Steve D of TechVat has done a very cool appraisal of Digg using the ‘four pillars of community’ idea from the book, a device I use to think about building open source systems, social networks and other types of communities that will attract participants.
It’s cool that people are starting to pick up on some of the other ideas in the book. The pirate’s dilemma model is actually one of many (well, eight…), but it seemed to be the best title that tied them all together. The main points are quoted below, but check out the full post here. Steve uses the four pillars as I outlined them to examine where he thinks Digg is faltering, and where it’s doing well. He writes:
“Pillar 1: Altruism â€“ Inspire your Audience to Help You Start Something.
When Digg began it was all about getting great content on the site. Back then it was strictly a tech site and the user base consisted of a large following that came from Kevin Roseâ€™s days on TechTV.
Kevin had a vision. He wanted to harness the Wisdom of Crowds for the purpose of spreading great content to a multitude of users all over the web. If there was a money making system at work no one saw it back then. Many members wanted to see Digg succeed because they felt it was the wave of the future, putting the power of the media back into the hands of the common man.
Pillar 2: Reputation â€“ Let Your Audience Create New Identities and Distinguish Themselves.
MegaDeth had a song in the 80â€™s, â€œPeace Sells, But Whoâ€™s Buying?â€ Even the most altruistic of people like to have a modicum of recognition for their deeds. Many Internet forums are run by volunteer administrators. They do not do it for pay they do it as they see personal value in it. Having the title of admin on some forums gives you a title equivalent to King or Queen. It is something you have earned and others respect.
Between the top digs users list and the DiggNation podcast Rose and company offered a valid reward system to get members involved; fame.
Many of the top Diggers on the site grew to have followings. They became social news celebrities in their own right. Becoming a top Digger was not something that was handed to you. Oh no, it is something that you had to work your ass off to achieve.
Pillar 3: Experience â€“ Give Your Audience a New Experience and the Chance to Improve Their Skills.
Not all users of Digg are in it for the fame. Some of them just want to learn a thing or two about how social media works.
I know, from my own personal experience, that my involvement in Digg has been rewarding because I have met many new friends. People I would have never met outside of Digg are now people that I can call friends.
Not only have I met new people but I have also been able to debate my ideals and sway others (or been swayed myself) all because of Digg. Outside of home, work and my small circle of local friends I do not encounter many people who do not share my ideals and way of looking at things. Thanks to Digg (at least in the early days) I was able to learn things that have changed my point of view on various subjects.
I have found myself to be a better writer and debater because of the time I have spent on Digg.
Pillar 4: Pay Them!
I am not talking about cash money here (wouldnâ€™t that be nice!) but about paying back the Digg user base for, without them, Digg is nothing.
Digg does still give back in the form of the DiggNation podcast but, they dropped the top Digger list. Not only have they dropped the list but they have turned the site upside down by making harder for the top Diggers to stay in the game. They have created an un-level playing field by forcing the more popular members to acquire more Diggs on a story before it gets promoted to the front page.
I understand that Digg wants to attract new members but what about all those people who made Digg big in the first place? If I, as a new user, am told that I am only welcome to submit content to the site until I hit a certain popularity threshold than why should I invest any time at all into the site? Digg is effectively telling me that they are scared of influential members using the site.
It has long been said that good managers hire good workers while bad managers hire bad workers so that they will not be shown up. Is that where Digg is headed?”
Get Steve’s answer here…