#Digg it! A proposal for women of color, feminists, and progressives on Twitter (DRAFT)

digg logo

DRAFT!  Revised version published on Reno and its Discontents.

Thanks all for the feedback.

And please, digg it!

For those who don’t know about digg.com, it’s a place where users vote on what stories they think are the most interesting.   A lot of people follow digg’s crowdsourced list of “popular” and “top” stories, so getting an article or blog post voted up exposes it to a *lot* of eyeballs.  This is particularly valuable for stories and perspectives that gatekeepers like the traditional media aren’t covering — Ron Paul supporters, for example, did a great job of using digg to get the word out when the MSM wouldn’t even mention his name.

But digg is far from a utopia.  Digg’s algorithms for choosing the top stories let a relatively-small group “bury” a story: voting it down so it won’t appear.  Conservatives and libertarians sometime use this to bury progressive stories get under their skin.  From a gender perspective, Jen Nedeau’s two-part series Is Digg Sexist? (short answer: yes) gives an idea of the environment — and racism and nativism are just as normalized.

So in #topprog: yeah, that could work I suggested that if progressives, feminists, and womanists are able to use their Twitter advantage to improve the situation on digg it’d be kind of cool.  Here’s one way that could work.

It’s based on an insight from Maegan Carberry in an email discussion.* Twitter’s dynamics allow a bunch of “ordinary” users (with tens or hundreds of followers) to collaborate in ways that complement the “superusers” with 10,000 or more followers.  Twitter’s hashtags — abbreviations like #fem2 for Feminism 2.0, #woc for women of color, #journchat for journalist chat, etc. — are especially useful for this.

For example, here’s how the more-established #fem2 and #woc hashtags along with the new #topprog hashtag for progressives (recently proposed by Alan Rosenblatt of the Center for American Progress) could work together on this.

If there’s an article or blog post you’d like progressives, feminists, and women of color to consider digging:**

1. make sure to use the URL of the digg submission rather than the original posting. you want to make it as easy as possible.

2. Include the #digg hashtag as well.

3. Include whichever of #fem2, #woc, and #topprog are relevant — as well as other hashtags related to the specific topic (such as #taxcuts or #superbowl).

For example ***the tweet for the digg of the final version of this post will go here. ooooooh recursion! ***

If you’re interested in seeing and potentially digging articles and blog posts of interest to women of color, feminists, and progressives, you can use Twitter’s search mechanism to see all the #digg requests to any of these three hashtags. The magic incantation is

#digg ( #topprog OR #fem2 OR #woc  )

This works both at search.twitter.com and in clients like TweetDeck*** and twhirl (although not tweetchat).

When you see a tweet you’re interested in, click on the link that’s part of it. That’ll take you to a digg page which has a short summary. You can then vote for the article if you think it’s interesting, and optionally give feedback on the comments and leave your own.

If there’s something particularly interesting, consider retweeting it on Twitter — and/or posting it to your Facebook or MySpace profile, sending email to friends, and so on. This is where the network effects can potentially kick in: getting word about a story broadly and quickly gives it a much better chance to get critical mass on digg.

The net effect is potentially quite large.  Since we’ve never tried this before, it’s hard to know how many diggs this will lead to: most people following these channels won’t digg most stories.  Still, even if the percentage is relatively low, it could make a big difference.  The three hashtags could easily gain 10,000 or more followers, and 5% of that is 500 diggs — typically more than enough to make “popular”.  And by looking at the ratio of tweets to diggs over time, we’re likely to figure out which techniques work well and improve the overall response rate.

Worth a try?  If you think so, please digg and retweet :-)  *** there will be a link to the digg entry here ***

And no doubt there are plenty of ways this proposal, so feedback is very welcome!


* quoted with permission

** digg’s terms of use include “YOU SHALL NOT REQUEST THAT ANY THIRD PARTY, OR PAY OR OTHERWISE ATTEMPT TO INFLUENCE ANY THIRD TO, MANIPULATE OR OTHERWISE AFFECT THE SITE IN ANY MANNER” but do not appear to prohibit you from letting people know about stories they might be interested in digging

*** which by the way I strongly recommend. Thanks to @txvoodoo for the recommendation!

digg graphic from lirontocker on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons