Digg got a lot more relevant after announcing upgrades that make it a true social news service this week.
The old Digg was pretty straightforward: people submit stories, everyone votes, the top links appear on the home page and drive thousands of hits worth of traffic. The problem is that the top stories for one user are the top stories for every user – and means that the site experience is a reflection of the aggregated community, rather than a user.
Breaking into a system like that means joining with like-minded users to promote content more favorable to your side. Alternet called that “censorship” a few weeks back, but is really just a form of political organizing. It was an attracting but ultimately useless expenditure of time; while Digg could drive traffic, it’s probably not going to be an important front in the war on ideas.
A more user-oriented model downplays the need for such a strategy (while promoting further social engagement) because the front page is no longer the Holy Grail. It opens up the possibility of niche communities. In politics and advocacy circles, it means you no longer need to have a high-profile race for Digg to be a viable part of your social strategy.