digg wants to democratize public dialogue

when some of the most dedicated community members on the social news and networking site, digg, staged temporary boycott in january, they hardly knew the impact their actions would have. in the short-term they had to bear with an exceptional amount of irrational bad press, unnecessary and misdirected community backlash, and even active burying of their content. in hindsight, not only did they exemplify the importance of any social site to have regular and open dialogue with its community, but they may have (inadvertently) led to the democratization of dialogue in general.

today digg announced digg dialogg, a platform that allows the digg community (one of the biggest social news communities) to pose questions ‘… some of the individuals and leaders of the moment (sans editors), who are taking action to change the world in cool ways.’ the concept, as the site explains, is rather simple, but also flawed on the basics. digg identifies a featured guest, the community submits text or video questions, then much like regular Digging activity (and exactly how they take questions for digg townhalls), people vote on the best and digg poses the top questions to the guest in a live interview.

sounds good? the only problem is that the process is limited in that the community doesn’t get to pick the featured guests. if you want to completely democratize dialogue, allow the people to submit requests and vote on the guests as well, and ask the questions themselves until the question is actually answered (rather than skillfully evaded, which is most often the case with townhall questions).

featured guests will represent thought leaders and tastemakers across diverse topics including technology luminaries, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, musicians and filmmakers.

the first of these guests comes from the party conventions where digg has partnered with cnn’s ireport and will be hosting an interview with nancy pelosi, live on wednesday 8/27. the partnership with cnn, a presence at the party conventions, and access to nancy pelosi, all go on to show the dramatic transformation of digg from a technology-focused site to a ‘world news and american politics’ site as well as digg’s intentional move away from giving a voice to independent publishers and towards mainstream media.


photo: no wonder they picked nancy first

this also prove that digg is no longer just an ‘internet famous’ geek haven, but has achieved mass market presence (their always increasing partnerships with mainstream news outlets and their partnerships with political candidates have previously help build that reputation). it is important to note that what digg is doing is by no means new. facebook, youtube, myspace, and others have similarly capitalized on election season before. digg’s approach is important because this kind of action is fundamentally what digg is supposed to be about, and because of how the community has been trained to interact with the site, the digg community is likely to take advantage of this opportunity more readily than other communities.

participate in the first of these dialoggs by voting on and submitting questions. also check out coverage from read/writeweb, mashable, and techcrunch.

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One thought on “digg wants to democratize public dialogue

  1. Nathan

    You can participate, but don’t call Nancy Pelosi a war criminal. Digg banned Humanerror for calling her a war criminal. Also, don’t insult Katie Couric. Digg banned me for calling her vapid, and listing what Nuclear companies CBS owns.

    Democratic? hah.


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