Sumit Sharma

Some thoughts on Digg

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I’d like to offer my perspective on Digg so far since I’ve started using it only recently and will admit that I’m not as active on it as I think I’d like to be. I think one of the reasons is because there are too many choices for me to choose from in terms of sharing what I read or come across and to some extent, I’ve invested so much in some of the choices that I don’t feel like changing unless Digg offers some higher value to me… I’m already a Facebook user and am also fairly regular on twitter so I’d probably post what I like onto Facebook or tweet them – I know there is the interface into Facebook via FB connect but what would truly incentive someone to do that when they can really just “Faceook” something? Facebook, through its Facebook connect platform, has put itself into a position to where it has one up on the Diggs and Stumbleupons of this world because on top its knowledge of what we like or prefer, it has an extremely well established social network. Digg isn’t going to compete with Facebook as far as social networks are concerned, and so to increase user ship I think Digg will need to overcome the following challenges:

1. Increase penetration and omnipresence across the internet: Lack of a uniform, mainstream population that are Digg customers…if Digg truly wants to become the de facto aggregation tool, known for providing trusted relevant content to us, it  ideally needs to increase its presence and breadth across the web because it needs to accurately analyze our overall web activity, not just activity/article/webpage that happens to have an associated Digg link which appears to be where the majority of Diggs come from. This entails for the Digg icon to be available almost wherever we browse and whatever we do. And if it can’t be everywhere, then at least Google, Facebook, Delicious, Yahoo, Aadvark, Fark and StumbleUpon and many other such services will need to share their APIs AND data with Digg so that it can have access to the vast amounts of data concerning user activity and related information spanning across these entities in general.  What Digg needs isn’t only just API sharing, but data sharing – to clarify, API sharing allows Digg to build an interface into Facebook but thats helping Facebook more than Digg since Facebook gets more data at Digg’s expense. Rather, data of Facebook users’ activity needs to be shared as well.

2. Lack of matching of people and recommending what someone like me might like, lets not confuse this with using my social graph though … I’ve already shared why I think the notion of using our social graphs to gauge our interests is probably a misconception. If we were to focus onto matching commonalities between users, and maybe not just based on social networks and commonalities of Digg histories, but based on other characteristics – more thought needs to be put into this which brings me to my third point…

3. There is little or no ability to map out other variables that come into the physical and mental worlds…i.e. integrating time of day, location, micro events, macro events, state of our mind and body and thousands of other variables for accurately understanding context to name a few: retail, dining, music etc. The more the better. Of course all this depends on the prevalence of sensor networks and advancement of sensor oriented gadgets. My argument that humans don’t just exist in the online plain means that aggregators and search engines will eventually need  to bridge the physical and mental worlds. Basically, extracting as much context as possible, and recognizing that context doesn’t just come from analyzing online activity in terms of what we “Digg”, but should also encapsulate our activities in the physical world, and even more – what goes on in our mental state…are we happy, sad , frustrated, curious, stimulated while making a “Digg” ? Imagine if Digg has all this information available to correlate our Diggs with in order to better understand the context of why, where, when we Digg.

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Written by Sumit

February 5, 2010 at 6:35 am

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