The users take control of Digg

There's been considerable coverage on Digg's user community taking control of the sight. Techcrunch has the story here.

Responding to a demand to remove content relating to the decryption key for HD-DVD Digg deleted the story and links. But like the Hydra, the same story reappeared added by other users. Digg responded by deleting these and suspending the offending users. At which point the "story virus" exploded out of Digg's control and the users effectively ganged up on Digg to ensure the story remained on top.

Eventually, Digg had to conceded defeat. The user community won and demonstrated who was actually in control by exercising their muscle when circumstances offended their sense of order.

This is a saluatory lesson to any social network site. Whilst any business depends on the goodwill and custom of its' users, social sites provide their users with both the means to mobilise
and the sense of ownership that translate into a belief that the sites is theirs to control. Facebook also experience the wrath of users at the turn of the year.

The paradox is that at the same time as appearing to have immense power because of an enormous customer base, social site businesses are actually beholden to the whims of their customers to a greater extent than perhaps any other. Efforts to change (or control) the "beast" once it has become popular perhaps by introducing new features (ads into Youtube video clips), some of which may be an attempt to generate some revenues, can easily backfire.

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posted by John Wilson @ 9:40 PM Permanent Link newsvine reddit


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