Digg dominates the idea of internet popularity: most sites want to be featured on it, others dream of being it, and thousands of its users desperately Digg all day in hopes of becoming a “Power User”. We’re constantly being told that the democratic Digging process correctly identifies the most popular and important news stories from around the web while also providing an alternate source to find cool stuff. Instead of taking these claims for face value, I though we’d take a closer look at the top stories from the past year to see if this is indeed what Digg provides.
Story Number 0: Digg Before All!
We’re off to dive into Digg so it can tell us the most popular stories of the entire year but before we can begin, Digg pesters us to fill-out its frickin’ feedback forms. You know, the kind of advert pop-ups and flash banners that all those non-Dugg sites are sporting and which Digg users themselves despise? Yeah, well Digg integrates those same pesky features into its site too!
Story Number 1, 2, 4: Crap Everyone On Earth Already Knew
Let’s take a closer look at the amazing democratizing power of Digg. Did you know that Barack Obama won the election? Well, Digg users sure did! In fact, they Dugg it to the top of the site with over one hundred thousand users exclaiming “Yes, I totally also know that thing that everyone in any way connected with modern media also knows! Finally my existence is validated!”
The underlying reason as to why these stories were so popular is revealed by the first two words: “Digg This.” Even when reporting the most popular story to ever grace the site the priority wasn’t the news, or its implications, or in any way the event – it was making sure that user “NikeGuy25125″ got as many Diggs as possible. Which is why j0hneb0y81 submitted it again and LtGenPanda did it once more to take third place (despite four exclamation points!).
Story Number 3: Give Us The Money
“Oh, what’s that, you said you wanted the top stories democratically Dugg by users like yourself? Sorry, we thought you said you wanted to see things major corporations paid us to show you!” Still, that’s an easy mistake to make – especially when you’ve been trying to sell your site for a couple of years to Google, only to find that nobody wants to buy Digg due to all its inherent problems.
Story Number 5: More Stupid Crap You Already Knew
User “absolutelytrue”‘s motivations are simple – he stayed up all night, and he knew that when the story broke he would make a tiny number on a website turn into a much bigger number! Incredibly, there are a surprising number of people that view this as a worthwhile occupation but tragically it doesn’t keep them off the streets. These people are street-incompatible to begin with; they can’t venture outside into the sunlight because it would prevent them from dismissing other people with their overpowering intellectual rebuttals of “meh”.
Story Number 6: Digging About Digg: The Whining Edition!
Here we see the true core of the Digg disaster: the fact that the 6th most popular story on Digg is about Digg itself! It’s an incredible self-referential spiral that makes Paris Hilton in a room full of mirrors appear in comparison as a humble, well respected reporter. In fact, if we totally dismiss the advertisements and the repeat submissions, this is actually the 3rd most popular story on Digg ever. And incredibly, the only newsworthy stories deemed more important are the death of a pop music star and the election of another U.S. President.
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