BuzzFeed: the new Digg?
Will 2006 go down as the year "social news" took off and flamed out? The year started strong for user-generated content when Digg, the site that lets members decide which news stories matter most, usurped Slashdot as the top destination for news geeks. By summer Digg had inspired a full-on assault from would-be mogul Jason Calacanis and his Netscape.com, and been the recipient of a gushing BusinessWeek cover story.
Now it's starting to look like Digg's 15 minutes of fame may be over. "Digg just isn't doing anything for me to make my day easier," writes Jeff Nolan in a post titled 'I'm done with Digg.' Adds BusinessWeek's Rob Hof: "As much as I like the idea of Digg...I must confess that I just don't use it that much." Then Robert Scoble piles on: "I too unsubscribed from the general Digg feed," he writes. "Too much crap!"
And so the pendulum swings. People-driven sites like Digg fall out of favor and machine-generated news filter become all the rage. Where do Nolan and Hof go regularly for their headline fix? TechMeme, they say, the automatic tech blog buzz filter which also happens to be at the top of The Browser's blogroll.
Indeed, the new, new media question of the moment is man vs. machine: Are you more about Google News and TechMeme or Digg and Reddit? Here's another data point to add to the mix: While you were away eating turkey, the tech geniuses behind Eyebeam and the Huffington Post launched BuzzFeed, a sort of hybrid--a little bit country, a little bit rock 'n roll--news site that's edited by humans but powered by algorithms.
The Broswer has two thoughts on all of this: First, our alarm bells about Digg should have started ringing when Conde Nast jumped onto the social news bandwagon and bought Reddit. Two, we looked at BuzzFeed and sensed the future in its hybrid approach. What do you think?
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