I like Digg. I can’t say I’m an overly active user, but I genuinely enjoy perusing through the top links every so often. The comments, most often comprised of witty banter, are often as entertaining as the link itself.
Digging around through Digg last night though, I noticed how the Digg user base pretty much represents this single collective personality with a fairly predictable set of views. If we call Digg…umm…"Dougg" for a brief moment, a particular character with very clear ideas, beliefs and interests materializes.
So what’s Dougg like? Well, I’d venture to say:
- He is clearly a guy (probably between 18 and 25 years old).
- He’s politically far left.
- He’s against the war in Iraq.
- He’s either an atheist or agnostic.
- He’s voting for Obama.
- He detests Microsoft and loves Apple.
- He’s generally anti-establishment and anti-status quo.
- He plays a whole lot of video games.
- He’s far too impressed with HDR photos.
So in short, Dougg is pretty predictable and not very diverse. It wouldn’t be a stretch to conclude that Dougg doesn’t like country music or say, Ronald Reagan’s legacy. What’s interesting about this characterization of Digg is that highlights the tendency of mobs to eventually settle into a recognizable identity that reinforces itself and as a result, doesn’t really evolve over time. While Digg does allow anyone to post virtually anything, the stuff that’s going to rise to the top and get "published" for the world to see is fairly easy to predict.
In other words, Dougg is pretty set in his ways. Digg isn’t a megaphone that presents wildly divergent views and ideas. It’s really no different than pegging The FillInTheBlank Tribune as a "beacon of liberal thinking" or a "conservative rag." While publications may actually go to great lengths to put forth some level of objectiveness, Dougg makes no such apologies. He doesn’t have to. He has the luxury of hiding behind his supposedly democratic flavor of editing and publishing.
Who knew that this experiment in pluralism and community would end up so lop-sided?