Should media Digg their stories?

Apparently, web sites like Digg and del.icio.us are pretty popular. I had actually never been to them, nor did I even know what they were until we learned about them in class last month. The basic idea of the sites is to have users contribute content, whether they are simply linking stories from other sites or creating stories of their own, and these links are rated based on views, votes or "digging."

Upon a visit to Digg, I noticed a wide variety of stories and videos from wedgie-proof underwear to illegal gorilla slaughtering - not exactly the most cohesive content. But, I guess that's not really the point. The point is to have a site where people can see what other people are reading and watching. And, inevitably, media sites have used these sites as ways to gain extra traffic.

The article about the Orlando Sentinel using these sites illustrates the idea with the example of using Facebook to gain extra traffic to a story about a drinking water shortage during a football game. This seems like a completely different phenomenon to me. Facebook is a social networking web site. People don't use Facebook to see what news stories or videos are the most popular at the moment, they use Facebook to see what their friends are doing and to communicate with people they know, for the most part. It is an off-shoot of its popularity that has given some media the idea to post content to gain traffic, but it is not its main purpose.

However, sites like Digg exist primarily to give readers an idea of what is popular on the web. And if that popularity is going to remain solely up to users, then media shouldn't be able to link their own stories to these sites. But, because I enjoy media fragmentation and would rather go to specific web sites for specific information, it doesn't really matter to me what happens to Digg or del.icio.us. I guess that should be left up to the readers to decide.

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