I’ve recently started subscribing to the diggnation podcast, hosted by Kevin Rose (founder of digg.com and Alex Albrecht (both also of former The Screen Savers “fame”). Not like I really NEEDED to relive digg.com news, since I’m so jacked into that site to begin with, but the concept seemed interesting. I downloaded their archive of podcasts and am working my way backwards, to see if a) i missed any good news and b) how their show has evolved. The last few days of listening (and occasionally watching the video podcast…which I plan to return to in a moment) have left me with a number of conclusions.
First, let me start off by making a few comments about digg, as a phenomenon. A long time reader of “news for nerds stuff that matters” Slashdot, I have seen the decline of the quality of the “news” (lets call them articles, but make sure you know that i use the term “articles” as loosely as possible with regards to slashdot). I’m honestly not sure what first brought me to digg in the first place, or more importantly, what brought me back…over and over, while my account says that I’ve been a member since July 12, 2005 (wow…has it been a year?). I’m pretty sure i lurked for some time before that, too.
While nowadays a lot of the digg comments are full of garbage commentary and flames (with some gems here and there), they used to be a bit more thought out, almost reminiscent of slashdot’s quality commentaries. For a period of time, i was reading slashdot JUST for the commentaries, and digg for actual stories. First, digg’s news seemed more bleeding edge and for a reason: there was no editor to go through. The other users are the “editors”. By rating an article with a “digg”, the article gets one bump higher until eventually, once it breaks a threshold, it makes the front page.
So all of that said, i think the most addicting feature of digg for me, personally, is Digg Spy. This feature shows, in real time, story activity within the site. If its a comment, a digg, a movement in queue, whatever…I see it. This way, if someone else had something to say about an article, I have a chance to check it out right away. Obviously, this feature’s use needs to be monitored carefully because it can lead to hours of lost productivity…and i fear for my task list once digg releases some new swarm-visualization tools to accompany this monday’s newest release of digg, version 3.0, which are due out sometime in July.
On to diggnation. The premise is so simple it’s stupid: Kevin and Alex sit on a couch with laptops on their respective laps, with a 6 pack of beer on the coffee table. Press record. Talk about geek stuff and beer. That’s it. Sure, the cues for conversation come from top-dugg stories from that week’s digg submissions, but overall, these guys have full reign to rammer on about whatever they want, and swear up a storm thanks to the lack of FCC intervention with podcasting. Oh, and they get paid. A little commentary from me on the boys of diggnation is due, as well. Kevin comes in as the very humbling founder of digg…and from a pretty solid history of pseudo-celebrity status in the technology sector. In fact, money.cnn.com ranked Kevin as the 23rd most important person in business 2.0, only 2 spots under Billy Gates! He appears, in the video podcast, as a typical late-twenties casual “cool geek”. He’s into gaming and gadgets, and obviously, web 2.0. He’s well spoken, usually, but is also a bit less chatty than his counterpart, Alex Albrecht. Initially I found Alex annoying, but he’s grown on me…he’s got a typical radio voice: kinda whiney, and really fast. I often feel like he’s less comfortable with his status, and like he’s in the shadow of Kevin…but lucky for the dymanic of the show, they act like (and i presume they have) been friends for some time. Also, while they both crank out some funny material, i felt like Alex was funnier…but then i realized it might just be that he talks more. No disrespect to either of you, if you (somehow) find my blog and read this. In fact, i envy what both of you are doing.
Which brings me to…where did I go wrong? Don’t misunderstand me, I love my job, my coworkers, really…everything about what i do. I get the same leisure to drink beers while I get paid. And for some reason, they listen to what i have to say. And it’s fun. But there’s something to be said for what these guys are doing…could I do the same thing? I ask my non-existant reading audience…should i start podcasting? The Alex and JoeJoe show? Only time will tell.