I’m done with Digg

Digg really is an innovative site but I’m finished with it. They didn’t let me down, or change the terms of service, or suffer outages, or lose users,… Digg just isn’t doing anything for me to make my day easier. I’m finding this with a number of “Web 2.0” sites, after the initial enthusiasm wears dull I’m left with a big “so what” feeling that I can’t escape.

I met Kevin Rose once on a panel we both spoke on, I was impressed by his ability to say something really interesting as a matter-of-fact and for his humility over the success he was enjoying. Also, for what it’s worth, he seemed to grasp the social significance of the technology he created (for $12k mind you), but while I can appreciate and admire that I am still left with the “so what” feeling.

Sites like Digg were at one time promised (not by Kevin but rather by commentators on “the street”) to be rich information stores that could be mined and presented in many different ways through the efforts of a cottage industry that would spring up in response to the opportunity. Just like RSS readers condensed the process of reading the daily news, in their case feeds, into a single point of contact process, Digg and Techmeme (which I still very much like btw), among others, would offer new ways to discover information relevant to me. Today I realized that far too much crap, which I admit is a subjective measure, is being posted on Digg and I’m just not getting anything out of it anymore. Basically, when the front page features a good number of youtube videos you pretty much have to admit that it’s easier just to go to youtube…

In all fairness there are a number of very interesting utilities that have been created for digg, some from Digg Labs and others from the “community” but most of them really are just gadgets to make it easier to 1) use Digg, 2) game Digg, 3) put bright shiny things on Digg.

Maybe when applications develop that tie Digg with other information streams and have a realtime ability to collect and display as I’m working in other apps, or give me news based on things it infers I’m interested in, then I’ll be back.

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25 thoughts on I’m done with Digg

  1. Jeff,
    Do you think you would be more likely to keep using (or keep not using) this application if it was part of your Yahoo! or Google page, or heaven forbid- Windows. Many of the Web2.0 applications seem like features that are useful but not full apps that justify the investment of time, money and multiple log-ins. This all points to the platform or Suite approach being right. No wonder, Google crossed 500 today.

  2. Probably not, but I agree with your comment about features vs. apps. Of course, Teqlo is built around the notion of enabling snap together services for the purpose of a build-it-yourself app…

    I’m not convinced that the suite business going forward is going to reflect what it has been historically.

  3. I feel the same way about http://www.lifehacker.com/ I used to think it was a useful source of information, but now they are cranking out so many posts I just can’t keep up.

    When browsing through the posts I’ve missed I just get sidetracked with all the little tips and tricks that might be useful sometime… maybe. The lifehacker in me wants to have these at my disposal all the time.

    Digg definitely gives me the same feeling, along with engadget. Too much data!

  4. I have to agree with this post. I think its a symptom of people gaming the user-generated content sites to promote themselves either as companies or individuals. There are endless posts out there on how to get Digged and acquire millions of page views. It’s similar to the trend to write headlines that are packed with as many keywords as possible to drive search. The results are lifeless headlines that turn real readers and seekers of information off.
    The good news is that as we walk away from these sites they may be incentivized to change just as traditional media had to find scoops and improve content to stay competitive. Getting content for free is a limited model- quality of content is going to be the determining factor whether its Digg, MySpace or YouTube.

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  7. These web companies astound me in their thinking. If you owned a restaurant, would you stand back and let your customers walk in, cook their own food, clean their own dishes and hope they pay their bill? Absolutely not. This is what happens with these shoddy web2.0 businesses that are run by random users. You are totally at their mercy. Digg does absolutely nothinng to keep users interested in the site, nor does it do anything to make itself have some longterm relevancy among this group. Stupid website if you ask me. A successful business creates a product for customers, and brings value for a fair price. When all the work is up to the users, they will QUICKLY flake & flame out. Business over.

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  13. Hi!

    That “Game digg” was parody to what people do, it should be obvious and I think that my “tool” is nothing but fun with asshole who want to make any shitty story spectacular.

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  17. Jeff– Is your complaint with the content or the mechanism? I wonder if the same mechanism applied to a different community would result in “better” content, or if the “best” content requires too much attention and will never show up on any site with this mechanism, no matter how focused the community, Because the mechanism seems to naturally favor bubble gum web sites with no long-term value. That’s great for digg–it’s what people go to for their lunch breaks, to relax, even if it isn’t relaxing. For me, the novelty and fun of digg turns into wooziness after an hour following the Internet’s blind alleys. There is diminishing marginal utility. It leaves me numb. I want to unsubscribe. But the next day I go back to it because I want to feel in touch. There is something drug-like about the digg habit. I go in for a quick grin, but ultimately it’s a waste of time, it is supremely unproductive, and it’s disconnected from what really matters to me.

    Hmm, sounds a lot like cable TV. The collective intelligence has ADD.

  18. Carl,
    Probably a little bit of both but if applied to a smaller community the content base will have to be significantly more valuable in order to achieve the same yield. In other words, part of the value of digg appears to be the velocity that information moves through the digg network. We, the enterprise irregulars, have been trying this with our crispynews site but it’s just not as sticky as I would have hoped for.

  19. I agree. I was initially very excited by Digg and checked it frequently for several months. I’m not sure if it’s ME who has changed or Digg who’s changed but I can’t stand the site anymore. It got to the point where every other article seemed either inaccurate, bombastic, super-biased or just ridiculous.

    I’ve gone back to techmeme, Slashdot and other sites like Lifehcker and tuaw for news. They may not always be the most comprehensive, but at least the editorial quality is consistently bearable.

    I have really started to question the value of user-generated content when it’s open to the general public, especially with such a wide audience. I think it still works on sites like Flickr and del.icio.us but so many others seem to only cater to the lowest common denominator. To me this includes Digg and most of YouTube.

    I just checked Digg to see if my criticisms still hold true… the first article: “The 30 Gorriest Moments in Gears of War.” Yes. They do.

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  25. Social Media,

    i’ve been using Digg for two months now but i don’t really think it’s working for me. at present, i have deleted the Digg widget and link to it in my site. i think you did a good thing 🙂

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