Getting DUGG: An Analysis

DIGG is considered to be the posterboy of Web 2.0. After all, you get user-driven content and a supposedly democratic way of choosing which among the thousands of links and references are read-worthy. Some would consider getting DUGG (meaning getting voted up to frontpage) as an honor. This would mean that people–particularly the techies that mostly make up the DIGG crowd–like what you write, or find it really interesting.

I’ve a handful of articles and blog posts that have been DUGG to frontpage, and I can say that I’ve had different experiences from each of them. But the few times my stuff had been voted up to front page, one can get some ideas about the way the DIGG crowd thinks, and how to plan your next DIGG-worthy article.

My DUGG Articles

On ForeverGeek, my beginner’s guide to podcasting (DIGG link here). This was my first ever post to be DUGG. I was actually surprised that people would still be interested in a “basic” guide for podcasting as this was published early 2006. By that time, there were already a lot of successful podcasts going around.

On the J Spot, my guide to getting free US and UK incoming telephone numbers from anywhere in the world (DIGG link here). This article reached frontpage, but was buried and marked “inaccurate” because the server hiccupped due to the sheer rise in traffic during the time at front page. This goes to show that people will be quick to “bury” your articles even without considering that the site may have been brought down by DIGG (see the DIGG effect).

My article on VPNs at bLaptops was nearly frontpaged (DIGG link here), but again it was buried and marked “inaccurate” because a glitch in the blog’s layout caused the content to be hidden in IE (stupid IE).

On ForeverGeek, my post about the Windows vs Mac OS X issue being about the “maximize” button (DIGG link here). Got 919 DIGGs so far. This only goes to show that in order to get DUGG, you have to target a polarized audience–in this case the Mac enthusiasts, who are ever passionate about their Apple computers (hey, I’m one) and those on the PC side, who are ever ready to present their arguments. Good arguments on both sides, though.

Oh, I’ve also been DUGG in other places a couple other times. (I’d rather not disclose where, for now, heheh :) ).

Okay, I got DUGG. Now what?

Well, it feels good. Somehow it validates my need to be heard.

Okay, that’s very vain of me. But really, what does one get from getting DUGG? You get bookmarked. You get linked to. You get visited by more people. It’s not the direct monetary aspect of traffic one would usually think about offhand. The DIGG crowd is made up of techies who would usually not click on ads or other affiliate links. But it’s the mindshare you gain that’s important.

And, what of my analysis from the few times I’ve been DUGG?

People love to argue. The Mac vs. Windows article was really cool, in that I never expected people to DIGG that. My fellow FG bloggers don’t even know who the DIGG submitter was. And the concept wasn’t even originally mine! But this DIGG made me consider writing more about Apple, because Apple seems to be a hot topic among techies. There’s even a whole category on DIGG devoted to Apple stuff!

People love free stuff. There’s this prevailing culture on the Web that it’s best if you can get (or get to do) stuff for free, like free software, free web apps, and free international calls! “Free” is still a big word in geek culture.

People love new stuff. Whether it’s new software, new gadgets, or new ways to do things (like podcasting), geeks would pounce on every opportunity to be in the know. Oh, people love the novelty items, too, like the giant squids and zombie dogs. But it’s always good to offer something new and something unique.

People like to learn. That’s why how-tos, guides and hacks are popular in DIGG. People have this itch to learn more, or to maximize the use of their gadgets, or to exploit unknown features in their software.

It pays to have a lot of friends. Even better, it pays to have influential friends. None of my own DIGG submissions have ever gone frontpage. But the several times my stuff had been DUGG frontpage, it’s usually my friends and online contacts who submit, and spread the word about the submission. It’s even better if your contacts are of the influential type, whom others would listen to in a heartbeat. Some of my colleagues have a wide enough reach to bring up the DIGGs to that tipping point (where there is a high likelihood of people clicking the DIGG it! button simply because an entry is already on frontpage or already has a good number of DIGGs).

DIGG Democracy?

I’m still of the opinion that DIGG (along other contributor-driven sites) is dominated by the elite, who hold influence and swaying power over others, or at the very least controlled by people from the inside who can still assert editorial control. So how the heck did I get DUGG? Luck, I guess.

Now about that next Windows vs. Apple article …

Update: The DIGG entry linking to this article has reached front page, but has been buried and marked lame/inaccurate, etc. (for whatever reason–that’s DIGG for you). If you think it’s still an interesting read nonetheless, please keep DIGGing.

28 thoughts on “Getting DUGG: An Analysis

  1. “People love to argue. The Mac vs. Windows article was really cool, in that I never expected people to DIGG that. My fellow FG bloggers don’t even know who the DIGG submitter was.”

    The Digg submitter was me… I read ForeverGeek everyday but I don’t participate in the comments and such, as they would be a large distraction. But I do appreciate the posts that FG either writes itself or links to, and I like to share them with as many people as I can. =)

  2. I love how you think that people buried your articles not because they sucked, but because your server was having problems. Sorry, that’s not why stories get buried. There are stories on the front page all the time where the server has gone down but they don’t get buried, people post mirrors in the comments and have discussions (as much as can be done on digg anyway). You just need to face the fact that no one wants to read your crappy blog. No offense, but get a reality check my friend.

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