory of old media.

5 reasons to Digg this article now

Owen Thomas · 10/21/08 11:40AM

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.

Why lies win online

Owen Thomas · 10/14/08 12:00AM

Three's a trend, right? Take the false report of Steve Jobs's heart attack, spread by a CNN website and Digg; a six-year-old report of United Airlines' bankruptcy, resuscitated by Google News; and a silly story about Oprah and Sarah Palin. And what do you get? Lies, lies, lies on the Internet! Some Web operations are promising to factcheck Wednesday's presidential debate in real time. Right! I ran a magazine's factchecking operation, and much to my fellow editors' chagrin, a thorough vetting of the accuracy of a report does not happen instantly. Passing on some concocted tale that confirms your worldview? That takes no time, or thought, at all. All the Internet does is speed things up a little. (Illustration via The Second Road)

Viral-video dancer on the lazy way to become a star

Nicholas Carlson · 08/25/08 02:20PM

Matt Harding, the guy who travels around the world taking videos of people dancing with him, knows how to work the system without doing much work. First, he got Stride gum to sponsor his video-making trip around the world. Since the result went viral, he's milked his fame on the speaking circuit. First he made yet another "dancing" video at Yahoo's Sunnyvale headquarters. Last week, he spoke at nerdy-person gathering Gnomedex in Seattle. Watch his talk and learn all about how much — or rather, how little — work went into the popular "Dancing" video. Or, skip to 4 minutes in if all you're interested in is yet another crowd of people doing Harding's funny-looking jig.

Look, it's Katie Couric in a Digg T-shirt — what?

Nicholas Carlson · 08/19/08 09:40AM

CBS hired anchor Katie Couric to turn return its news division to ratings glory. Didn't happen. So like any good media organization in the 21st century, CBS has resorted to good old-fashioned Diggbaiting. Below a video of Couric in her office, sporting a Digg T-shirt and reading a script — "Oh, hi everybody! Nice to see you. Welcome to CBS News. Sorry about my mess." Putting a woman in well-cut Digg clothing is a trick as old as the site of course. Two years ago alt-porn star Posh Suicide did the same thing, drawing 2,828 Diggs. Couric has a ways to go to catch up: Her video is sitting at a meager 40 votes after 18 hours. But then, we'd already discovered that Digg users aren't quite the slobbering teenage boys spammers assume they are.

In which we fall for a hip-hop star's Apple-baiting ploy

Nicholas Carlson · 08/07/08 02:00PM

First Bare Naked Ladies, then Weezer, and now a hip-hop performer calling himself AC have marketed themselves by parodying Internet memes. AC takes on Apple's "New Soul" commercial in the video below. And since three's a trend, we feel obliged to report on it, allowing us to post the video and let it work its magic. Enjoy AC's "New Soul," directed by Steven Tapia during your lunch hour and remember, you're a sucker for these tactics too.

10 Digg stories not even Kevin Rose could make popular

Nicholas Carlson · 07/24/08 07:00PM

Click to viewOf the 377 stories Digg founder Kevin Rose has submitted to his social news site, 367 went to the site's front page. When I read this, all I could think was: God, those 10 that didn't make it must have really sucked. Maybe he should have pretended to be a hot girl? We thought we'd help the spammers "social media marketers" out by listing Kevin Rose's failed submissions below. If these stories couldn't hit the front page, with Rose's hordes of mancrushing fanboys clicking on them,then they're the exact kind of story our Digg-optimizing friends shouldn't even bother with. We'll tell you why.You don't ask questions on Digg. You give emotional answers. Next time, Kevin, submit this one as: How Obama already beat Clinton!

Doree Shafrir · 07/10/07 12:30PM

That article from Sunday Styles about hip librarians is still at the top of the NYT's Most Emailed list. [NYT]

New 'Cosmo' Video Game Promotes Girly Alcoholism

Doree Shafrir · 06/07/07 02:34PM

Cosmo recently unveiled some video games on its website that it hopes will prove irresistible to the legions of young women who turn to them for advice about what to do when their vaginas get sparkly. But one of them, "Boy Toy," is so moronic that we think you would have to be mid-lobotomy to get any sort of entertainment value out of it.