To me, the most interesting aspect of the Digg story is just how much of a central role the service has played in the larger story of our current tech scene. It was a key catalyst in the era of social that we now live in. And the company’s diaspora has seeded many of the current crop of services we all use. In some ways, the sale to Betaworks really is the end of an era.
Catching up with Slashdot today, I read about Digg.com being sold to Betaworks:
The once popular social news website Digg.com, which received $45 million in funding, is being sold to to Betaworks for $500,000. From the article: ‘Betaworks is acquiring the Digg brand, website, and technology, but not its employees. Digg will be folded into News.me, Betaworks’ social news aggregator. This is not the outcome people expected for Digg. In 2008, Google was reportedly set to buy it for $200 million.
This brings back a lot of memories. Back when Digg.com started, it became a “big thing” almost instantly. There was plenty of hype around it, and many people went as far as predicting the death of Slashdot. Digg was supposed to be some sort of new and better Slashdot. But when I tried using Digg.com, I immediately thought that that was not the case.
The two sites are very different. One of the most obvious difference is that Slashdot is more focused on the technology, and Digg covers pretty much everything and anything. But that wasn’t the most important difference for me. The most important for me was that Slashdot seems to be focused around discussions and commentary, while Digg.com was just a delivery system for the news articles. And even back then there were numerous resources where you could find news. Finding the news hasn’t been the problem for years. But finding good commentary and discussions has always been. And still is.
Slashdot comments were and still are its greatest value. Digg had discussions as well, but somehow they weren’t as valuable. And if I think about it for a second, for me personally, the greatest value of Digg was not the actual site Digg.com, but the Diggnation show. Which, once again, provided commentary and discussions of the top stories from Digg.com. Too bad that is discontinued now as well.
I came across this excellent chart at Omniture web site. While it is mostly aimed at marketing people, it’s still pretty useful for everyone on the ewb to have an overview of which social networks work better for which purposes.
First of all, a confession. I was aware of the fact that there is such a show (or video podcast) – Diggnation. I was aware of the fact that it is somehow related to the Digg web site. And I think I even remember watching a couple of episodes a long time ago. But, all of that was in my passive memory. I wouldn’t remember what the show was about, if it was funny at all, or even who or how many of the hosts there were. So, when I was checking the agenda for The Next Web Conference 2008, I couldn’t have imagined what the “DIGGnation, live recorded from Amsterdam!” entry at the end of day 1 was all about.
The situation started to change when I noticed that at the end of the day there was a stream of new people in the conference hall, and that many of them were wearing Diggnation t-shirts. That kind of looked suspicious – are they all coming specifically for the show while avoiding the conference as a whole? It turned out it was indeed so (I later spoke to a few people who came from all over Europe just for Diggnation).
The Diggnation live in Amsterdam episode is up and you can see yourself how it was. There was also a live stream during the recording, and the whole thing was somewhat longer with preparations and closing of the show, but it will give you an idea of how it went. There were indeed a few rounds of free beers for the audience, and there was indeed this awesome dude with two joints for the hosts.
I enjoyed the show so much that I actually watched a few episodes back and will probably watch the new ones now and then. If have a very sensitive sense of humor, you should probably skip. All the rest – you’ll have a blast.