Sunday, November 30, 2008

Web 2.0: Digg - The Final News Frontier

Welcome to a new era in information. With the introduction of Web 2.0 users are now in the driver’s seat. Content is entirely on users side. Whatever content these individuals deem necessary to that specific website, it will be added, pending it follows the terms of service for that website. For generations individuals have had to settle with media that was dictated to them by a foreign entity, or mass media conglomerates. Now that the Internet has taken the reigns of content and returned them to the public, the public is now able to create their own voice. There is no better website at the forefront of Web 2.0 than Users are able to use that voice at their discretion. Digg, although relatively new on the Internet, has grown by leaps and bounds to create one of the most unique websites that not only attracts countless users from around the world, but also allows users to discover and inform countless individuals with a click of the mouse.

Digg just might be the simplest idea ever implemented to fill the void that most people did not know existed. Jay Adelson, current CEO of Digg, spoke with USA Today concerning how everything came together and stated, “Kevin Rose had this sense that if we could harness the power of the users, it could be a better source of filtering for the overwhelming amount of data online” (Graham, 2007). Digg was the brainchild of Kevin Rose. Kevin Rose, the founder and chief architect, is a computer-science dropout from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (BusinessWeek par. 1). After working with a couple of dotcom’s prior to the Internet bubble bursting in 2001. Rose moved to the San Francisco area to become a production assistant for the newly created television show, The Screen Savers, airing on TechTV (G4TV par. 3). Here Rose would come into contact with countless technology “forefathers” that would later give him the idea of going out there and creating something. The idea was planted to create, just to create something.

On December 5th 2004, Digg was launched for worldwide consumption (MacManus, 2006). Although, the project was seen as something of a long shot by most, it slowly progressed to popularity among a loyal fan base. Time and time again Digg showed skeptics that it would be sticking around for years to come. On launch day, Digg registered about 13,000 new users, which apparently was unheard of at the time (BusinessWeek, par. 2). Digg was started with the idea of harnessing users, as Jay Adelson put it, and giving them a voice in this new media enriched world. By putting the users first it allowed Digg to go beyond what analysts were predicting about this little startup company.

For instance, by building a community first, that loyal fan base, it allowed the management at Digg to secure some revenue from advertisements. "It's one of those things where we know we could put crazy ads all over the site and clutter it up, but we don't want to do that," says Rose. "We have a clear path toward becoming a profitable company” (BusinessWeek par. 5). Profitable company they are. Apparently Digg was in talks with Google for an estimated 200 million dollar range, before walking away from the table (Arrington, 2008). With no buyers on the scene it may leave some wary but according to some, Digg generates revenues worth 3 million a year (BusinessWeek par. 4). Gathering more funds might not be on the management’s mind as of late considering the amount of growth they are receiving and revenue from the advertisements on the website. But one thing that seems to be on everyone’s mind is where do they go next? And how does a company that produces nothing generate millions of dollars? Welcome to the new era of information that is Digg.

The history and the man, Kevin Rose, behind Digg have been uncovered. Yet, Digg itself remains a mystery. The simplest of ideas are those that usually take off and become popular. The premise behind Digg is quite simple. Essentially, Digg produces nothing unless the users of the website are willing to supply the content. With that being said some still might be confused about the concept of Digg and its inner workings. Digg is a social content as well as a social bookmark website.

Users supply content. To elaborate on the type of content that is available it could be a textual story, video from YouTube, or a picture from Flickr. Of course the content is not limited to that but those are the three main types of content that make their way onto the Digg website. What makes that significant is that the source of the content does not matter, it can be a reputable website like the BBC News, or it could be from a small blog that is in obscurity on the Internet. The source of the information does not matter mainly because fellow users who see the content have the ability to “digg” the content up thus giving it recognition and ultimately making its way to the front page. Sometimes users do not find the content the most reliable, it might have bias or it just might be a duplicate of another story that was posted 15 minutes ago. In these cases users have the ability to bury these stories. With the more buries these stories obtain the less likely they are to be viewed by the majority on the front page. With burying you are given certain options. Users have the option to bury it under one of five categories, duplicate story, spam, wrong topic, inaccurate, and ok this is lame.

