Let’s call a spade a spade: the internet is completely malleable, and everything (including “news”) should really be taken with a grain of salt.
Why? you may ask.
And no, the answer is not because I’m cynical, jaded, or the like.
My opinion is based on the seemingly omnipotent Digg.
For those unfamiliar with how Digg works, it’s quite simple: post an article, and if people “digg” what it’s about, they can vote (after registering, of course). On the homepage, the articles that have been “dug” the greatest number of times reigns supreme, becoming more visible, enticing more readers, and therefore, more votes “digging” it.
It’s very YouTube or very Funny or Die.
But how easily manipulated are any of the given sites noted above? And how valid are any of the opinions of the people casting votes? And how are you supposed to know if you’re preferences align with what the voting masses have to say?
One way to work the site over would be to simply stack the votes and to “Digg” a given work multiple times.. And, even more plausible reason that something might have a high rating is that if a reader is NOT interested in what’s being shown to them, they’re probably not going to waste their time voting against a given article in favor of something they can vote for.
Then, there comes the matter of popularity of a given subject. Our mixed-media painter Amanda Dolan doesn’t have to break a (comparable) sweat to be popular since the Arts Category doesn’t get enough attention over all.
A site like RipLounge, though, needs more votes to be considered popular since it’s a tech-related social networking website.
Call me crazy, but I think a site that ranks what’s most popular should do just that: Rank the most popular. The problem then becomes how do you do that?
One answer might be to list the most popular in each category on the home page. Another might be to list the most popular sites amongst the dedicated users (you know who you are). One might be to do away completely with noting the articles and sites with the most Diggs, (as presumably they’ll be found since they’re so popular) and make the homepage a beacon for postings deserve Diggs. ANother could be to level the playing field and not discriminate with regards to category.
That brings me back to my original query as to the intrinsic value of Digg.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if you want to know what is popular with people who may or may not have the same opinion of you in a category that isn’t necessarily one you’re interested in, then Digg is your beacon.
My recommendation, if you’re not interested in what strangers think is entertaining, interesting or the like, though, is to ask friends, family for what they’re into at the moment ( for books inquiries, FetchBook is great, and for music there’s nothing better than Pandora.)
Jackie for amp3pr.com
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