Jeff Jarvis shows old media the Digg effect

In his column in the Guardian, Jeff Jarvis does his “scary blogboy dance” (his words, not mine – but I do identify) for the CUNY J-School faculty, including a number on Digg, the social bookmarking site that makes Slashdot look like a quaint relic dug up from the vaults of Usenet.

Jarvis says:

The concept behind Digg is disarmingly simple: when members find stories of interest – so far, mostly about tech – they recommend the articles to others at the site. The members get credit for being the first to find stories, which means that you have 150,000 editors fighting to find the good stuff fast, and that makes Digg a great source for timely tech news. Once the articles appear on Digg, members click to check them out, sending huge traffic to each article; this is known as “the Digg effect”. If the articles pass muster, members vote them onto the front page – they “digg” the stories, get it? And so the community creates the front page. We are the editor. Imagine if there were a parallel front page to this paper, edited by you and the smart community that gathers here. (Not a bad idea, eh?)

If your knees just jerked off the ground and the words “popularity contest” came to mind, you’ll have to read Jarvis’ column to learn why it doesn’t work that way.

Ongoing redesign

It’s not quite done yet – I’ve installed most of the stuff I was excited about, including ajax commenting, tags, and asides. Now I’m left with the task of making everything play together neatly. I don’t need tags on my Asides, and I don’t need any additional tags on my nightly delicious links, and I don’t need the date on Asides, and I do need to style those Asides, and it would be nice to have some control over how those list-items on the delicious links look. Maybe I’ll even ditch the nightly link dump and just put my delicious feed in the sidebar.
Perhaps you’re wondering “Hey, what the heck is he talking about?”

The “Asides” I’m talking about are the short posts without big silly headlines. That’s for the stuff I just want to point our during the day. Right now I usually just post that stuff to delicious, and then it gets spit back out onto the blog once a night automagically. This way, the whole “timely” thing will be in play.

The “tags” are the little things in the gray box below each post. That’s me adding some labels to a post, so that you can click on “redesign” and see all the posts on my blog about “redesign.” You might be more interested in tags like “newspapers” or “j-school” or “podcasting.” Just click on whatever you see that you want to know more about, and off you’ll go to a page that makes sense to you.

Want to know what makes sense to me? Check out the tag cloud on the top of the sidebar on the right.

Tag Cloud

The bigger, darker words are the tags I use most often. All my previous posts just have categories, so those tend to dominate, but as I use tags more, you’ll start to get a graphical idea of what I write about here.

The ajax commenting is just a cool-looking buzzword-compliant thing. Click on the “show comments” link at the end of any post with comments to see something cool happen. Hopefully it encourages discussion.

The WordPress plugins I’m using for these new features, if you’re into that sort of thing, are Ultimate Tag Warrior, Inline Ajax Comments, and Simple Asides.