Digg allows users to supply content and discover content. In order for users to participate and to “digg” or “bury” a story and be apart of the democratic process that is Digg. Individuals need to sign in and create an account. With the creation of an account, individuals open an endless door of possibilities. The biggest plus of having an account is that users are able to comment on each story that is submitted to Digg. Once again these users have the ability to “digg” or “bury,” but this time in relation to their fellow user’s comments.

For instance one of the most popular stories on Digg at the moment happens to be titled, “Little Bastard.” The story is a picture of a puppy urinating on a laptop. One user, jaymulder, wrote, “I always wonder how people take pictures like this. Anyone in the right mind would pick the dog up before turning on a camera to take a picture. Totally planned.” The amount of “diggs” that jaymulder received for that comment was 824. Basically most of those people were thinking the same thing and decided to let their voice be heard under the user jaymulder. I was one of them. But one user who met the fate of being buried 23 times, cursorTD, stated, “Must be from a Mac using family. Surprised he's not foaming at the mouth though--those mac lovers are rabid!” Like any place on the Internet, and this especially goes for Digg, Apple and Microsoft users are always at one another’s throats. The majority seems to deal with the situation by burring any individual who even invokes bad statements toward one of the groups.

One of the biggest features on Digg happens to be its user profiles. Yes, users are able to participate in the process of digging and burying. But by having a profile, each and every story that you “dig” or comment on goes directlying to your profile for others to see. Now that Digg is on the radar, more and more websites as well as social networking sites are implementing tools to bring Digg to all corners of the Internet. One social networking website, Facebook, now has the option for Facebook users to import their Digg activity over to their feed for their friends to see.

Those that make up the Digg community are largely male. It has been said that men usually gravitate toward new technologies first. Ultimately it can be any type of technology. New and interesting things just interest men. According to BusinessWeek (2006) 94% are male; more than half are IT types in their 20s and 30s making $75,000 or more. Considering for a moment that Digg was created by Kevin Rose, who is 31 years of age. Digg fits in nicely into the idea that Kevin and his peers created something that those around his age could appreciate. These users really do appreciate it, all 2.7 million of them (Graham-Cumming, 2008).

Most users though use Digg merely as a watering hole of some sort. All of the content that is available on the web is at times hard to find. By having your peers bring that information to your fingertips it enables users to find out about information faster. For instance when any type of conflict arises the information will be readily available on Digg. When some news outlets such as CNN or BBC world news are just getting the information, some obscure news source might have already been publishing countless pages on the incident. Thus Digg fills the void that some individuals might have never known existed, had they not been turned onto Digg in the first place. Living in a fast passed world, Digg allows users to keep up with all the content out there.

Users might be using Digg as well for the simple idea that most mainstream news outlets only cover news that gets the most ratings. Digg serves as an unfiltered news source. So where in America they block out deaths of American soldiers in Iraq, you could quite possibly see some photographs somewhere else. The ability to see anything and everything is there for Digg users.

Although Digg is fairly young it has come a long way. It has come through lot obstacles on its way to popularity. The most known obstacle to those familiar with Digg happens to be when countless users posted HD DVD decryption codes on the website (Barlow, 2008). Digg’s front page was engulfed in stories that said nothing more than the decryption code. Kevin Rose (2007) later stated on his blog:

“We had to make a call, and in our desire to avoid a scenario where Digg would be interrupted or shut down, we decided to comply and remove the stories with the code," he wrote. "But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you've made it clear. You'd rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won't delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be. If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying” (par. 1).

Ultimately, it is easy to see that the unfiltered process, which makes Digg strong, also makes it weak. By not abiding by the laws that bound the physical world it puts Digg at risk, but also brings question as to if laws can be broken online, then why not in the physical world as well by society. But alas Digg still stands today, and no one individual has yet to hear anything from authorities. So it appears that the riots worked in their favor. It might not be the last time Digg hears from the digital Boston Tea Party (Greenburg, 2007).

Overall Digg is nothing more than a young company trying to find its footing in the ever expanding Web 2.0 world. The Internet bubble has burst. If another bubble were to burst users would be reading about it on Digg. This website is not going anywhere, anytime soon. The general public only need an introduction with Digg. Once users see what Digg has to offer they will ask themselves how they lived with this void in them. After all most users have seen Digg icons on major media websites, like BBC News and Yahoo. Sadly most individuals just never knew what it was. Perhaps the time has come to stop viewing news in the traditional sense and participating in the Digg? Welcome to the new era of information that is


Barlow, Aaron. (2008). Blogging America (chapter 3). Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.

