Everywhere I register online I am always me. My username is always a variation on “Chris”, “chrisg” or “Chris Garrett”. Right back to my BBS and Usenet days up to now. The only time I can think of where that has not been true has been Digg.
I have nothing against nicknames, people use them for a variety of reasons, not least because their real name is already taken. That said many people have pseudonyms on Digg because they want to stealth-promote their websites for the traffic boost. The idea is you can seem an impartial third party who just really finds the viagra-pr0n-ipod blog particularly fascinating. This is bad for any number of reasons but I realised it could be killing Digg by removing trust from the community. If you take trust out of any activity surely you are in danger of destroying the social fabric of that activity?
I think Bloggers especially are in danger of killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. So many of us are hooked on the sweet sweet Digg traffic high that we are using Digg for what we can get out of it and the whole system is being subverted. We need to stop this Diggaddiction before we all become junkies.
An addiction in itself is not necessarily that damaging. It’s the side-effects of that addiction that trouble me, the ever-increasing desperate attempts to recreate the initial Digg-effect hit. The manic dependency on the high and the temptation to create an army of sock-puppet Digg accounts. The eventual Digg meltdown where half the “people” you meet on the site are fake.
From now on I am going to treat Digg no different to any other online community. I have registered as chrisgarrett (feel free to friend me). I will Digg up your stories if I find them interesting.
This is not me being all fluffy-bunny-blogger-transparent for the sake of it! Of course I am saying all this for completely selfish reasons. I enjoy Digg immensely and find it incredibly useful as a resource. Several times a day I check in with Digg to see what interesting new sites have been posted up and to take part in the discussions. The entertainment and research value of Digg would be incredibly damaged if the promotional aspect gets too much influence.
I just don’t want to see Digg full of spam.