In lieu of getting into a debate about political analogies, I will make one clear statement: Digg has never been a true democracy and the new Digg does not change this.
What “The New Digg” does do is redistribute the power that is currently in the hands of hundreds of users and a couple dozen websites and divides that power to more websites and much, much fewer users.
“But wait! I thought the new Digg would make it to where everyone’s Digg is counted equally? I thought every user will have the power that was unlawfully taken from them by power users.”
On the contrary, the new Digg will make many current “power users” impotent while opening the doors for 2 new breeds of power users. I will detail them below by breaking them into the 3 branches of Digg government.
The Publishers Branch
Bigger is better in the new Digg. The old days of “build a website, put up viral content, find a Digg power user, and profit” are gone (for the most part). CNN, NYTimes, Mashable, HuffingtonPost — the giant news sources and blogs that currently do so well on Digg already will be exponentially empowered based upon sheer size and natural following.
The Old Power Users Branch
To the dismay of many, the old-school power users will retain much of the same power they had before, again based upon a carryover of following. Those who follow MrBabyMan today will still be following him when the new Digg rolls out. Rather than following his submissions, they will be presented with his Diggs. This is a key shift in that the power users will (should) no longer be digging 200 stories a day and submitting 1-3. Instead, they will (should) be Digging only the stories that they want their followers to see.
Their submissions will still be necessary for many sites, but it’s in how they curate their Diggs that the real juice pops in. Rather than have a ton of power over 1-3 stories, they will have a good amount of power over a couple dozen stories. They are the old-school tastemakers.
The New Digg Power Users Branch
When Twitter was an infant, the biggest users were names that most had never heard of before. It wasn’t until it attained mainstream attention that the celebrities and websites started taking over and shooting past the early adopters. The same will happen on Digg.
Tony Hawk. Leo Laporte. Pete Cashmore. These people will not only have power through their own content, but will now be able to guide content from others’ sites to be viewed by their followers. It’s a strange thing, but if Pete Cashmore Diggs a Techcrunch story, it will have exponentially more impact than it does today.
Who Gets Hurt?
- Large websites who don’t do it right: if you are a large publisher and haven’t developed a Digg plan, you really should soon.
- Small websites who don’t do it right: just because you’re not CNN doesn’t mean you’ll be left out in the cold.
- Current Power Users who don’t get it: if you are still Digging 200+ stories a day when the new Digg rolls out, you won’t maintain much of a following for long.
- Digg.com: in the long run, Digg is going to look back at this and think it was either the absolute best or absolute worst thing they’ve ever done. There is no in-between.
One thing and one thing only is certain about the new Digg: many will hate it and many will love it, but the company must go “all in” for them to make it through to 2011 and beyond. I’m very impressed with the guts they’ve demonstrated if nothing else. WTG Digg!
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Read more about the New Digg on this blog.