Graham, Jefferson. (2007, October 24). Filling a void breeds fast success. USA Today, pp. Money, 03b.

Lacey, Sarah. and Jessi Hempel. (2006, August 14). Valley Boys. Business Week, 399(7), 40-47.

Graham-Cumming, J. (2008, January 29). How many users does Digg have? . Retrieved from

MacManus, R. (2006, February, 1). Interview with Digg founder Kevin Rose. Retrieved from

Arrington, Michael. (2008, July 26). Google Walks Away From Digg Deal. The Washington Post, pp. 252, b11.

Greenberg, Andy. (2007, March 2). Digg's Dilema. Retrieved November 22, 2008 from:

Rose, Kevin. (2007, May 1). Digg This: 09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63-56-88-c0. Retrieved from:

Digg is a site that presents the full about how the website works (

G4TV. (2002). Focus on Kevin Rose. Retrieved November 22, 2008, from:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Web 2.0: Digg Observations

Over the past month I have been observing the web 2.0 website, Digg. Some of the general things that I have noticed happened to be the content submitted to the website. The time period I was observing the website happened to be in the mist of the United States presidential election. After viewing a majority of the headlines to the articles that were making their way to the front page I realized that they were more or less supporting Obama.

Essentially it appeared that Digg was the Internet grassroots ground zero for Obama. The comments just made this assumption more factual. All those that were condoning Obama and bashing McCain were being dug up and those that were less than favorable of Obama happened to be dug down.

But before the election there was the primaries for these canadiates and they of course had their fair share of supporters online, with Barrack Obama taking center stage for the democrats and Ron Paul in the driving seat for the republicans.

Digg is not all about politics. It is about what ever its users are about. If one is to go to any section, technology, comedy, or even business they would find countless individuals who declare that what they are preaching is the truth.

In closing the overall observation of Digg is that it is ultimately like reality. The only difference being that people are not afraid to show their true face.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Nov 24: Reading Reaction

According to the reading, Here Come Everybody..., Clay Shirky speaks about social networking and their inner workings. We are given a good amount of examples on how these networks, large and small, are maintained in today's world.

First, he goes into an example about an airliner and how the person sitting next to you might know the same exact person as you. But you may know the same person because you are both doing something similar, such as traveling to the same location. Shirky calls this Small World networking. Small World networking is at the heart of this article. Shirky states that Small World networking has two characteristics. One being it relates to small groups, the other pertaining to large groups. These groups are ultimately at the opposite ends of the spectrum.

Small groups fall into the category to current online social networking sites, similar to Facebook and Myspace. Ultimately, in some way you know the people you are friends with and it allows the group, according to Shirky, to become even stronger. But, large groups would fall more into the category of Myspace’s music section. These artists have countless “friends,” yet it is hard to believe that with over 100,000 individuals they are as strong as a group of 50. “Large groups are sparsely connected” (pg. 215).

In an attempt to relate to a younger audience even more Shirky explains a new social networking tool called Dodgeball. It allows people to notify their friends where they are. It is somewhat like Twitter, but more phone based. Finally, I would have to agree with the Small World network. It really does matter how you interact in the world. I have met countless individuals and have fallen victim to stating what a small world, but it came down to doing something quite similar as the other person in a specific area.

Shirky, Clay. (2008) Here comes everybody: the power of organizing without organizations (chapter 9). New York: Penguin.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nov 12: Reading Reaction

In the reading entitled, “Shout into the wind, and it shouts back,” the author, Lori Kendal, speaks about her research with the “journal”-style blogs like LiveJournal. According to Kendal LiveJournal is a online diary rather than a blog that dominantly houses teenagers. Even though those involved in her study were well into their 20s and 30s. In essence LiveJournal is a place where individuals display what is going on in their mind publicly.

One of Kendal’s more interesting topics about LiveJournal is subtitled, efficiency vs. audience management. The individuals that were interviewed almost unanimously stated that they preferred using LiveJournal to contact their friends than using e-mail or telephone. In a sense one could state that LiveJournal was becoming center in their communication circles. According to Kendal, “It decreases the emphasis on LiveJournal as a diary site. By thus depicting their participation as business like.” Here we have individuals not knowing where to draw the line in the sand between personal and public. Granted some individuals enjoy talking about anything and everything, but when you are treating a diary site as a business experience, you might need to take a step back from it all.

