Digg is dead. Long live BlinkGeo?

Digg is dead to me. It was briefly intriguing in its early, idealistic phase, but it soon got gamed, and the (mainly male) Diggers seems pathologically incapable of taking a nuanced position on anything — a position that is usually reached in error after visiting the target site for a mere few seconds, which leaves them completely oblivious to the wider context a post might have been written in.

Case in point: the digging of a recent post on Ogle Earth on the new satellite imagery showing tunneling near one of Iran’s nuclear sites. Not a single Digger managed to entertain the notion that it is possible to simultaneously hold Iran accountable for a nuclear program outside the scope of international law and also be against invading Iran. Instead, we had a conspiratorial free-for-all as to what the motivation must have been for putting those images on Google Earth. How disappointing.

That said, maybe there is a future for Digg-like sites when it comes to narrow niches, where the participants can be expected to know something of the subject matter at hand. This is what BlinkGeo aims to be for geospatial news. Let’s hope it stays relatively un-gamed, so that it remains useful. I’ve subscribed to the RSS feed.

10 thoughts on “Digg is dead. Long live BlinkGeo?”

  1. I’m the submitter who posted your article to digg.com last week. I posted it with the ideological intent that: how cool is it that the average joe can now read about vital world news in assorted major publications and then also be able to see with their own eyes current satellite images of the site in question…the kind of information once restricted to the military and government agenciesnot so long ago.

    The ability to have these options to make up your own mind on an issue like this…instead of believing what MSM may or may not be force-feeding you is nothing short of revolutionary if you think about it.

    I was a little disappointed as well at the ‘propaganda’ comments….but, the reality is that digg can be a conspiratorial crowd sometimes. Take the good with the bad…so, soak up the traffic and exposure for what it’s worth when your site hits digg’s FP. Try not to let the comments get you down.

    Btw, you have a great site. I’m a fan :)

  2. I don’t have a problem at all with you digging a post:-) but as for soaking up the traffic and exposure: Yes, the blog gets 20,000 extra visits but the exposure is among people who tend to drag down the quality of the debate. If I have to choose between quantity or quality of the readership I’ll definitely go for the latter. (And BTW, what advertising revenue there is on the blog collapses during such an episode, as click-through rates plummet and the ads delivered get skewed towards low-value cost-per-click ones.)

    But don’t let that stop you:-)

  3. I’m finding BlinkGeo useless. Maybe it just requires a familiarity with Digg that I don’t have (I’m used to Reddit). And the news seems to be mostly PR.

  4. Kelly, I’d figured Digg users tended to be on the slow side when they thought “Tomboy501” must be a guy, because it has “Tom” and “Boy” in the name…

    But I’m with Stefan on the value of Digg these days. I wrote that “How Google Earth Really Works” article because 100 or so diggers seemed to want a more technical explanation. Yet my article got only 13 diggs for whatever reason.

    Most of the 100k extra hits have come from StumbleUpon, Reddit, many GEO blogs, and a Japanese site I can’t read, which is all great, because my sustained readership is way up (by about 100x) — unfortunately for new readers, new baby takes most of my energy right now.

    That said, I think your submissions on Digg are some of the better ones, so the real value of Digg for me is skipping the front page entirely and seeing what my Digg “friends” find interesting in the upcoming queue. My usage pattern tells me I should probably be using another site that can better filter stories and comments based on more than a one-axis vote.

  5. Avi,

    Couldn’t agree with you more on the sad decline of quality on digg’s FP. Seems there’s a whole lot of random “pics” …or stories prefaced with BREAKING…or the latest immature trend of wildly sensationalizing or inserting swear words into the title. The blatant dupes, blind digging, and lazy submissions from the same old sites (ars, wired, etc) – sometimes from the top submitters setting terrible examples – just waters down the site even more.

    Somehow, I’m still hooked though. I’m a news junkie and you can really find some great nuggets if you have the right friends and browse the upcoming…couldn’t agree with you more. The friends’ list is a precious feed on digg…I wish they would do more with it.

    That said, I just did some quick google digg searching and found your Google Earth article. Good stuff. Can’t believe it didn’t go anywhere after the comments that had inspired it. That’s digg for you…fickle. Submit as EntropyMan next time, so I don’t miss anything ;)

  6. It’s funny. For a tech-geek and well, designer as well, one would think I’d be immersed in sites like Digg. Truth is, I don’t use it because I realize the outcomes of Internet history in certain attempts to create functionality in various ways.

    I admit I felt kind of offed by the comments left in that thread. I left a sarcastic comment initially which led to some weird responses, so I felt I had to address that. Though, I admit my own initial comment was perhaps off the real heart of the subject at hand – perhaps – who knows.

  7. Funny, Kelly. I didn’t actually submit it the first time, but the person who did, did so on July 4th and without enough “friends” to get it to the 30-40 diggs needed to “get noticed” on the upcoming queue. I duped it myself a few days later just to see what would happen, but with the same result.

    Having front-paged something else, I realized pretty quickly Digg is not a very democratic process — more about getting the right number of friends and non-friends to promote your story for the first 24 hours until it catches on.

  8. On the other hand, Sean, you could submit your own articles and content, thereby making BlinkGeo more useful to you.

  9. Hi All,

    Interesting reading the comments on this post. As BlinkGeo is still in its early stages, I cannot comment too much on whether it will be gamed or somehow lead to superficial digestion of linked content.

    While I am a fan of the Digg model, I too have reservations about the quality vs. quantity of content on Digg nowadays. That was one of the driving factors in establishing BlinkGeo…the hope is that the geospatial community will leverage the participatory model to highlight information in a democratic way, without interference/distraction from folks who are not part of the community. Digg is all-encompassing, and as such, it has been diluted.

    Perhaps I am being idealistic, but I have faith (and hope) that folks in the geospatial community will keep BlinkGeo honest, fair, and focused. For a site that is a little over a week old, we have had some good interest and participation. However, it will be some time before we can determine whether the site (and the model) are viable. If you like BlinkGeo, help us get the word out to others…the more people that participate, the better the site will be as a resource for highlighting information that is valuable for other folks in the geospatial community.

    On that note, I will stop my rambling. :)

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