You, the Dying

I loved Digg before I realized what it was, before I undestood who Time Magazine was really talking about when they declared their 2006 Person of the Year was You.

This is the Digg promise of socially selected content, around 11:00 PM on March 15, 2007 from the Technology Newly Popular page:

“[Picture] Digg’s Lead Designer Daniel Burka circa 1992”

The description smiles that “[a]pparently the bowl haircut was all the rage back in 1992.”

“KDE 4.0 Release Schedule”.

The description begins with a excited guess – “should be available on October 23, 2007!” – and continues with a judgement, told in all caps – “BUT not all the changes originally anticipated will make the 4.0 release.”

Thank you, Citizen.

Digg is a borrower of better or worse content elsewhere, selected not by logical expert algorithms that might weed out the worst or collate the many, or by professional and proven editors, but instead by the untrained social masses who prefer colorful language like “suck”, “fuck”, and “yuck”.

Digg is too easy, and because it is so easy, the wisdom of its crowd can only be the lowest common denominator of their combined effort. The worst of the worst can contribute and see their work promoted to the front page. The best of the best can too, but if they choose to do so they are lost with the rest of the crowd.

Compare Digg to Wikipedia, where the lowest common denominator is somewhat higher because of the somewhat more difficult learning curve.

There is a reason why writers are writers. They write. They submit. They fail. They try again, and again, and they do not give up until they are writers. They are not pretenders, citizens who unite for some poorly examined cause and who congratulate themselves for overthrowing some imagined “elite”.

There is no reason for me to defend this silly blog post, this description of Digg and Web 2.0 and the dirty little secret that corrupted me with its promise.

Real writers do not defend that they write. They write.

And I hope You – the Borgesque You praised by Time – die.