Something that Kendal and I both agree upon is that having your contacts from every aspect of your life clumped into one place can create problems. Some individuals should find some truth in the old saying, “do not dip your pen in company ink.” Stating that life at work and life at home should be separate, but with LiveJournal that does not seem to be possible. Most of the participants soon discovered that audience management and control your diary’s privacy was soon quite important. They all came to the realization that keeping their work and personal lives separate was important. It comes down to humans being humans and whether or not they will use their brains to filter out the information that can be seen as harmful to them.

Kendall, Lori. (2007). “Shout into the wind, and it shouts back.” Identity and interactional tensions on LiveJournal. First Monday, 12. Retrived on August 21, 2008 from http;//

Fourth Essay: Blogging

With millions of cultures around the world, is it hard to believe that one is being created in front of our very eyes? People today are a part of something exceptional, the Internet blog. The blog has many facets. Informing countless individuals in mere seconds before traditional newspapers have the ability to even print a single page of news. Blogs have the ability foster a central idea, in order for a community to form around that main idea. Author and commenter in the public sphere seem to blur. Ultimately, determining the grey area comes down to ones own perception. The Internet blog, created by one individual serves as a jumping off point to countless others, allowing them to “pay it forward” or contribute back to the community.

Over the course of two week’s time, I examined the blog, Engadget. Having chosen one of the top technology blogs on the Internet I was well aware that I would be receiving much more than just news entries. Engadget is a subsidiary of Weblogs Inc, who happens to be owned by AOL, who is owned by the biggest fish, TimeWarner. In the simplest sense a multinational corporation owned the blog that I had chosen. But, I was not examining the vertical or horizontal structure that Aaron Barlow mentions in his book. I was trying to determine if those visiting the blog and commenting went full circle back to the entries.

My first real encounter with the community showed me that a full circle does exist, albeit in some way. Those commenting on Engadget are not permitted to edit the actual story, but those who operate the blog do read the comments in case an error was made in one of their entries. The community was not accepting the entry as actually news and argued against the piece until it had actually been corrected. Engadget, having the ability to correct the blog almost instantaneously, nearly come off as if they are infallible. Yet, Engadget replies to the individuals and thanks for their assistance. I believe such honesty by a blog, makes individuals want to read the blog and contribute back knowing they are improving the community. Improvements are possible since, ”blog communities tend me be much more narrow (Barlow, 2008),” and in this case we are dealing with “technology junkies" who watch their blogs and news sources almost constantly from their phones, as well as other devices.

Having brought up “technology junkies” in my observations. I must say that some of these individuals, better known under the phrase, “fanboys” make browsing the blog comical, as well as interesting. Fanboys, an Internet term, are individuals who are passionate for a certain brand or company, but who allow their passion overtake common sense. Engadget happens to be filled with countless fanboys, especially on topics surrounding the technology companies, Apple and Microsoft. Some individuals see these two companies as good and evil, depending upon your perception. Why talk about these individuals? Well, their passion adds a balance to entries. There is no doubt in my mind that most blogs on the Internet have an Apple lean, while Microsoft is either vilified. Engadget is no different. Having these Microsoft fanboys constantly speak their mind, allows those reading the article to ultimately read both sides of the story, half from the actual blog itself, and the other from the community, which is filling in the gaps. Yet, at times these confrontations between fanboys result in fights, almost similar to the ones that occurred on Digg (Barlow, 2008). Although, fighting one another might seem not seem important, it is the fight the changes the mood of the community.

Engadget allows individuals to either rate highly or negatively of a person’s comment. It may come as no surprise, that on high profile Apple and Microsoft entries, most of the comments are voted negatively because it often erupts into bickering. This hurts the full circle of contribution. But if one was to stand back and just read some of these comments, on the surface they would be comical, yet they would also to a degree have some truth. This truth is according to the person’s own views, viewing them individually is quite harmful, but having 30 different ones posted in a row allows others to achieve a certain understanding of the information. Fanboys are the minority on Engadget. The vast majority seems to ignore such passioniate individuals and is rewarded by having their comment positively rated.

