Sunday, February 24, 2008

Thing Twelve - Can you Digg it?

Hello peeps,

Social news/media sites and I are no strangers to each other. I was there at the inception, when Kevin Rose from the now extinct TechTV "The Screen Savers", created Digg. Originally Digg was a technology news website that combined social bookmarking, blogging, RSS and non-hierarchal editorial command. They've now expanded to cover popular as well as world news, in addition to the tech news. Digg is one of my favorite websites, as you can see in my "Favorite Links" section on the sidebar of this blog.

I use Digg on a nearly daily basis as a way to learn about some news stories as well as many other tech related things. Due to the user submitted aspect of the site, there's almost never any downtime in regard to new stories hitting the site, though due to an algorhythm only the more popular and relevant stories hit the main page for the general public to view. Reddit, Newsvine and Mixx I'm not as familiar with, though I did look at each of them individually. But it's clear, the Digg is one of if not the most popular of the social news sites, by far.

Although Digg is my personal favorite of the sites listed, I don't really see a lot of uses for that particular site in a library, aside perhaps from reference staff scouting out what's popular today for a potential heads up. It's definitely geared towards a younger tech savvy kind of audience, and the news stories can definitely reflect that. There's definitely more of an emphasis on "popular" stories, over stories that might be more relevant in society. I'm not saying that's always the case, cause there are certain world events like the presidential election that are very popular with the users. That being said, it makes sense that some stories get more attention due to the users being entirely the source of whether or not something hits the home page and flares in popularity.

As much as I like these sites, I'm not so sure they aren't a productivity detractor. Sure, they give you cool news stories and information, but is that really going to increase productivity for most of us? My guess is no. Also as a user of Digg for many years, I have submitted stories on a couple of occasions, none of them gaining any kind of popularity. For every really popular story out there, there's another 10 of the same subject that didn't get picked up for a number of reasons. I love the sites, and will continue to check it out as I've done for years now, though I'm riddled trying to figure out any practical applications for use with the library.