FOWA 07: Kevin Rose – The Future of Crowd Generated Media


How Digg got to where they are today
Lots of new start -ups that want to get the community involved, but are they creating the right motivation for their apps? Why should the crowd care? How do you get people involved and using the system? How are people using the site?

Wanted to create incentives for users at every level, maybe just to read, to Digg, to clear out spam.

1. Why submit content to Digg? Couple of systems he looked at were Slashdot and Delicious. Slashdot had around 500 newly submitted stories each day. Asked why people submit as its editors who decide what goes on the front page. Answer: people want to share with the community what they think is important. Want to see their name in lights, see their username or icon on the front page.

So that’s pretty easy. If there’s enough people visiting the front page there’s motivation to get your name in lights. Joshua originally saw the site as where you store your most important information, it’s now about sharing and pushing bookmarks to friends, using the for:name tag to push to someone’s inbox. So there’s an incentive to see your link on popular page.

So Digg, built friends functionality and made this sort of stuff easy. There are people who find it important to Digg stories before anyone else.

Wanted to empower the individual, need to give the user a vote.

False circle, as people Digg a story, if it ends up on the front page, and stuff gets re-Dugg and its stays on the front page. Crazy combinations of stories.

Technorati Tags: ,

People get more traffic from Digg, saw huge spike of traffic, but then created links to Digg to allow people to submit content to Digg. Now have a smart Digg button, which finds out if a story is already on Digg and if it is it displays how many times it’s been Dugg.

Enhancing Digg
What are people doing with Digg? Get thousands of emails about features. But a lot of stuff is suggested by the community, and they take the community into consideration when making a decision.

900,000+ registered users, and they don’t all get along. How can you create tools to enable the community to moderate this number of users. Could hire internal staff, and moderate everything but that won’t scale. Based on no. of comments that would never really work. Need a reward system for community-level activities, need to reward people in different sectors, it’s not just tech news.

Some people love celeb gossip, and some hate it, so you have to look at the different communities and allow them to branch out in their own areas.

Issues around traditional news and fact checking, and a system to dispute and review inaccurate information. Used to have an ‘inaccurate’ tag, but want to allow the community to dispute why it’s inaccurate and pull them into the story and allow them to interact with that story. They go off to a 3rd party site, and if it’s inaccurate they get upset, but they want to make real decisions that change the site, not just flag something. Allow users to add additional information to the story. Want to allow the community to attach other things to the story, like video, links, photos.

[Note: Sounds like NowPublic.]

Community has to do this, not paid employees, it’s about levelling the playing field.

Location-based opinions. People agree and disagree with stories depending on where they are in the world, e.g. Bush-related stories.

Also important to look at what you’re Digging, want to be able to make recommendations not only on stories, but also on friends. Figure out who Diggs the same sorts of stories – you don’t know who you are agreeing with on a regular basis and that you might want to make a connection with.

No way of knowing how these connections could be made. Want to get to the point where if you Digg certain stories you’ll be shown who else Diggs the same stuff.

Difference between people you Digg the same as, and people you ‘tailgate’. They are very enthusiastic users, ‘top users’, people who have found the best stories, and they work as a filter for you, people you want to follow or tailgate because you trust them. What are the differences between those types of people, and how can they facilitate that.

Also looking at different types of activities that make for a meaningful connection between individuals. What you like, what you hate, different datapoints that will enhance the results. Not necessarily 100% foolproof, but can based what people Digg, what they bury, how many degrees of separation, the subjects you Digg on.

Show unpopular new stories that you might want to check out based on what you Dugg.

Want more realtime analytics, how are people trying to game the site.

Digg V3 launch saw a lot of people join and Digg going crazy.

Some stories get on to the front page but then quickly buried.

People want to manipulate the system, but can get to the point where you can see certain regions of the country working together, there are whole groups of people agreeing with each other because they want the traffic, they want to game the site, can see that. Initially was upset, but then, SEOs have been trying to do that with Google and other search engines for a long time. But have to continue to fight the gaming.

Flash is important, lots of Flash tools. Want to develop a toolkit, which will be launched in the next couple of months, that ties into the API, so you can use this toolkit to see what people are doing with your stories, how they are Digging them.

A lot of users are using it as as screen saver, so trying to pull out views of swarms, and show the shift in interest from one story to another. People jump around, they move together, even though they don’t realise it. Want to show how people are changing their interest in real time.

Playing Well
– Digg API coming soon, so you can extract your site date
– Export your attention data
– Export your friends networks
– Support for OpenID
– Del,, Reddit, Newsvine, Facebook. Great sites that do the same thing, lots of great social news sites.

900k users
50m Diggs
155m pages
200k sites w. Digg buttons, including NYT, Marketwatch, YouTube, CNET.

Technological success, business success, but a social failure because the comments people asking like assholes. Doesn’t happen in Flickr, because the communities within Flickr are smaller. Do you have to fragment?

We’ve got to the size where people don’t behave nicely. Looking into ways that people can break off into groups they can believe in, trust, and communicate. It has to happen, it’s too big now. Can’t have a huge grand room for everyone to get together, so yes, we are going to have to fragment, give you your own playground so you can play with the people you want to play with.

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