It is hardly fair to state that this is the only way the community contributes. In all fairness to the Engadget community I feel the latter is far more helpful to the blog. Sure, verifying information and ensuring it is correct to get the right information out is needed, but reading the comments of some individuals allows others to see a counter to the story so a decision can be made. Simply by reading the comments, you as a reader are questioning certain ideals put forward in the blog (Barlow 2008). Questioning technology information on Engadget, which is in the public sphere, is exactly what is permitted otherwise it would not be public. After all it is what the public sphere is about.

Blogs like Engadget in the simplest form are text and nothing more. It is with our own perceptions that make these texts into stories that cultivate a viewpoint. With this view we can share it with the entire world allowing our voice to be heard. There is always a full circle of contributing information, in the end it depends on how one perceives information in our real life culture and attempting to extend it to the culture surrounding the Internet blog.


Barlow, Aaron. (2008). Blogging America. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Day 5: Blog Evaluation

With this being my final observation for the blog Engadget, I decided it would be fitting to blog about the entry concerning Circuit City's bankruptcy. Most of the comments on the this entry are reminiscing about other technology stores that have closed their doors. I honestly forgot about a majority of these stores, The Wiz in particular. It is funny how when something new comes a long that the majority of the public just forgets about the past and focuses their energy on the present almost as if nothing bad had ever occured.

My contrubution to the community was stating how we will soon have no compeditors in the private secotor for retail, instead it will be one giant Walmart. It will be similar to the movie Idiocracy, starting Luke Wilson. Mike10010100, said it best when he was most worried about Black Friday, and the amount of discounts that would no longer be offered unless CC can stop the bleeding for that long. This is exactly why I will continue to purchase things online where they are 30-50% cheaper 100% of the time.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Day 4: Blog Evaluation

I once again find myself knee deep in another Apple vs Microsoft entry on Engadget. The entry that I have decided to interact with is entitled, Microsoft reveals 46 new Zune Originals designs -- how will you ever choose? Being a Zune owner myself, it makes me a little jealous that I did not wait a little longer to wait and purchase one. The quick synopisis on the entry states that the Microsoft will now have 46 new artist engravings on the back of their Zune product line. Anytime there is Microsoft uttered on the Internet there are a thousand Apple fans crying out in anger. This blog entry is no different. One user, PAJA, decided to call this news "Lipstick on Pig," so I just had to remind this user that Apple had something similar with U2. But the iPod's U2 edition was not as elaborate as this, so it falls short.

Ultimately any time we see a Microsoft geared entry there will be countless Apple indivduals bashing it and visversa.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Day 3: Blog Evaluation

Well, here we are once more. I have attempted to once again pick relevant topics that not only interest me, but as well will effect me. The entry that actually made me want to interact with this time is entitled, Microsoft mistakenly reveals 2009 launch target for Windows 7, again.

Now that there is all of this negative buzz surrounding Windows Vista because of Apple's "Get Mac Ads" it will be interesting to see Windows 7 arrive and blow away all the annalists expectation, as well as consumers. The blog entry had a lot of butting heads, mostly from Mac "fanboys" versus everyone else. So, I of course had to put my two cents, being a Apple user, to debunk anything these Apple people said, since I do love Windows as well. I merely stated that everyone should try the product before they all start making judgments about a product that will not be on shelves until late 2009 - early 2010. Alas some people are ignorant and will never learn.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Day 2: Blog Evaluation

The next entry that I decided to comment on happened to be political in nature. The entry was titled, Even Robots Love Obama. I must say that before I was evening going to comment on the blog, my thoughts had already been expressed several times over by the community. We all must have the same humor. Soon as I saw a robot, I automatically thought of Johnny 5, the robot from the 80s movie. But having seen that Graham Wellington (formerly tyrone washington, or marsha goldberg), was in the same frame of mind as me, I decided to add to his comments. I added the famous tag line that Johnny 5 always states in all of his movies, Johnny 5, I am alive run away little girl. The later portion of that was merely added, since there is a little girl picture who happens to be fleeing away from the robot in fear. The entry itself is not that in depth, it is based around the picture more than anything else.

But I would like to state that I welcome our new ObamaBot overlords!

Blog Entry: Here