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.
Author: Chris Garrett
Chris Garrett is a content marketing and blogging coach and co-author of the Problogger Book with Darren Rowse.
I agree that some self promotion is ok, providing what you are promoting is good quality, useful content not just bait and switch?
Is it, in fact, subverting much, though? There’s still the self-policing mechanism of digg/bury. My interaction with digg is mostly restricted to popurls.com, so perhaps the problem is more apparent to more dedicated digg readers. For me, I don’t read many stories that make me think “how the hell did this story become popular?”
I also question the idea that people should *never* use digg for self-promotion. If all I ever saw on digg were articles from TechCrunch, Gizmodo and posts from popular blogs, I’d never even use it. Social networking appeals to me when the obscure can be highlighted in combination with a filtering mechanism that keeps the chaff to a minimum. If a 2-reader blog post makes it to the front page, I really couldn’t care less if the blog owner originally dugg himself.
I love Digg. Thanks for this post, important points.
Ha ha, believe what you like. Way to miss the point guys.
I agree with Mordechai. Chris, why do you have to be like that?
Shame on you Chris Garrett. You are trying to get friends on digg to promote yourself. Loser.
I have experimented with it with marginal success, but mostly have found it to be a bit of a time waster. I get more results from improving website designs and pumping out content until my fingers are raw. Digging might just put my fingers over the edge, although I do enjoy working outside and landscaping . . .
Plus, I do not mind an article getting picked apart in comments on my blog or rated up for that measure, but I do not enjoy the flaming Digg culture all that much.
All that negativity gets on my nerves after a while.
I do go there maybe once a week, hunting for a quirky story that has slipped through the cracks, but digging just hasn’t don’t it for me yet.
Of course, I said the same thing about alcohol when I was 16.
I have never really got into the whole Digg thing, I always suspected it could go the way of DMOZ and turn into a ‘cool kids club’ which it seems to have done. I would hate to be ‘Dugg’ – my bandwidth couldn’t cope for a start – but I’d rather attract regular, constant readers than a bucket load of here today, gone tomorrow types.