Using Digg, a people-powered news aggregator, to attract hits.

Media criticism.
June 30 2006 1:11 PM

Digg Me or Bury Me

Using (or is that exploiting?) a people-powered news aggregator to attract hits.

(Continued from Page 1)

In my mad quest for hits, I've given myself a leg up by writing about Digg instead of, say, puppy-dog tails. Digg users love stories about the site. At least six of Digg's top 30 stories this year are about it, and most are about technology, owing to its origin as a tech-centric site. The more techie an article, the better its chance of rising, I've observed. But Digg's tech focus is changing, with beta sections named Science, Videos, Entertainment, Gaming, and World & Business now rounding out the site.

The surge of hits Digg sent to Slate proves that Web sites with lots of stories in the bank—we've published about 33,000 stories in 10 years—could better exploit those archives. We routinely "recycle" old stories when events give them new relevance, we published a list of the most-read stories from 2005 in late December, and in our 10th anniversary celebration last week we exhumed some of our greatest hits to commercial success. If the digging of Boutin is any guide, readers are eager to trust other like-minded readers to guide them to good content. Maybe Web sites like Slate should set up Digg-like voting booths to do that. Slate's discussion forum, "The Fray," which already requires registration, could be adapted to this end.

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Will my quest offend Digg users as an evil manipulation of their beloved site and prompt them to bury my submission? They tend to despise users who engage in self-promotion on the site. Or will they judge my story on its own merits?

I'll be back in a couple of days with a follow-up reporting whether I got dugg or buried.

******

Bloggers, don't try this Digg experiment at home before you read Monetize's "Can Your Site Survive a Digg?" The piece predicts that the tidal wave of hits could swamp and sink your site if you're not prepared! Send ideas for other "Press Box" Web experiments to slate.pressbox@gmail.com. (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise. EarthLink folks: Turn off your spam filters if you want me to write back.)

Jack Shafer was Slate's editor at large. You can follow him on Twitter or email him at Shafer.Reuters@gmail.com.

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