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The Wisdom of Digg

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If you want an idea of what’s ailing America these days, shuffle over to Digg and check out the top posts for the past 24 hours.

Top of the pile as I write this is a little self-reverential ditty called “Digg.com “Site Down” Feature Suggestion (for Digged-Out Sites” which has garnered 3394 gestures of affection from the Diggniks. Ah, this sounds more interesting: “How Men and Women Shower Differently,” from a site called moronland.com, with 2240 “Diggs.” Or, how about “Water Cooling Computers With a Swimming Pool.” Bet you didn’t see that one on Brian Williams.

So much for the much ballyhooed wisdom of crowds. You don’t have to be some kind of effete liberal snob or crytopfeminopinkofacist to agree that these are probably not the most important or even most interesting news events happening in the world today.

Things are hardly any better over at Techmeme which uses algorithms instead of self-cloistered, socially retarded young men as “Diggers.” Nicholas Carr is having a lot of fun today skewering a top of the pack Techmeme post by an confused individual who still can’t seem to spell “journalism” correctly in the first paragraph despite having left Carr a comment saying he had “fixed” it.

It took television about a decade to become a “vast wasteland.” The web is taking a little longer, but thanks to new technologies that allow anyone who so desires to easily make a fool of himself or herself in public or start a second life before they’ve had a first one, the internet is making nice progress toward that goal.

There are some idealists out there, of course, who believe the web can still be saved from the philistines. Serial entrepreneur Fabrice Florin has just launched NewsTrust, a non-profit news rating service that helps people identify quality journalism – or “news you can trust,” using such old-fashioned criteria as accuracy, fairness, thoroughness and reliability of sources, rather than popularity or ideology. The ability of the writer to make coherent sentences is also weighed, a factor that automatically disqualifies about 99 percent of the blogs being published. (That’s my figure, not NewsTrust’s).

As with Digg, readers submit stories that are then collaboratively reviewed, evaluated and rated. The major difference is that reviewers must attach their names (which cuts down on the single issue nuts) and the criteria used are genuine journalistic principles. As Sade likes to say, it’s about trust.

Florin has been funding the site himself and most of the approving articles so far have positioned his interest as “giving back” to the web community. Florin does have a plan to “monetize” the project, as blogger Muhammad Saleem discovered about a month ago.

Still, NewsTrust is one of those worthy endeavors you can’t help hoping succeeds. It won’t supplant Digg or ever approach that mighty river of trivia in terms of traffic but it might find a viable niche. Then again, as Jerry Jeff likes to sing, it just might be another good-intentioned example of pissin’ in the wind.

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Jerry Bowles has more than 30 years of varied experience as a writer, editor, marketing consultant, corporate communications director and blogger. For the past 20 years, he has produced and written special supplements on new technologies for a number of magazines, including Forbes, Fortune and Newsweek.

http://www.enterpriseweb2.com

The Wisdom of Digg
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About Jerry Bowles
Jerry Bowles has more than 30 years of varied experience as a writer, editor, marketing consultant, corporate communications director and blogger. For the past 20 years, he has produced and written special supplements on new technologies for a number of magazines, including Forbes, Fortune and Newsweek.

http://www.enterpriseweb2.com WebProNews Writer
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