Social News/Digg

What is it?

Digg is a website made for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the Internet, by submitting links and stories, and voting and commenting on submitted links and stories. Voting stories up and down is the site’s cornerstone function, respectively called digging and burying. Many stories get submitted every day, but only the most dugg stories appear on the front page.

Digg, as a website, can be considered a “meta-aggregator”, essentially a site to promote the rapid dissemination of  all manner of information, depending on what users choose to “digg” It functions both as a social network, where users  can discuss the shared content, and as a collection of aggregators linked together using meta-tags describing the shared content.

Wikipedia defines an aggregator as follows:

Many blogs and websites provide content via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds, which enable the content from the site to be subscribed to by a user and collected, sorted and read through a tool called an aggregator. This makes it possible for a user to read a collection of blog entries and/or website updates all in one place, using one application. Depending on the purpose of the aggregator, it may go by a different name.  For example, “feed readers” or “blog readers” are aggregators designed for collecting news feeds and blogs.

What is it used for?

Digg is essentially a constantly updating event site. Many people use it to watch current events, comment on media (such as links to websites or youtube videos) other users have shared, or to amuse themselves by finding interesting content.

Who uses it?

Digg is used by the semi-anonymous masses, or in other words, viewers like you. Digg accounts are free and easy to set up, and finding the content you want is as easy as configuring your settings. Truly a newssource for the masses.

How Does It Work?

When you create a Digg account, you can specify what type of content you want to view. This allows you to specify exactly the sorts of tags you want to appear when you watch what is being dugg. While looking at relevant shared items, you can comment on the content and give a rating, moving it up or down in the results for its type of content. By determining what type of content you want to watch, your website, browser window, email client or even cel phone can have new, socially reviewed content delivered constantly as it is uploaded and rated. There is no limit on what content you can watch; should you so choose you can watch tags that do not yet exist in the hopes that a user will share or tag something within your particular range of interest (eg news, sports, stocks, llamas, Firestone Tires, blue marbles, ect)

The ability of relatively anonymous, massed users to rate, review and discuss content of any variety is much of the allure of meta-aggregator sites like Digg (there are many others, Digg was simply the first on the scene and thus the most popular), as inferior content will be rapidly disposed of, leaving only content that has been approved by hundreds, if not thousands,  of individual users. This concept of ‘social news’ is closely tied to the idea of ‘social bookmarking’, as the former is simply a refinement of the latter to specify the best sources of current events reporting.

Things to Consider Before using Digg

  • As Digg is a free service, there is really no risk to trying it out
  • remember that while you may find some content to be fantastic, the will of the masses is not necessarily your own. Such is the limitation of a social news site.

Uses as an Instructional Technology

  • Create a collection of links tagged with a specific keyword (e.g. foreign_policy) and share those links with your students.
  • Create a course login/account and share it with the class. Direct the class to add links relevant to specific tags, perhaps prepared ahead of time by the faculty member. Though many links will be less than scholarly, some may reveal surprising information that could prove useful and timely to the course.

Things to consider before using a Social News Service

  • Links added to digg are “public” by default. Be careful to keep links “private” if you don’t want to share specific links.
  • Everyone has a different way of “tagging”. One person may tag a site as “economics”, while another may tag the same site as “money” or “statistics”. Remind students to be careful to create consistent tags and to check spelling when tagging.

The content on this page was derived from webpages maintained by the Duke University Center for Instructional Technology
The content on this page was derived from the Digg page maintained by_ Wikipedia
For more information, see