Like many people I use a news aggregator to fetch different news sources – recently I checked digg.com to see if it would be worth it to read the feed. The first thing I saw there was the news about Ubuntu’s init.d replacement. Digg was the first to come up with that news, I was excited and immediately blogged about it. However, after a month now I come now to the conclusion that digg does not really fit my needs – read careful: my needs, your mileage may vary.
One of the main reasons is: the most news posted at digg are not really interesting for me. They are dealing with boring lists of all kinds, or with every tiny detail about iPods or Mac or Ubuntu or whatever. The thing is that these news or lists most often are not filled with technical interesting news or astonishing uncoverings, but are rather a collection of already known or already somewhere else posted facts or – and that much to often – just opinions of people who are not really known and not deep-field specialists. Too often I had the feeling that stories talking about the underwear of a famous technician would be more interesting than talking about his work. And that opinions of some unknown people were much more interesting than opinions of people who studied that subject for years.
Well, there is an audience for such kind of news – in fact the best selling newspapers in the world like THE SUN or the German BILD. And the fact that such stories get quite a lot of diggs very often show that the audience of digg is actually interested in such news. But I’m not.
I first realized this when – for me – very interesting news appeared and where reported by all German technology oriented online news – digg wasn’t so interested. Since I was quite excited and even submitted the story at digg I thought a lot about why the people didn’t like the news – and came to the second reason what I do not like about digg and which I already “mentioned” in the title: the headline of the story. Sure, a good headline is worth gold, and you should at least be able to write a headline which is appealing for people of the subject. But most articles at digg have titles like the one of this post: exaggerating, with unnecessary and dull words like “best”, “ever” or my very special “Why…”. And some people use additionally a set of exclamation points. Terry Pratchett once wrote that three exclamation points are a clear sign of insanity, and I agree. For me these things are always used by the author to push an article more than it is worth it – and therefore I would immediately vote such an article down. However, I’m not an average digg user, these articles always come up pretty well.
As a conclusion, digg is not a source of information for me: news which are interesting for me are not interesting for the digg users – and vice versa, I guess. Since I’m able to read German I will stick to the usual two information sources. The first one a bit more professional (actually I do not know any news service with a comparable quality in English or German), the second one a bit more Open Source/Free Software friendly. It is a shame however that I do not know any comparable English news service. Sure, I’m still reading slashdot, but that was missing several – for me – very important news also. If there is anyone having an Idea, please post it in the comment section. What’s for example with zdnet? Is it worth it?
Ah, and a final word about people reading this who are maybe interested in digg: I do not condemn digg – I just state that it does not fit my needs. And do I want this article to be on top of digg? Hell, no! Because I’m just someone expressing an opinion in a field where I do not have much expertise and not even much experience.
Ah, and the title is too stupid 😉